The New Republic has a gallery of London sketches by Blanchard Jerrold and Gustave Dore, done at the same time that Dickens was working on The Mystery of Edwin Drood. "These images," writes TNR reporter Hillary Kelly, "though criticized at their publication as exaggerated, get close to representing the darkness and sadness that Dickens too wanted to capture."
The new Edwin Drood monthly readalong is underway, over at Cloisterham Tales. Hereare the first two posts. (Please take note of the NO SPOILERS rule -- I broke it once with the Tale of Two Cities readalong, and earned myself a reprimand. I don't want that to happen to the rest of you!)
And there's more: There's another new readalong, of Our Mutual Friend, going on over here! This is not an April Fool -- we've got two monthly Dickens readalongs going on at once now!
The new Drood Inquiry group will hold a one-day conference in September, "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." Cloisterham Tales has more information!
A new site, promising "an interactive investigation of The Mystery of Edwin Drood," will be launching in April. The Dickensian reports:
"The Drood Inquiry, led by Chief Investigator Pete Orford, will begin in April 2014 when, month by month, digital scans of the original monthly numbers will be released on the site for visitors to follow the case and comment on events as they develop, leading to the opening of the full site in September with newly-commissioned character illustrations and summaries, a full discussion and explanation of all the key questions asked and solutions offered to date, and finally the long overdue opportunity for the public themselves to vote on how they think the Inimitable's unfinished story would truly have ended."
While the site is being prepared, you can visit sister site Cloisterham Tales for a "behind the scenes" look. I've only had time to skim it, but already I've seen a comparison of John Jasper with Wolverine from X-Men, so you know this is going to be interesting!
As I write this, the 2013 Dickens Universe is finishing up out in California. If any of you were there, we'd love to hear how it went! (Hat tip to David Perdue.)
In London, the Charles Dickens Museum has been added to the London Pass, "a sightseeing card providing tourists with entry to over 60 of the city's top attractions."
Speaking of the Dickens Museum, I recently ordered from them this set of facsimiles of the serialized version of Edwin Drood. Since then it's gone out of stock again -- it seems to go out of stock rather quickly, from what I've seen -- but when they get more of them in, I highly recommend them. It's a lovely, well-done set, and it's an especially poignant experience to look at the last one, which features a nice picture of Dickens and a short posthumous tribute.
Mr. Dickens recently showed up on the BBC children's show Horrible Histories. Check it out! According to Slate, he was doing a Morrissey song. I know squat about Morrissey, so I'll take their word for it.
(In fact, the train crash mentioned in the song took place while Dickens was writing Our Mutual Friend. But maybe it was easier to find a rhyme for Drood.)
In other TV news, the latest episode of AMC's Mad Men was titled "A Tale of Two Cities." Oddly enough, this took place while I was watching the LOST episode titled "A Tale of Two Cities." There's a Dickensidence for you.