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CFP: VPFA "Edwin Drood: Solutions and Resolutions" (5/31/2014; 9/20/2014)

The Victorian Popular Fiction Association
Senate House, London, 
September 20, 2014
Deadline:  May 31, 2014

The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Solutions and Resolutions”
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. The committee welcomes 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 May 31, 2014 to peter.orford@buckingham.ac.uk. For further details and updates you can follow us on Twitter @Drood_Inquiry or visit http://cloisterhamtales.wordpress.com/.

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