BBC Culture

Unfinished masterpieces

Great works of art and literature left incomplete fascinate us – but should we finish what the artist couldn’t? Alastair Sooke examines their allure.

Alastair Sooke explores the mysterious appeal of unfinished works of art. From Dickens's unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Jane Austen's Sanditon to Coleridge's Kubla Khan, he talks to those who have attempted to finish these literary enigmas and those who believe that any such task is impossible.

Picking through literature's leftovers, Alastair explores the moral problems  and the commercial opportunities unfinished works present. And he considers how, in the modern era, artists have purposefully left their work incomplete.

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