“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”—Victor Hugo (via bluecollarclassicist)
“My co-worker noticed that I had some downtime at work, and suggested that I start my own tumblr using literary quotes. I really liked the idea, but then I realized that a quote from literature can be so much more appealing if it has a photo of Joan Holloway attached to it. So that’s how the idea of Slaughterhouse 90210 was born. (Rejected blog titles: Full House of Mirth, Catch-227).
“As the blog evolved over the years, my main goal became getting books back into pop culture discussions right alongside Mad Men and Jersey Shore. In my own little way I wanted to propagate the notion that books are still a vital part of the way we live now.”
Markings in ‘The Great Hiatus - Stranded Holmesless’ reflects on ACD’s decision to kill off Sherlock Holmes in 1893, The Strand and others’ reaction to this decision and the immediate attempts to ‘fill’ the hole that a moribund Holmes left in the page of the Strand with other Victorian detectives. A fact that always blows my mind: after the death of Holmes, “The Strand lost 20,000 subscriptions. Seven and a half years (or 91 issues) issues later, 30,000 new subscriptions were taken out as a result of the serialization of The Hound of the Baskervilles.” So what came immediately after Holmes’ purported demise at the Reichenbach? “Arthur Morrison, who had the unenviable honour of launching his new detective, Martin Hewitt, but three months after “The Final Problem”” was the answer: “Morrison’s detective was ordinary, short, good-tempered and got on well with the police. His novel characteristic was to operate in a grey area where he sometimes bordered on the criminal himself. Three volumes of Hewitt stories were published. The first (The Lenton Croft Robberies) may be read on-line with Sidney Paget’s illustrations.” I always find it comforting that Mr Paget, having rose to illustration prominence (by accident) thanks to ACD and Holmes, still had a job post-Reichenbach. A great article from the up-and-coming Markings blog.
[Sydney Paget illustrated Arthur Morrison’s Martin Hewitt stories - many of which are available in facsimile format in Alan K. Russell’s edited volumes The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes Vol. 1 & 2, available in hardcover from Castle Press.]
Sherlock Holmes Week, put together by many of the individuals and groups that sponsored the extremely successful Great Sherlock Holmes Debates, begins on July 30th at various locations around the globe. From the latest press release: “Millions of Sherlock Holmes fans worldwide will take part in a week of celebration of the world’s most famous detective in the first annual Sherlock Holmes Week from 30th July - 5th August. Holmes has had a resurgence in the last two years with two major Hollywood motion pictures and the success of BBC Sherlock. The week is backed by the main societies and organisations in the world. www.sherlockholmesweek.com is the website where fans can register their local events and take part in competitions. The motto of the week is “By the fans, for the fans,” and local groups are being encouraged to celebrate the week in their own way - from special screenings to picnics. Events have been confirmed across the USA, UK and as far afield as Thailand and Canada. The theme of this year’s week is to promote the Save Undershaw campaign - a trust striving to save the former home of the creator of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The campaign was recently captured in the book Sherlock’s Home: The Empty House, which featured contributions from Holmes legends Stephen Fry and Mark Gatiss. Source: PR Newswire.” As I hear of interesting sounding related SH Week events I will pass them on to Always1895 readers. To get a sense of the caliber of Sherlockians involved: “Supporters of the week include the top fan sites Sherlockology, The Baker Street Babes and I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere. Special guest will be leading mentalist Joe Riggs aka The Real Sherlock Holmes.” I’ll be keeping an eye on how this develops!
Luke Benjamen Kuhns looks at the “various incarnations of Irene” and asks a few related questions: Who is Irene Adler, What was Doyle’s point in the character? “But perhaps most, and importantly, what was his message. Here I briefly look over four versions of Irene to try and reach an answer to those questions.” Though Mr Kuhns’ conclusions are not radically novel in themselves: “Irene Adler will forever be The Woman. She is Sherlock’s equal and she is the prototype for the modern woman. Guy Ritchie’s film, though pushing Adler into a more criminal light, still kept her within the frame of the original version. I enjoy McAdam’s portrayal The BBC Sherlock dumped the original idea tossing away Irene’s origins and went down a less respectable route for the character. Though Pulver was brilliant her Irene is not the Irene we should have got,” is analysis of a few recent incarnations of Ms Adler is very much worth reading and pondering. Healthy questioning of recent interpretations in various adaptation of characters besides just Holmes and Watson is I think an extremely important act which can only help enrich our enjoyment and understanding of the Canon, both for newcomers as well as experts of the canon. (Thanks to Howard for the tip!)
[Irene Adler as portrayed by Gayle Hunnicutt in the Granada adaptation of SCAN.]
The Three Garridebs of Westchester County, NY are running a very unique fundraiser: “throughout most of 2012, we will be selling raffle tickets for the 1981 commemorative medal shown above. (See DeWaal number C16494 for further description). This coin is numbered 193 on the edge. The raffle drawing for the coin will be held at the 2012 Blue Carbuncle Luncheon in December [30th]. There will be only 100 tickets sold at $5.00 each (with a limit of 10 tickets per person). Only 221 of these coins were minted and they are rarely available for sale.” Even though I prefer collecting Sherlock Holmes-themed books to pretty much anything else, now and then I see Sherlockian artifact (print, figure, clothing, etc.) that is interesting/unique enough to covet for it’s own sake. Ben & Sue Vizoskie displayed this one of a kind (well, one out of 221 kinds) object at the most recent Priory Scholars of NYC meeting and it is a fine looking piece that would look great sitting on one of my Holmesian shelves. For information on future Three Garridebs events (as well as other major and minor Sherlock happenings) please visit and bookmark The Sherlockian Calendar, supported in part by the work of Ben & Sue Vizoskie of the 3GARs of Westchester.
[“Raffle tickets will also be available at all meetings of The Three Garridebs this year.]
[I encourage you to click on the above image to see this original The Great Mouse Detective promo poster in a gloriously larger size.]
Dan Andriaccoin the aptly titled ‘A Study in Procrastination’ wonders what took him so long to read King and Klinger’s delightful A Study in Sherlock book. Mr Andriacco says one “never know what you’re getting into when you start reading each tale” but assures us that the suspense is worth it - and I couldn’t agree more.
Barefoot on Baker Street reports: “there is now a competition running on the Save Undershaw website in which people can vote for their favourite [Sherlock’s Home story]. “Charlie Milverton” is doing really well, but so far, “Distraction” by Ariane DeVere is way out in front. You can vote here. Ms Walters sums up the situation best though in her title: “The voting begins – but the real winner is Undershaw.” Pick up your copy today!
This is Sussex looks at the campaigning for a statue of Sherlock Holmes: “Arthur Conan Doyle enthusiast have launched a campaign to raise £50,000 for a statue of the world’s most famous fictional [sic] detective to be erected in Crowborough.” If you think this might be a worthy cause you “can make donations to the newly formed Sherlock Holmes Trust Fund at any branch of Lloyd’s Bank.”
NY Daily News alerts us to some rather exciting though strange news: “British actor Benedict Cumberbatch is making a cameo appearance in animated sitcom The Simpsons. By some people’s estimates, one has finally ‘made it’ when you’re asked to do a cameo on The Simpsons. Just read through this List of Simpson’s Guest Stars if you don’t believe me!
The World of Joe Riggs announced that Mr Riggs’ hotly anticipated book The Real Sherlock Holmes was released this week. A giant congratulations to Joe Riggs from Always 1895!
“A book, even a fragmentary one, has a center which attracts it. This center is not fixed, but is displaced by the pressure of the book and circumstances of its composition. Yet it is also a fixed center which, if it is genuine, displaced itself, while remaining the same and becoming always more hidden, more uncertain and more imperious.”—Maurice Blanchot: The Space of Literature (translated by A. Smock)
“Of all the criteria by which people habitually distinguish civilization from barbarism, this should be the one most worth retaining: that certain people write and others do not.”—Claude Lévi-Strauss, “A Writing Lesson” from Tristes Tropiques (via irisblasi)
C.S. Lewis’ advice on writing, as given to a young fan:
1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.
2. Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.
3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “More people died” don’t say “Mortality rose.”
4. In writing, don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, “Please will you do my job for me.”
5. Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
Death is not sufficient to deter men who make it their glory to despise it; but if every one that fought a duel were to stand in the pillory, it would quickly lessen the number of these imaginary men of honour, and put an end to so absurd a practice.
When honour is a support to virtuous principles, and runs parallel with the laws of God and our country, it cannot be too much cherished and encouraged; but when the dictates of honour are contrary to those of religion and equity, they are the greatest deprivations of human nature, by giving wrong ambitions and false ideas of what is good and laudable; and should therefore be exploded by all governments, and driven out as the bane and plague of human society.
Joseph Addison: Spectator, No. 199.
The practice of the duel, as a private mode, recognized only by custom, of deciding private differences, seems to be of comparatively recent date.
William Thomas Brande.
How! a man’s blood for an injurious, passionate speech—for a disdainful look? Nay, that is not all: that thou mayest gain among men the reputation of a discreet, well-tempered murderer, be sure thou killest him not in passion, when thy blood is hot and boiling with the provocation; but proceed with as great temper and settledness of reason, with as much discretion and preparedness, as thou wouldest to the communion: after several days’ respite, that it may appear it is thy reason guides thee, and not thy passion, invite him kindly and courteously into some retired place, and there let it be determined whether his blood or thine shall satisfy the injury.
William Chillingworth: Sermons.
Duelling was then , as now, an absurd and shocking remedy for private insult.
It is astonishing that the murderous practice of duelling should continue so long in vogue.
I shall therefore hereafter consider how the bravest men in other ages and nations have behaved themselves upon such incidents as we decide by combat; and show, from their practice, that this resentment neither has its foundation from true reason or solid fame, but is an imposture, made up of cowardice, falsehood, and want of understanding.
Sir Richard Steele: Tatler, No. 25.
Shakspeare, in As You Like It, has rallied the mode of formal duelling, then so prevalent, with the highest humour and address.