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5019India and Sherlock Holmes

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  • Sajan Venniyoor
    22 Jan 6:52 am
      Dear Jay,

      First of all, heartiest congratulations on becoming a Baker Street Irregular. Well deserved and possibly overdue. 

      About the BSI international series, of course the canon is peppered with references to India. During the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, when it was briefly suspected that the plane may have crashed / landed in the Andaman & Nicobar islands, an inevitable -- though somewhat far-fetched -- link to The Sign of Four was made ("Malaysia Airlines 370 and the connection to Sherlock Holmes"), and I had then toyed with the idea of writing a piece on Holmes and the Andaman islanders if only to demystify ACD's orientalist fantasies about "fierce, naturally hideous, misshapen" aborigines. 

      I lived and worked in the Andaman Islands for three years and the only "fierce and intractable" folk I found there were civil servants on deputation. 

      So, I must say I was rather miffed to find in Spain and Sherlock Holmes an essay by one José Luis Errazquin Rodriguez titled: "Tonga: The Long Shadow of Revenge". "Ah," I thought ruefully, "Someone's beaten me to it", though I really have no idea what the essay is about. (You can pick up a copy of the book from BSI for $39.95 + shipping).

      It turns out the BSI International series is as much about Holmesian scholarship in those countries as it is about references to those countries in the canon. Oh well. 

      Going by the tables of contents of Spain and Sherlock HolmesJapan and SHItaly and SH; Australia and SH and -- oh boy! -- Scandinavia and Sherlock Holmes, there is a hell of a lot of serious scholarship on ACD and Holmes in the unlikeliest of countries. Not sure we can match the Scandinavians but, dammit, Watson served with the 5th Northumberland Fusiliers, not the Danish Guard Hussar Regiment, and despite ACD's oddball notions about swamp adders and Andaman islanders, he wrote a lot more, and better, about India than about Scandinavia, regardless of what The Sherlock Holmes Klubben i Danmark thinks.

      warm regards,
      Sajan


      Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:10 pm . Posted by:      "Jay Ganguly" ruling_jay                        

      Let me also take this opportunity to announce a new project. Sumalji and a few others are already aware of it, and I've discussed it with the BSI publishers. BSI has this "BSI international series" dealing with the nexus between Sherlock Holmes and the world. The latest one is Sherlock and Spain. We're going to be working on an India volume. Whoever is interested in contributing to this volume, please email me separately and we'll discuss your idea and take it forward accordingly.
      Cheers
      Jay
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