In the plotting and characterization both within and among his novels Charles Dickens indulges a passion for repetition, a "same-but-different" impulse that theorists such as Tzvetan Todorov, J. Hillis Miller, and Peter Brooks have identified as the motor of narrative desire. Brooks, following the Freud of Beyond the Pleasure Principle, has argued that the repetitions that drive the novel form are always both a courting and a putting-off of the tale's end. Through such psychic oscillation writer and reader try to control vicariously within the closures of their shares "fancies" the "real" deat to come for both of them that is beyond such control. In this light I read the framing repetitions of chapters 1 and 22 ("The Dawn" and "The Dawn Again") and John Jasper's opium-induced compulsion to repeat within each of these chapters as the beginning and conclusion of a finished, not an unfinished, Mystery of Edwin Drood. as over against other Droodians who have speculated about what happens after a medial chapter 22, I affirm that chapter 22 may be read as an ending, not a middle: there is, in a structural sense, nothing significant to be said after its last words. And because it is the last thing in the life of Charles Dickens as well as in his art, I then read chapter 22 as his "death-sentence" (in Garrett Stewart's pun), as an allegorical hint from the hallucinations of John Jasper at what might finally have been "real," rather than an oft-repeated "fancy," for Dickens in the last moments of his life.
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