The Gresham Collection Volume XVI. Coloured frontis piece and B/W plates by C. A. Shepperson, A R. W. S. and S. W Stacey.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood is the final novel by Charles Dickens. The novel was unfinished at the time of Dickens's death (9 June 1870) and his ending for it is unknown.
Though the novel is named after the character Edwin Drood, the story focuses on Drood's uncle, precentor, choirmaster and opium addict, John Jasper, who is in love with his pupil, Rosa Bud. Miss Bud, Drood's fiancée, has also caught the eye of the high-spirited and hot-tempered Neville Landless, who comes from Ceylon with his twin sister, Helena. Landless and Drood take an instant dislike to one another. Drood later disappears under mysterious circumstances.
The story is set in Cloisterham, a lightly disguised Rochester. Mr Crisparkle, for example, lives in a clergy house in Minor Canon Corner, which corresponds to a genuine address within the precincts of Rochester Cathedral, namely Minor Canon Row.
Hard Times – For These Times (commonly known as Hard Times) is the tenth novel by Charles Dickens, first published in 1854. The book appraises English society and highlights the social and economic pressures of the era.
Hard Times is unusual in several respects. It is by far the shortest of Dickens' novels, barely a quarter of the length of those written immediately before and after it. Also, unlike all but one of his other novels, Hard Times has neither a preface nor illustrations. Moreover, it is his only novel not to have scenes set in London. Instead the story is set in the fictitious Victorian industrial Coketown, a generic Northern English mill-town, in some ways similar to Manchester, though smaller. Coketown may be partially based on 19th-century Preston.
One of Dickens's reasons for writing Hard Times was that sales of his weekly periodical, Household Words, were low, and it was hoped the novel's publication in instalments would boost circulation – as indeed proved to be the case. Since publication it has received a mixed response from critics. Critics such as George Bernard Shaw and Thomas Macaulay have mainly focused on Dickens's treatment of trade unions and his post–Industrial Revolution pessimism regarding the divide between capitalist mill owners and undervalued workers during the Victorian era. F. R. Leavis, a great admirer of the book, included it — but not Dickens' work as a whole — as part of his Great Tradition of English novels.
Excellent pages, some edge and board wear.