Sunday, August 8, 2010
"The Spirits of Sherlock Holmes"
Every three years the Sherlock Holmes Collections at the University of Minnesota Libraries and The Norwegian Explorers of Minneapolis/St. Paul sponsor a weekend conference at the University's Andersen Library, this year dubbed "The Spirits of Sherlock Holmes." As the last day dawns, the entire weekend has been a delight, with Friday afternoon an especially good day for BSI history. Ray Betzner ("The Agony Column," BSI) opened the weekend's program with "221B": A Study in Starrett, a superb examination of Vincent Starrett's famous sonnet of 1942 -- its origins, significance as a wartime expression of the abiding nature of Sherlock Holmes, and emergence as a lasting anthem for the Baker Street Irregulars. And Baker Street Journal editor Steven Rothman ("The Valley of Fear," BSI) presented a splendid illustrated account of the BSI's first journal of record in Stranded on the Shelves: A Leaf Through the Saturday Review. Yesterday the audience was subjected to a debate between me and Dr. Richard Sveum ("Dr. Hill Barton," BSI) of The Norwegian Explorers on the irrelevance of Ronald Knox and his "Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes" paper of 1911 -- he defending the faith that Knox is the fountainhead of Holmesian scholarship and movement, I re-examining this dogma in terms of the curious incident of the dog in the night-time: the near complete absence of any attention given to Msgr. Knox and his paper in the early scholarship and stirrings of the men and women who suddenly plunged into Holmesian studies in the early 1930s and then founded both the BSI and England's first Sherlock Holmes Society in 1934. The final word on this subject has not been spoken yet!
Posted by Jon Lellenberg at 5:53 AM