author Alistair Duncan in "Sherlock Holmes R.I.P.?" wrote one of his most thought provoking essays yet - the post has garnered 21 comments so far - posing the question: "Is Sherlock Holmes, by which I mean the written Holmes, on the decline?
" Duncan worries that the answer is yes, a conclusion he reaches based on observations like the asymmetrical discussion/interest in TV/movie adaptations of Sherlock Holmes versus the Canon on formats like Internet discussion boards. Duncan argues that this division cuts straight down the generational divide with the "younger generation" preferring Holmes on the screen and the "older generation" concentrating on the Holmes of the printed page. So where does this leave us?
"Can this gap be bridged? I’ve seen younger people (under 25 years of age) turn up to events organized by The Sherlock Holmes Society of London but I’ve rarely seen the same faces twice. I strongly suspect that many of them (not all) have turned up expecting something that revolved around the screen Holmes and have, instead, found themselves surrounded by people more enamored with the Holmes of the page. The result is that they don’t (or rarely) come back."
If Duncan's observations are accurate, the "younger generation" of Holmes-enthusiasts are drifting away from both the original Sherlock Holmes source material as well as the decades old Sherlockian societies, leaving the future of 'Sherlock Holmes' uncertain. So what is to be done? "If the traditional society model is to survive it needs to attract new blood. However, must it change itself significantly to do so and at what cost?
" Perhaps Duncan is being overly pessimistic and all is not lost, but his concerns are worth taking seriously.
|[The inscription on ACD's tombstone reads "Steel True, Blade Straight." If Duncan's worst fears come to pass, what will the grave of Sherlock Holmes read?]|
The Baker Street Babes formally announced this year's Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet Charity Ball
happening Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:00 pm at the Player’s Club
in New York during BSI Weekend 2014 - if you don't have your schedule handy, the Ball immediately follows the BSI Distinguished Speaker Lecture
with Dr. James O'Brien. Last year
the auction raised nearly $2,500 for The Wounded Warrior Project
, an organization that seeks "to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members." Why did The Babes choose the WWP to raise money?
"We owe inspiration for this event to those who tirelessly serve our country, and to Dr. John Watson, army doctor, whose recovery from the ravages of the Second Afghan War once required the help of an extraordinary friend."
I had the good fortune of attending last year's Charity Ball and I wouldn't miss the second annual ball for anything. In the interest of full disclosure, last year I assisted in compiling the auction lots and gave a toast to Mrs. Stoner - the young widow of Major-General Stoner, of the Bengal Artillery and doomed wife of Dr. Roylott - and this year I'll be organizing auction lots and helping out in other ways, hence I might be a little biased in my support of this event. But if you don't believe me, I encourage you to ask anyone in attendance last year if they enjoyed themselves or not - I suspect you will receive a resounding "YES!" Check out Melinda Caric's Charity Ball 2013 photoset
and stay tuned for more information.
|[100% of the proceeds from ticketing and the auction of Sherlockian art, crafts, rare books and pastiches will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. There will also be a quiz, costume competition, raffle, and military-themed Sherlockian toasts. Tickets are $35 and going fast!]|
, Swedish Sherlockian and author of Från Holmes till Sherlock
(which translates in English to From Holmes to Sherlock
) has been setting fire to the Swedish literary world in recent months. Just this past weekend, The Swedish Crime Writers' Academy
awarded Boström the prize for Best Non-Fiction Book 2013! And even more impressive, Från Holmes till Sherlock
"shortlisted for the biggest Swedish non-fiction prize. Six books are on the shortlist and the winner - who will get SEK 125 000 [USD 19,023.88] - will be announced on November 28. The prize is for a non-fiction book that adds new knowledge, gives new perspectives on existing knowledge or makes old knowledge accessible. The other shortlisted books are about the poet William Blake, a forgotten Swedish 20th century author, modern journalism, Versailles, and a Swedish 19th century painter."
The entire staff of Always1895 and I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere will be rooting for you Mattias - let the force of Vincent Starrett be with you!!
|[Mattias Boström's beautifully designed book: though I have yet to actually read it because it's in not-English (Swedish in this case) I'm 100% positive that it is excellent - and I'm fairly certain winning and being nominated for these prizes proves it. ] |
The John H. Watson Society
, having just released to great acclaim their inaugural 150 page issue of The Watsonian
, announced this week that the society's first monograph Coin of the Canonical Realm
is published and ready to enter the libraries of Sherlockians everywhere: "in this, the first monograph published by the John H. Watson Society, Nicholas Utechin sets out to make 21st century sense of all the 19th century mentions of money in the Sherlock Holmes stories
Mr. Utechin is a Director-at-Large of the John H. Watson Society (‘Rex’), a Baker Street Irregular ('The Ancient British Barrow') and an Honorary Member of The Sherlock Holmes Society of London (having edited The Sherlock Holmes Journal
from 1976-2006), was featured, along with Steve Rothman, on Episode 8 of I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere
discussing their work on To Keep the Memory Green
(2007) about the late, great Richard Lancelyn Green
. The JHWS monograph Coin of the Canonical Realm
should be of interest to anyone who has ever
"stopped to wonder exactly what a 'half-sovereign' would buy today? Find out what Mary Morstan stood to gain if the Agra treasure had not been hurled out of the Aurora. How much in dollars - then and now - would Neville St. Clair's daily begging takings have amounted to? Could Sir Henry Baskerville's $6 boots be bought for an equivalent sum in 2014?"
Limited to 100 First editions, I guarantee you won't want to sleep on this one.
|[Watson paging through Mr Utechin's new monograph Coin of the Canonical Realm. The cost is $9 plus $3 postage for U.S. members, and $9 plus $5 postage for international members. PayPal or credit cards may be used.]|
asks "just how many biographies of Arthur Conan Doyle does one need?" I've read many a Sherlockian's answer to this question in books, journals and monographs (an answer that ranges anywhere between all of them to none of them), with the overarching theme being that, to date, no single Conan Doyle biography can be called 'definitive', a few can be called 'informative but incomplete' and still some can barely be called 'competent'. But Andriacco isn't attempting to stir the Conan Doyle biography controversy pot here; he simply wants to point out that he picked up two of the newest biographies at his favorite used bookstore: Conan Doyle: The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes
(2007) by Andrew Lycett, and The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle
(2008) by Russell Miller.
I've heard many good things about both, particularly the Lycett tome. I'll admit that I've read very few biographies of Watson's literary agent, but if you're looking for a great place to start, I highly recommend Jon Lellenberg
's (ed.) The Quest for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Thirteen Biographers in Search of a Life
(1987) which is not a biography at all but a collection of reviews/essays by noted Doylean/Sherlockian scholars on each of the major biographies of Conan Doyle up to that point (c. 1987). Let's hope Mr Andriacco reviews his new acquisitions in the near future. For an exhaustive list of Conan Doyle biographies and bibliographies, check out Chris Redmond
's excellent list at Sherlockian.net
|[Some of the all-star contributors to Lellenberg's volume include ACD/Holmes scholars Richard Lancelyn Green, Nicholas Utechin, James Bliss Austin, Donald Redmond, Peter Blau, Chris Redmond, Philip Shreffler and more.]|
The Crew of the Barque Lone Star
, a scion society based out of the greater Dallas / Ft. Worth area, released the November 2013 issue of their irregular publication "The Bilge Pump
" (click to download the PDF) featuring minutes from their last local gathering, an interesting essay on how Watson's naming of the tales gave "his imagination full rein. And how magnificently he rose to the occasion", a quiz, information about the quickly approaching 2014 BSI Weekend, a well-argued essay by Ronald Brackin
on the truth behind Watson's reference to the Lone Star
(the doomed ship mentioned in "The Adventure of the Five Orange Pips"
), discussion points related to "The Resident Patient"
by Sherlock Peoria
's Brad Keefauver, a pastiche titled "The Wrong Cabman" and plenty of random Sherlockian tidbits. As fantastic as publications like the Baker Street Journal
and other expertly produced and stalwart Holmes publications are, I also love DIY, local Sherlockian newsletters and zines like this. You can follow them on Facebook
|["We offer good company and rousing Sherlockian conversation to anyone who might be interested, and are also resolved to dig deep into the fifty-six short stories and four novels that comprise the Canon. In addition, we volunteer in the community, lecture to libraries and school groups, attend conferences around the country..."]|
NYPD Patrolman's Illustrations
, created in 1974, was a pamphlet designed to help New Yorkers deal with the grim realities of city life at the time (e.g., "Before entering your vehicle, make an examination of the backseat or any other place where an intruder might hide...a driver seated behind the steering wheel practically defenseless against quick attack
."). The NYPD tapped Patrolman Leo Poulsen whose "illustrations depict a New York of shady, bell-bottomed operators, cartoonish Bowery tropes, full-figured women, and fairy tale characters, all rendered in that bizarre '70s-style caricature that is that is both playful and unsettling
." The below illustration is the only one that features a character in the style of Holmes and Watson, but it's a classic example of just how recognizable the form of Holmes is - even if Watson appears to be either checking out Homes' derriere or looking to score some scratch for the gambling table (assuming that Holmes won't give him his checkbook back).
|["Men, don't carry money in your rear and side pockets (sucker pockets). A crowded elevator is an ideal spot for a pickpocket to do his thing."]|
The Sherlock Holmes Society of London
released the artwork for their 2013 Christmas card which features stunning, graphic novel-style artwork by one Bryan Talbot
who "has worked on Batman, The Sandman
, Judge Dredd and many other series, and his work has appeared in publications as diverse as Wired
, Street Comics
and The Radio Time
s." The card will be produced in full colour with a sepia tint, and will be available in packs of ten. The cost includes postage and packing. Make sure to follow the SHSL on Twitter (@SHSLBakerStweet
) for news, events and other SHSL-related events.
|[It appears Holmes and Watson either dropped their bag of Xmas gifts in the snow or are investigating evidence left at the scene of some hideous yet unknown crime involving the scattering of gifts and holly.]|
posted another fantastic but unknown drawing from the Canon by Russian illustrator N. Zeitlin for “The Adventure of the Empty House”, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
, Moscow: Detgiz, 1956.
announced a bit of very special news that should have London BBC Sherlock
fans pulling a Percy Phelps, i.e. uttering screams, dancing around the room, shrieking a little more and then falling back limp and exhausted until treated with a medicinal tincture of brandy, à la the final scene in "The Naval Treaty."
"On Sunday December 15, 2013 at 13:00 GMT, the British Film Institute will show S3E1: "The Empty Hearse" in a public screening at the National Film Theatre on London's Southbank, ahead of the yet to be announced first television airing in the UK on the BBC. The premiere will be followed by a Q&A with members of the cast and crew who will be in attendance."
Fantastic news right? Well, here's the proverbial parsley in the butter...you guessed it: SOLD OUT!
|[Paget's illustration depicting the precise moment when Holmes artfully uncovers the final course of Mrs Hudson's breakfast spread assumed to contain a Scotchwoman's idea of breakfast when in fact the long sought and fretted over Navel Treaty was revealed.]|
|[The above Grand Game card features the likeness of the man, myth and Sherlockian legend whose poem 221B inspired the very title of my Always1895.net blog, Mr Vincent Starrett!]|
The Daily Mail
, among a few other trillion sites, posted the first trailer for BBC Sherlock
Season 3 "The Empty Hearse." If you want to stay pure of heart and completely spoiler-free, you probably shouldn't watch the trailer or even go to the Daily Mail page; in fact just don't go anywhere near the Internet or any other person who has been near the Internet until late January 2014. If you happen to have magic powers and acquired a ticket to the British Film Institute
screening of the Season 3 premiere on December 15, 2013, then forget everything I just said and continue gloating in whatever fashion suits you best.
I've yet to watch the trailer or look overly close (I squinted) at the screenshots on the site because I sort of want to remain pure of heart - but because of editorial scrutiny, I've compromised and allowed myself to only view a single Season 3 image, that of a very wonderfully mustachioed John Watson - so how about we stop squinting at the same time, together, and just stare at Martin Freeman with a mustache? Then if at any time between now and when "The Empty Hearse" airs and you begin to have impure thoughts about 'just' looking at a few more screenshots or a 'friend' tries to show you something from Season 3, just close your eyes and think of Watson and his mustache and our hearts will remain pure.
|[John H. Watson, looking great and ready for Season Three - but is he ready for the return of a certain private consulting detective.]|
Sherlockian Scion & Event Links:
The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence
opened this past week in NYC and will run until December 29, 2013. I'll be attending the performance this Friday, November 22, 2013 and if all the rumors I hear are true, NYC-area Sherlockians will be out in full force that evening. I'm really looking forward to seeing how they handle (our) Watson on stage and how the good doctor interacts with the other three Watsons on the bill. Check back early next week for a full review.
|[Click to get your tickets.]|
The Three Garridebs of Westchester
- for East Coast Sherlockians - is having their Annual Blue Carbuncle Luncheon on Sunday, December 29, 2013 at An American Bistro
in Eastchester, NY. If you would like to offer a toast, tell a joke or a funny story, sing a song, or present a short work (maximum 5 minutes) that will add to the convivial spirit of the event, or for further information, please contact Sue or Ben Vizoskie.
Sherlock Holmes in Brentwood Holiday Play
"The Blue Carbuncle" - for West Coast Sherlockians - is happening on Sunday December 8, 2013 at a private residence in Brentwood, Los Angeles, CA (address visible when you book your ticket). The host for the event is none other than annotator extraordinaire Leslie Klinger who will introduce the play and give a brief talk before the performance touching on some of the traditions of Sherlock Holmes' times and other elements of BLUE. Ticket sales will partially fund the show itself, though a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Heritage Trust, Ltd
. (aka Save Undershaw
!) the group dedicated to restoring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's magnificent estate, Undershaw
. Click here
to get your tickets - this show will sell out.
|[If you're anywhere near Brentwood, LA on December 8th, this looks like quite the worthy event!]|
, a one-day symposium (panels, lectures, coffee breaks, etc.) on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger
narratives, is happening on December 9, 2013 at the Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London. "A century has passed since the publication of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World
. This one-day symposium offers an ideal opportunity to take stock of the Professor Challenger narratives and to reassess what these three novels and two short stories can offer to new generations of scholars, students, and enthusiasts." Sounds like a fun and edifying way to spend a Monday. Learn more at Sherlock Holmes: Past and Present
|[Professor Challenger's evidence of the Lost World, in the form of a pterodactyl, is about to fly out the window. I suspect something similar might happen at the Challenger Unbound Symposium.]|
The 2014 BSI Weekend
is less than two months away - and just thinking about the myriad of upcoming Sherlockian festivities/madness gives me the chills. If there is anyway you can travel to NYC for January 15 - 19, 2014, I strongly recommend doing so, for where and when else can you stumble across such a concentration of august and irregular souls all in one place, all prepared to not only celebrate the January 6th birthday of The Master
, but also to celebrate the society and culture which has developed around Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson, the Sacred Writings and our Sherlockian forefathers and foremothers. To get a feel for what's in-store for January 2014 in New York City, check out Scott Monty's BSI Weekend
page for the action packed schedule, accommodation information, what Twitter hashtags to follow (ie. #bsiweekend
) and other related information.
|[The 1947 annual BSI dinner at the Murray Hill Hotel. Photo from Jon Lellenberg's BSI Archival History page.]|