Charles Dickens published 'Our Mutual Friend' in twenty monthly parts from May 1864 to November 1865. It was the fourteenth and final novel in his vast corpus of novels, followed by 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood' (1870), which remained unfinished at the time of his death.
Murder, Money, Marriage, and Mounds... of dust, human refuse, cultural debris, industrial by-production. These are the grand themes and objects this novel's world spawns, with such horrible inevitability you will think its Thames river-mud could foster spontaneous generation. The world of 'Our Mutual Friend' is a dirtied and cynical place. Here, even literacy and education–the "power of knowledge" that gives heart and decency to Pip and Biddy in 'Great Expectations'–may become mechanical instruments for self-aggrandizement in the wrong hands. And the good may need all the wiles of the bad to manufacture a happy ending.
Join Professor Karen Hattaway (San Jacinto College) for a series of discussions about the book that stunned Conrad and Dostoevsky.