I clearly neglected someone in my list of last week’s authors who write what they know. A little unknown. A nobody, really.
A man we like to refer to as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
A.K.A. Sherlock Holmes.
A.K.A. Dr. John Watson.
First off, who wouldn’t like a man with the name Conan? It almost begs for “the Barbarian” as epitaph, doesn’t it?
I picked up a doorstop of a book by this unrecognizable author from the library last week called The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume II. To be honest, I love Sherlock Holmes, in all his reincarnations, but this book is intimidating. It’s the kind of thing that has someone’s dissertation just inside the front cover, exclaiming over the ins and outs of the characters, or the writing, or this edition, or how many other adaptations have been made from it over the years. My personal favorites are the academics who try to argue how much influence their favorite authors or books have had on society.
Anyway, the introduction was hefty and I had no intention of reading it, until a phrase caught my eye. Then I was hooked.
Because of the detail of the Dective’s investigations, people the world over believed the cases had actually taken place and that Sherlock Holmes really lived. Street names, railway stations, details only Londoners would know.
Did you know the people who live at 221B Baker Street, London, still get mail addressed to Sherlock Holmes?
Sherlock Holmes was the first fictional character awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Society in Chemistry in Britain. This fictional character has earned a better real-world degree than many of us living in this real world.
In 1892, a series of articles appeared in a UK based paper, written by “Our Special Correspondent”, Sherlock Holmes. The paper refused when called upon by the public to verify Holmes’ authenticity. You see, people so believed in the character they kept wanting him to be a non-fictional character. They wanted him to be real. And the British Paper never claimed he wasn’t. (Although, to be fair, they also never claimed he was.)
For all of Sherlock’s brilliance, Sir Conan Doyle was nothing like him, which in my mind, makes his “real-ness” more impressive.
So, to make up for my sad omission of last week, I dedicate this post to Sir Arthur Conan “the Barbarian” Doyle. With Respect.