Previous reviews are at Mack Pitches Up

Saturday, May 2, 2009

SHRC Update 1 May 2009 - Where to Start: The Sherlockian Chronologies

Previous posts in the Sherlock Holmes Reading Challenge (SHRC)
My Personal Sherlock Holmes Reading Challenge
SHRC Update 30 April 2009

When I began planning my Sherlock Holmes Reading Challenge I decided to read the stories in publication order. If I read the stories more or less in the order Doyle wrote them I might be able to detect an evolution in the characters of Holmes and Watson. Does this seem reasonable?

Today I checked out The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes edited by Leslie S. Klinger. In the Notes for Scholars I discovered that there is the science of Sherlockian Chronoligisation which tries to determine "the dates on which the events recounted in the stories actually occurred." This is what Baring-Gould emphasised in his classic work, The Annotated Sherlock Holmes. The chronologists expend great effort looking for the most minute of clues that could date a story.

Even publication order is not a simple matter as Klinger points out that there are three starting points:
1. The Strand Magazine version
2. The original English book version
3. the original American book version

Klinger relies on the English book version "under the theory that these versions received the most careful review from the author." He further points out that there are significant variations among sources.

I'm going to stick with my plan to work through the stories in order of appearance now using the Klinger sequence but will work in the date of occurrence somehow. Foolish me, I thought I would just pick up a book and start reading.

Here are several links to sources that have worked out time lines for the stories:
A Basic Timeline of Terra 221B
Klinger's Table of Major Events
Baring-Goulds Chronology of the Canon