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4976Fwd: Sherlockian Asides

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  • Jay Ganguly
    Oct 3, 2015


      Sent from my iPhone

      Begin forwarded message:

      From: BRENDA <agrrtig@...>
      Date: 3 October 2015 04:14:38 IST
      Subject: Sherlockian Asides

      Sherlockian Asides

      Members of Chicago-area Torists heard a stirring lecture, “Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson---Were they True Friends?”  We live in troubled times and lessons can be learned from 1895 and the friendship of these two men of note. Philosophical musings on morality and on gallantry were presaged with a toast to Murray, the Gallant who transported a wounded Dr. Watson.  Parsing  Aristotle and his Nicomachean Ethics, the Bible-- Old and New-- we were reminded of true friends and of corrupt companions. Holmes is the detective and Watson his supportive, unquestioning friend. Avoid those whose “feet rush to sin.”(Old Testament, Proverbs, 1:10-19, 4:14-19).  Avoid association with those who entice you to do wrong, no matter the appeal of their “friendship.” Does Watson put friendship ahead of morality? Is this indicative of a lack of integrity? How much loyalty is demanded in a true friendship? How does Dr. Watson maintain balance when alerted by Holmes that a game is afoot? Our speaker, the brilliant Tony Citera, concluded that these two were indeed the best of friends, citing from the New Testament, John 13:  15:12-15: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.”   

      reading recommendationSherlock Holmes and Philosophy: The Footprints of a Gigantic Mind, ed. Joseph Steiff, and the particular chapter by Ruth Tallman: “Are They True Friends and What is a True Friend,” and The Philosophy of Sherlock Holmes, ed. Philip Tallon, David Baggett.

      Frank Cioffi (1928-2012) an Italian-American from a peasant family is the subject of an interesting book by David Ellis, Frank Cioffi: The Philosopher in Shirt Sleeves. After teaching in Singapore and Kent, he became the founding professor of the philosophy department at the University of Essex in the early 1970s. He was physically large, 6 ft. 4 in. and strong, and wore pajamas underneath his clothes. The pajamas were visible at the edges of his sweater and he held his pants up with a piece of string. In his pockets, he gathered scraps of paper with typewritten quotations from favorite writers like George Eliot, Tolstoy or Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, whom he revered.

      A Torist guest won a prized collectible:  a Valley of Fear paperback upon which the author’s name appears as “A.C. Doyle” on an erotic-themed cover. Thank goodness for small favors--there was never a connection between ACD and erotica. I recall the 2011 Toronto SinS conference where, at 9 am, the audience was regaled with a presentation of Victorian era cheek, including a full frontal monte, images of undone knickers, and British kama sutra (a contradiction in terms, n’est ce pas?). An eminence grise, age approximately late 80s, exhaled sonorously and left in a creaky huff. He must have been familiar with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s riposte on pornography in Jacobellis v. Ohio:  "I know it when I see it."  

      the Masterpiece Theater production of “Arthur and George” (based in large part on Julian Barnes’ excellent Arthur and George) concluded with a horsy thump on Sept. 6. Conan Doyle took years to reverse George Edalji’s wrongful conviction for horse mutilation. Letters written by Arthur Conan Doyle in relation to the Edalji case are in the Portsmouth History Center and Conan Doyle Collection. 
      In the north shore of Chicago, horse mutilation was tabloid fodder over the course of many years. It involved the Jayne family’s sibling rivalry and sordid conflicts over money, stables, horses, arson, murders and disappearances, and insurance claims.  

      Cricketers, Authors, and Doctors:  Here’s a new book on W.G. Grace:  Amazing Grace: The Man Who Was WG by Richard Tomlinson. Famed cricketer/batsman W.G. Grace, himself a physician, preferred playing cricket to tending patients. Wicket-keeper Conan Doyle pitched against Grace in a game, during which Grace gave Conan Doyle an elementary catch because he mistimed a huge whack at a bad ball. Conan Doyle wrote this exultory snippet in Reminiscences of Cricket:
       "Once in my heyday of cricket/ One day I shall ever recall! I captured that glorious wicket/ The greatest, the grandest of all. The capture of such might elate one/ But it seemed like one horrible jest/ That I should serve tosh to the great one, Who had broken the hearts of the best." 

      reading recommendation: Peter Pan’s First XI: The Extraordinary Story of JM Barrie’s Cricket Team by Kevin Telfer. Conan Doyle said of Barrie’s “Allahakbarrie” cricket team in his Memoirs and Adventures: “Lord help us.” His team, “The Authors,” played together and against one another.  Barrie, A.A. Milne and E.M. Hornung (Conan Doyle’s brother-in-law and creator of Raffles, the gentleman-thief) were regulars. Two teammates were Frank Shacklock and William Mycroft. Wodehouse also played. He, as well as C. Aubrey Smith, moved to the U.S. where they helped found the Hollywood Cricket Club (Boris Karloff was wicketkeeper; he was Henry Pratt of Norfolk, and neighbor to a friend of the undersigned.).

      Music, Music, Music:  “His powers upon the violin... were very remarkable but as eccentric as all his other accomplishments...”  At this past summer Prom’s concert, BBC featured the music of Sherlock Holmes in all his guises.  “Sherlock” co-creator and star Mark Gatiss provided narrative linking the music as well as short readings from the original stories. There were themes from 1942’s “Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror,” 1985’s “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, “The Mycroft Suite,” two Lassus motets (upon which Holmes wrote a monograph) and a movement of Paganini’s second violin concerto. Fritz Kreisler is my preferred violinist and you might wish to listen to his Paganini variation.  Fritz Kreisler was Holmes and Watson’s contemporary, born in Vienna in 1875 and living a good long while...until1962.  Mezzo-soprano Christine Rice, in 19th century opera gown, sang two arias that Irene Adler may have sung -- “Una voce poco fa” from The Barber of Seville and “Ah, Tanya, Tanya” from Eugene Onegin. Access the BBC site and listen to much more of the broadcast at www.bbc.co.uk/events/egnrzc.

      Errata
      U.S. Politics and Sherlock Holmes: From the Washington Post:  “the internet is a fickle place. For weeks, it lavished attention on the storyline that Jeb Bush was destined to play the role of chief antagonist to Donald Trump — Jeb would be Sherlock Holmes to Trump’s Professor Moriarty,”

      Bill Peschel of Peschel Press (his books have appeared in Otto Penzler’s shop (per Bill: “Getting an order for books from his store is like being touched by the pope.”) is writing “Sherlock Holmes Parodies and Pastiches II: 1905-1909,” five essays about each year in Conan Doyle’s life. Due out this November. 

      Quote from a newly fit 53-year-old gent. “I take an EL-EM-EN-TARY approach to fitness:
      That’s EL for Eating Less - I keep up the protein and fiber intake but with a lot less sugar and saturated fats.
      EM is for exercise more. Get your heart rate up for 20-40 minutes a day. He has completed triathlons and marathons--unthinkable when he was 50.
      EN is for Extend Nights. The body’s primary fat burning period is overnight – create a 12-hour gap between consuming calories. 
      And the TARY? That’s desired outcome - “Towards A Renewed You!”

      Calendar of Sherlockian Jaunts
      the Toby Jug Museum in Evanston(IL): an immaculate, superb collection of Toby Jugs and Royal Doulton figures---historical, literary, celebrity, political. Included are a smattering of Sherlockian figures: Holmes and Watson. No ACD representations, however. www.tobyjugmuseum.com.
      Oct. 2-Nov. 15, 2015. The Seven Percent Solution is on stage, dramatized by Terry McCabe--always a reliable Holmesian: City Lit Theatre, 1020 W Bryn Mawr Ave, Chicago; www.citylit.org. Review to follow.
      From Oct. 23, The traveling exhibition of Sherlock Holmes moves to Denver CO.  Highly recommended:  sherlockholmesexhibition.com.

      Sat. Oct. 24, 2015, 9 a.m. Newberry Library in Chicago: the annual Sir Arthur Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes Symposium. FREE. www.newberry.org
      The symposium commemorates the written works and memorabilia of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the Newberry Library’s C. Frederick Kittle Collection of Doyleana. This year’s event features the following speakers: Jill Gage, Newberry Library, “Introduction to The Adventure of the C. Frederick Kittle Collection; Zach Dundas, Author, Reporter, and Editor. “Cracking the Casebook”--Investigating the epic story of Sherlock Holmes from Conan Doyle to Cumberbatch. Zach will weave interviews, primary-document research, Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories, and his own excursion into the frozen wastes of Dartmoor into a chronicle of Sherlock Holmes’s 130 years so far. In his new book The Great Detective, Zach traces the evolution of Sherlock Holmes in popular culture. He combines reportage, memoir, and occasional outbreaks of scholarship. Tim Johnson, E. W. McDiarmid Curator of the Sherlock Holmes Collections at the University of Minnesota Library, will present “Is it Always 1895?” Building library research collections involves many things, including a bit of detective work. Tim will explore past and present adventures in collecting that include elements of detection, heroes and villains. Looking toward the future–and playing on Vincent Starrett’s famous “221B” Sherlockian sonnet–we will also investigate clues that might challenge latter-day detective-collectors.
      Augie Aleksy, proprietor of Centuries & Sleuths (Forest Park IL) www.centuriesandsleuths.com has provided the Newberry Library administrator with several “Mr. Holmes” movie posters which will be distributed as event prizes.

      A traveling “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” staging, from Pennsylvania, to New Jersey, to Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, and parts west.  www.aquilatheatre.com/touring.   On Sat. Oct. 24, this show stops at the FermiLab in Batavia, IL, unfortunately coincident with the Sat. Oct. 24 dinner-meeting of the Chicago-area Criterion Bar Association.  Directed by Desiree Sanchez, with a stellar cast of British performers and original music, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson maneuver the twisted web of London's most intriguing cases. 
       
      October 27, Tim Johnson (aforementioned curator of the Sherlockian collection at the University of Minnesota Library, https://www.lib.umn.edu/scrbm will be giving a presentation at Northern Illinois University Library. http://www.ulib.niu.edu/friends/activitiesprograms.cfm.  The NIU library holds a sizeable Vincent Starrett collection. Starrett was the author of "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes" (1933) and of the indelible “221B.”  He was one of the founders of the Baker Street Irregulars and a member of the Sherlock Holmes Society in London.

      Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 24-29, at Chicago’s Oriental Theater, David Arquette stars in a national tour of “Sherlock Holmes.” sherlockholmesonstage.com. Mark Trevino plays Dr. Watson. Arquette admits to being a “huge Sherlockian fan” (not sure of his scion society, but I imagine BSI’s instincts will continue to hover over celebrities and chicks). Arquette sees a bit of Sherlock in himself...”a rather strange person with quirks and addictions.” These have been lately represented in the National Enquirer.  individual tickets at Ticketmaster.com and BroadwayInChicago.com. 

      The Norwegian Explorers 2016 Tri-Annual Conference: “The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes.” June 17, 2016 - June 19, 2016; The Commons Hotel615 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN.  www.norwegianexplorers.org.

        
      Your Faithful Sherlockian Correspondent,
      BRENDA ROSSINI
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