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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Personal Sherlock Holmes Reading Challenge

I volunteered to be the library resource person for a Fall freshman seminar with the working title Investigating Sherlock Holmes and Early Detective Fiction. I've been reading Kerrie's postings for the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge and decided to adapt it to my Sherlock Holmes Project.

In preparation, my first object is to read the original four novels and fifty-six short stories in publication order. Similar to Kerrie's goal with the ACRC, I want to see how Doyle develops Holmes - the types of problems Holmes is called upon to solve, Holmes' methods, his relationship with Watson, and is there evidence that Doyle was tiring of Holmes (other than trying to kill him off, that is).

The original works
1. A Study in Scarlet (published 1887)
2. The Sign of the Four (published 1890)
3. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (contains stories published 1891–1892 in The Strand)
4. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (contains stories published 1892–1893 in The Strand as further episodes of the Adventures)
5. The Hound of the Baskervilles (serialised 1901–1902 in The Strand)
6. The Return of Sherlock Holmes (contains stories published 1903–1904 in The Strand)
7. The Valley of Fear (serialised 1914–1915)
8. His Last Bow (contains stories published 1908–1913 and 1917)
9. The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (contains stories published 1921–1927)

Wikipedia has a list of the individual Sherlock Holmes short stories here.

In addition to the canon listed above, I will work on a reading list of stories that feature or allude to Holmes. The universe of Holmesian literature is too vast for my list to be comprehensive but I will see what I can put together that is representative. Suggestions are welcome.

There will be much more to the course including an examination of the forensic techniques, the genesis of Holmes, translation into film, and other early detective fiction.

I'm looking forward to turning my hobby in a scholarly direction.


Dorte H said...

"I'm looking forward to turning my hobby in a scholarly direction."

What a great idea, Mack! I often do that as a teacher, introducing the genre of crime fiction to my students & pointing out some of the differences between early American & early British crime. Many of the boys really enjoy that.

Uriah Robinson said...

I know you are a librarian Mack with easy access to all the Holmes related material,but I can recommend Leslie Klinger's annotated Sherlock Holmes which has an incredible amount of information related to the stories.
I learned what a Bradshaw and a Penang lawyer were as well as a lots more information about Victorian and Edwardian life.

Mack said...

Dorte - what age are your students. Any suggestion for early British crime fiction appreciated.

Norman - woohoo my library has two copies and both are in the stacks. I shall hie myself up there and pull a copy.

Scott Parker said...

I love this idea and have written about it in a blog to be posted later today. I already have your blog on my Google Reader and I'm looking forward to seeing what you discover.

Dorte H said...

My students are 16-19 years old.
Are you thinking of short stories or novels?

Vanda Symon said...

Hi Mack,

I thought this was a great idea & have linked to it and Kerrie's Agatha Christie Reading Challenge on my blog, as I'm doing a Ngaio Marsh Reading Challenge

Mack said...

Hi Vanda,
When I finish Holmes I may take on a subset of Agatha Christie stories - Poirot. I've found a number of sites that compare Holmes and Poirot and that has me interested. I'm also interested in your Ngaio Marsh challenge. I'm woefully under read there.

Anonymous said...

Rather cool place you've got here. Thank you for it. I like such themes and everything connected to them. I definitely want to read more on that blog soon.