I apologize for being a few days late with last week’s Friday Links, but better late than never…
Also, I know that the majority of readers receive information on new posts via their RSS readers, their Tumblr feeds, and/or via Twitter or Facebook, but for those of you that would like to receive an email update whenever a new post appears, I’ve set up (after receiving more than a few requests) an email list. To be alerted to new posts via email, please send an email to email@example.com and type “1895 Email Alert” in the subject (you can leave the body blank). If you ever want to stop receiving the alerts, just email that you no longer want to be on the alert list and I’ll remove your email address - it’s that simple!
Gasogene Books recently released CD that is going to be an essential item for my collection: Starrett Speaks: The Lost Recordings “is a collection of rare, never-released recordings by the legendary Sherlockian and bookman, Vincent Starrett. Recovered from hours of ancient audio tapes, you’ll hear Starrett reading from a selection of his own work, as well as participate in a lengthy television interview with fellow Sherlockian, Orlando Park. Starrett Speaks will transport you back in time to the late 1960s, and give you an opportunity to experience what was once thought impossible for so many of us…the opportunity to listen to Vincent Starrett talk about Sherlock Holmes.” Sounds like a little slice of Sherlockian heaven.
[Without a doubt one of the ‘must have’ Sherlockian items of 2012!]
Lyndsay Faye reviewed the The Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes Spring 2012 Semi-Annual Meeting, and personally it was one of the best ASH events I’ve ever attended. I even got to deliver a toast! Here’s a snippet from Ms Faye’s review: “Among personal friends of the Babes we encountered were the ever lovely Susan Rice and Mickey Fromkin of ASH (more on them later). Matt Laffey of @always1895 was of course a delight to behold [Yay that’s me!!], and his girlfriend Becca is no less of a charmer. Jenn sat at a table with the perennially delightful ASH Jacquelynn Bost-Morris of Watson’s Tin Box and the Scintillation of Scions—the BSB will be speaking at the next Scintillation, which is quite an honor, and Jacquelynn is really too fabulous to be allowed to leave her house. Also at Jenn’s table, a surprise treat visitation from Jaime Mahoney of the Better Holmes and Gardens blog, also known as @goddessinsepia. I, meanwhile, sat with longtime ASH pal Dr. Rebecca Robare, author Maria Konnikova, Melinda Caric (the BSB’s New York photographer), the legendary Principle Unprincipled Adventuress Evelyn Herzog with her lovely husband John Baesch, and the truly delightful staff and founders of Sherlock NYC, who were hosting an Avengers film excursion later that day.” In a word, it was quite a group! For more information about the amazing and wonderful Adventuresses, check out their website: www.ash-nyc.com/.
[Some of the most excellent Sherlockians you’re ever likely to meet: Front row: Lyndsay Faye, BSB, Susan Rice, Jenn, BSB, Mickey Fromkin Second row: Lee, SNYC, Christine, SNYC, Aubre, SNYC, Melinda credit to The Serpentine Muse, subscriptions $15/year - subscribe!]
Alistair Duncan gives a short, concise report on what went down at the Undershaw Judicial Review (for background info cf. Save Undershaw). UPDATE: “The judge’s decision has been reserved and we will find out in a week at the earliest. However the decision could take until the end of July.” Barefoot on Baker Street also weighed in. Even mainstream, non-Sherlockians are starting to notice that something is afoot at Undershaw as evidenced by pieces in The Telegraph and in ‘Fight To Save Sherlock Holmes House’ contained in The New Zealand Herald.
[“The troops gather!” Click on image for more pictures of last week’s Undershaw face-off.]
Noteflight Yesterday, on one of the Sherlock Holmes mailing lists I subscribe, someone brought up trying to play the Granada’s Sherlock Holmes ’Intro’ (by Patrick Gowers) so I did a search for sheet music and came across a site called Noteflight which not only has the ‘Intro’ music, but gives various ways of previewing and sharing said piece. Sadly, I have no ability to read music (one day when I wake up completely independently wealthy I will dedicate my life to taking violin and Attic Greek and Latin lessons) but maybe someone will find this (or the other ‘Sherlock Homes’ tagged sheet music) useful:
[From Sherlock Holmes (Granada) - ‘Intro Theme’ (by Patrick Gowers)]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Constant Stream of Debauchery posted this rather risque piece of Sherlockian fan art. I know that there’s tons of fan art images out there featuring Holmes and Watson I extra-canonical situations (to put it mildly) but this one is has a certain well-designed edge to it and was posted on a blog called “Constant Stream of Debauchery”.
Express published a piece about ACD’s Undersahw years: “it was where he was visited by Dracula author Bram Stoker, Peter Pan creator JM Barrie and where Virginia Woolf took pictures of the party on the lawn. But it is chiefly known as the place where Conan Doyle wrote 13 Sherlock Holmes stories including The Hound Of The Baskervilles.” Let’s hope the outcome of Wednesday’s delayed decision (set for July) is a win for British history and literature.
Dan Andriacco argues that ”Holmes was not a just a brain” and in fact can be much more emotionally-tinged than the majority of Sherlockians believe.
Bookish Adventure gives us a grand opportunity to take a virtual tour of the Sherlock Holmes Museum - you can almost smell the shag tobacco in the Persian slipper and hear “the grind of carriage wheels against the kerb” (as Morley would say).
Christopher Morley - speaking of kerb grinding - used said phrase in this delightful little poem (click on text shot for Google Books page):
“It entails being humble in our life-style, steadfast in our faith, modest in our words, just in our actions, merciful in our dealings, disciplined in our conduct, incapable of inflicting a wrong but able to bear one inflicted on us; keeping peace with our brothers; loving God with all our heart; cherishing Christ…[and] clinging tenaciously to His love; standing brave and confident by His Cross; and whenever His Name and honor are involved, displaying in our speech the constancy to confess Him, or under torture the courage to fight for Him, and in death the patience for which we shall be crowned.”—Saint Cyprian of Carthage, on how to be spiritual (HT Deep in the Stacks)
“Reading has been the chief pleasure of my life. It has given me so much pleasure that I feel that I am in danger of falling into extravagance when I speak of it. The pleasure has gone on increasing, and is stronger now than ever. Of many things we grow weary in the course of years, but nowadays I have a greater happiness in reading than ever I had before, and I am thankful that this is so. For reading is not an expensive nor an unreachable pleasure. It is within the power of all to get the joy of reading, and the independence of reading, for it means a great deal of independence and separation from care. Besides, it is an elevating pleasure if the books are rightly chosen, and ought to brighten and elevate and purify the character. It is always more pleasant to meet with one who is a bookman than with one who is not. I always feel safe and comfortable and happy in the presence of any one who is really fond of reading.”—
W. Robertson Nicoll (1851-1923), A Bookman’s Letters (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1913), p. 217.
When you’re lost in the Wild, and you’re scared as a child, And Death looks you bang in the eye, And you’re sore as a boil, it’s according to Hoyle To cock your revolver and… die. But the Code of a Man says: “Fight all you can,” And self-dissolution is barred. In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow… It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.
“You’re sick of the game!” Well, now, that’s a shame. You’re young and you’re brave and you’re bright. “You’ve had a raw deal!” I know — but don’t squeal, Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight. It’s the plugging away that will win you the day, So don’t be a piker, old pard! Just draw on your grit; it’s so easy to quit: It’s the keeping-your-chin-up that’s hard.
It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten — and die; It’s easy to crawfish and crawl; But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight — Why, that’s the best game of them all! And though you come out of each gruelling bout, All broken and beaten and scarred, Just have one more try — it’s dead easy to die, It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.
“We are tainted by modern philosophy which has taught us that all is good, whereas evil has polluted everything and in a very really sense all is evil, since nothing is in its proper place.”— Joseph Marie de Maistre (via daydreamlies)
“Man is insatiable for power; he is infantile in his desires and, always discontented with what he has, loves only what he has not. People complain of the despotism of princes; they ought to complain of the despotism of man.”— Joseph de Maistre (via coeus)
“——On Rousseau: “This is the origin of the savages of whom so many extravagant things have been said and who have especially been used as an eternal text by J. J. Rousseau, one of the most dangerous sophists of his age and yet the most bereft of true knowledge, wisdom, and above all profundity, having an apparent depth that is entirely a matter of words.”——-”—
St. Petersburg Dialogues, Joseph de Maistre (1753 – 1821)
From Right Minds : What sets conservatives apart from authoritarians and fascists? By SAMUEL GOLDMAN
Yet the counterrevolutionaries were not simply authoritarians. Unlike Hobbes, to whom it was a matter of indifference who ruled so long as someone did so, Burke and his disciples were deeply concerned with the character of the wielders of power. This was not simply a matter of natural endowments, although the conservatives did observe reasonably enough that men are not born equal in strength, intelligence, or other capacities. Instead, the classical conservatives insisted that only certain persons are in a position to develop the skills and habits that fit them for rule, not for their personal enjoyment, but rather to secure the common good that is available only when men acknowledge the distinctions that God and nature have established.
No one should be mocked or oppressed because of the way he earns his living, Burke insists. Yet he echoes Aristotle’s argument against political participation by tradesmen when he insists that “the state suffers oppression if such as they, either individually or collectively, are permitted to rule. In this you think you are combating prejudice, but you are at war with nature.”
The content of the relevant distinctions, however, is a point of difference between the conservative tradition as it developed in the English-speaking world and on the Continent. Although it was fundamentally anti-egalitarian, the former took its bearing from the ideal of the gentleman, who did not necessarily bear a title of nobility and was most at home on his rural estate. For Burke, the possession and care of landed property had a central role in cultivating the virtues necessary to rule others well. As the reference to an “entailed inheritance” suggests, Burke saw the management of an estate and its tenants as the basic model of harmonious social relations. On the other hand, those who earn their living from rapid exchange can hardly resist habits of short-term thinking, deference to the whims of customers, and the less than frank speech necessary to succeed in business.
Even a successful merchant, then, could not make himself into a gentleman. He might, however, hope to be successful enough that his grandsons would be. The assumption that social mobility is possible, although never frequent or easy, inclined English-style conservatism to the idea of a powerful but permeable aristocracy. Burke’s own rise from obscure man of letters to the ideologue of the establishment testifies to the plausibility of this assumption.
But “the spirit of the gentleman,” as Burke called it, did not exist in the same way on the Continent, partly because European titles passed to all of a nobleman’s sons rather than only to the eldest. In its place, Bonald, Maistre, and German counterparts like Friedrich Gentz deferred to the nobility of the sword. The natural rulers, as they saw them, were not a class of squires periodically refreshed by talented outsiders. They were the titled commanders of armies.
Continental conservatives generally acknowledged the necessity of a class of civil servants to administer the state. But they rejected the Aristotelian principle that participation in politics is an important component of virtue, in favor of a military monasticism that alienated the elite from the society that it was supposed to lead. Among the reasons that Burke’s conservatism supported his commitment to parliamentary government, by contrast, was that he saw politics as a fit occupation for a gentleman. Indeed, one of Burke’s central criticisms of the French Revolution is that its subversion of all civil authority made military dictatorship inevitable—an outcome for which he had no sympathy whatsoever.
Despite their disagreement about who the natural rulers were, Burke and his European counterparts agreed about how this rule was to be exercised. In both cases, power was to be constrained by the complex structure of relationships that make up a whole society. A father might be the authority in his own home, but he owed obedience to the local lord of the manor. The lord might rule his estate, but not in defiance of the king. And the king had to be prepared to account for himself before God for his stewardship of these relationships, which are not of his making or subject to his will.
Burke’s insistence that good government is always limited government is well known. But Maistre, who has the reputation of a crazed absolutist, insisted on the same principle. Elaborating his theory of sovereignty, Maistre explains that while sovereignty must, in certain senses, be absolute, it should never be arbitrary or exercised outside its proper sphere. Although the king’s will must not be challenged, “Religion, laws, customs, opinion, and class and corporate privileges restrain the sovereign and prevent him from abusing his power…”
The insistence that power be embedded in restraining traditions and institutions is the crucial distinction between classical conservatism and the fascism that would eventually replace it on the European right. Conservatism defends the authority of lords, of generals, of kings—but not of a “leader” who emerges from and rules over the disorganized mob.
In The Reactionary Mind, Robin tries to efface this distinction by quoting Maistre’s arguments that the restoration of the king would require the participation of the people. But he ignores Maistre’s insistence that the restored order be monarchical—and indeed that the crown continue in the line of succession that had been interrupted when Louis XVI was executed. The template for the populist dictatorship that Robin associates with conservatism was not the Bourbon Restoration. As Burke foresaw, it was the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte, whom even Maistre opposed.