CfP: The VPFA, ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Solutions and resolutions’


The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Solutions and resolutions
Senate House, London, 20th September 2014
Call for Papers

Charles Dickens’s last novel, unfinished as it is, has become a call to arms to a legion of fans, academics and authors to solve the mystery and complete the uncompleted. In the early years after Dickens’s death, passionate discussions of Drood formed the vast bulk of criticism of his works, while later scholars have looked back upon this formative period with a mixture of bemusement and embarrassment. In 2014 The Drood Inquiry will investigate and celebrate the many weird and wonderful responses to Dickens’s story, exploring the ways in which these solutions reflect upon the authors’ attitudes to Dickens and his legacy, and how Dickens’s story and characters exist both within the boundaries of the original text and without in the numerous spin-offs that have arisen.

This one-day conference commemorating the launch of The Drood Inquiry will play upon some of those themes as well as allowing the opportunity to consider Edwin Drood afresh, not purely as a puzzle to be solved but as a work of literature to be analysed and celebrated in its own right. We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers which will explore the themes of the book or the insights its subsequent treatment can provide on Dickens’s reputation, as well of course as any discussion of theories on how the story ends!

Topics could include, but are not restricted to:

Characters, themes and topography of Edwin Drood
The legacy and afterlife of Dickens and Drood
Dickens in 1870
Incomplete stories of the nineteenth century
Victorian fan-fiction and neo-Victorianism
Early detective fiction and the mystery genre
Clues and red herrings
Adaptations of Drood for stage and screen
Dickens and the fanatics
Ownership and authorship
The role of the ending in plot and structure

Proposals (up to 500 words) and a brief biographical note should be sent by 31 May 2014 to For further details and updates you can follow us on Twitter @Drood_Inquiry or visit


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