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5032Fwd: Sherlockian Asides

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  • Jay Ganguly
    Mar 24, 2016

      Sent from my iPhone

      Begin forwarded message:

      From: BRENDA <agrrtig@...>
      Date: 25 March 2016 02:28:03 IST
      Subject: Sherlockian Asides

      Sherlockian Asides

      What an apropos time to recall  the nostalgic moment of Vincent Starrett’s 221B:
      Here dwell together still two men of note
      Who never lived and so can never die:
      How very near they seem, yet how remote
      That age before the world went all awry.
      But still the game's afoot for those with ears
      Attuned to catch the distant view-halloo:
      England is England yet, for all our fears—
      Only those things the heart believes are true.

      A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
      As night descends upon this fabled street:
      A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
      The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
      Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
      And it is always eighteen ninety-five.

      Terrorists...anarchists..revolutionaries...the overthrow of power institutions...the Kerenskys, sinister forces, “a Nihilist plot”...“No one but an anarchist would go about breaking statues”...”a red Republican...” The societal cataclysms were clearly apparent to Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes at the turn of the century. Their world, too, was in flux.
      In 1890, Scotland Yard was arresting scores of the buggers. Bomb factories were discovered in Birmingham in 1892, and among the arrested were British, French, and Italian anarchists. 
      England’s initial experience with Irish Fenians led to the Anti-Explosives Act. The Yard grew prepared for all eventualities, centralizing their defensive measures. Along with it grew spy organizations and a network of informers.
      London was populated with immigrants...strangers from strange lands, many with remembered political and economic grievances. Dangerous “swarthy” sorts traveled  through Europe keenly set on assassinations, including plots against the Tsar. “Political assassins are only too glad to do their work and to fly.” STUD.  In this roiling stew emerged the legendary, genius detective Sherlock Holmes.  
      In 1891, young Kaiser Wilhelm wrote blisteringly about the mobs, labor riots and immigrants:  “liberalism, humanitarian slop, demagogy, and above all the cowardice of parliaments.” In 1905, Santayana winked out a memorable alarm: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” 

      Alphonse Bertillon, The Man Behind The Modern Mug Shot, at the MetropolitanMuseum of Art, NYC,  

      Some of the earliest mug shots are on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) in New York City: “Crime Stories: Photography and Foul Play.” 
      For over a century, mug shots helped police catch criminals. Photos on CNN, of bombers and such, trace their roots to 19th century Paris. Many were taken by French criminologist Alphonse Bertillon in the late 1800s. His work became so famous that in The Hound of the Baskervilles, a client offends Holmes by calling him "the second highest expert in Europe" — after Bertillon.
      Using Bertillon’s system, police charts showed rows of eyes, ears, noses and other body parts to help identify suspects and to tell similar-looking people apart--a curve of the ear, a unique (fish?) tattoo, a birthmark), giving rise to the modern mug shot. Bertillon standardized the way photos were taken and added the profile mug shot so police could zero in on a suspect's unique features.
      "Men can grow facial hair to cover their chin, but you can't change the shape of your nose except through surgery. And you can't change the contours of your ear," explained the Met's curator..
      Bertillon’s reputation faded as police decided that fingerprinting was a simpler means of identifying suspects. a “British official in India expropriated the idea of using fingerprints for identification and turned it to the advantage of the colonial state.”
       But, even in a DNA age and iris scans, Bertillon's photo legacy is not going anywhere. "A witness still notices a person’s black hair, or a specific tattoo wording. We still live in a visual world.

      recommended reading:  The essays of Carlo Ginzburg: ''Clues, Myths, and the Historical Record,''  “the Judge and the Historian,” and ''Unus Testis (tsk! The Single Witness)''; and his books on anarchists; the trials of lepers, witches and Jews; and on intellectual sleuths from Sherlock Holmes to Freud...previously set forth in the Asides about Zach Dundas’ symposium presentation at Chicago’s Newberry Library. see also Carlo Ginzburg’s “Morelli, Freud and Sherlock Holmes: Clues and Scientific Method.” In tracing the origins of detective deduction, Ginsburg acknowledged these: the “Morelli” method of classification (in the Cardboard Box, the severed ears refer to Morelli), Sherlock Holmes, and Sigmund Freud (whose his inquiry and analysis produced “Moses and Michelangelo” and Moses and Monotheism). at users.clas.ufl.edu/burt/GinzburgMorelliFreudHolmes.pdf.    

      On the eve of Justice Scalia’s untimely passing, “The Sherlock Holmes Canon” has been published in the George Washington Law Review by Prof. Anita S. Krishnakumar (of St. John’s University). In it, she explores one of the late Justice’s theories--“The Canon of Canine Silence.” Scalia used it to capture a “phenomenon under which courts may refuse to believe Congress’s own words unless they can see the lips of others moving in unison.”
      A few of the article’s iterations: 
      ----”In the famous Sherlock Holmes story Silver Blaze, Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson solve the case of a missing racehorse, based in part on the “curious incident of the dog in the night-time.” That is, Mr. Holmes infers that the thief must have been someone with whom the stables watchdog was familiar, because the dog did not bark as the horse was stolen. Mr. Holmes reasons: when an unfamiliar person enters the stables, the watchdog barks; the watchdog did not bark; thus, no unfamiliar person entered the stables.
      Courts have applied Mr. Holmes’s “dog that did not bark” logic when construing the meaning of statutes. If a new law or statutory amendment would significantly change the existing legal landscape (i.e., introduce something unfamiliar), Congress can be expected to comment on that change in the legislative record; thus, a lack of congressional comment regarding a significant change can be taken as evidence that Congress did not intend a change in the law.”
      Professor Krishnakumar writes that in recent years, the Supreme Court has applied the Canon of Canine Silence with increasing frequency, yet with little attention to the reasons behind Congress’s failure to comment. She concludes that the Justices view their attentiveness to congressional silence as part of their duty but instead they end up using the Canon to guard against the problematic.


      Standing on the Terrace
      It is with great sadness that I report the death of Nick J. DeLeonardis, Sunday, March 20. He was in life a formidable Sherlockian, inspiration to younger Sherlockians, traveler, conversationalist, retired professor, U.S. Marine who served in Korea, government consultant a la Mycroft Holmes, author, friend, husband, father and grandfather, emeritus founder of the Devon Street Beggars. May his memory be for a blessing. R.I.P., dear Nick.

      ----Sun, March 27, 8 p.m. The Torists meet at Kappy’s Restaurant in Morton Grove for an informal coffee klatch.
      For the second time in Torist history, the March meeting date falls on the Western Christian celebration of Easter. There will be no formal presentation but all things Sherlockian will be open to discussion. Outgoing Chief Steward Don Izban will offer an Exercise in a Canonical Easter Egg Hunt.  A Triumvirate-- not unlike Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus-- will fill Don Izban’s Torist sandals:  Phil Cunningham, Al Shaw, and Your Undersigned.  

      ---The BeeSpeckled Band, Tues., April 5, 7:15 p.m
      It was early in April in the year '83 that I woke one morning to find Sherlock Holmes standing, fully dressed, by the side of my bed.” 
      at the Highwood (IL) Public Library
      Empty House led by Allen Cohen. Questions shall be forthcoming.
      Sherry and snacks. Thanks much to Ron Levitsky who brought us non-alcoholic beverages + raspberry kringle with which to toast and celebrate the 162nd birthday of Sherlock Holmes. “Which is it today,” Watson asks, “morphine or cocaine?” For us, twas a sugar high.

      ---Sun. May 1, 2 p.m. Cri Bar member and indie book store owner Augie Aleksy hosts a Crime Scene Investigation.  
      Retired police detective/mystery author, Michael Black, will compare the 19th Century vs. the 21st Century C.S.I. and the forensic style in Doyle’s premier mystery novel, Study in Scarlet in the examining scene at Enoch Drebber's death with modern scientific methods. rsvp
      Centuries and Sleuths Book Store, 
      7419 Madison St, Forest Park, IL 60130, (708) 771-7243. www.centuriesandsleuths.com
      (In operation as an Independent Business/Bookseller for over 25 years. Remember, loving a fine bookstore doesn't keep it alive. Buying its books does.)

      ----Devon Street Beggars, has postponed its gatherings upon the death of founder Nicholas J. DeLeonardis.
      The next discussion, the Crooked Man
      Wed. May 3, 6 p.m. Edgebrook Public Library, Chicago.

      ----Scotland Yarders,Tues. May 10, 6:30 p.m.  place and program TBA. for further info about the Scotland Yarders: jlweiner@....

      ---Sat. May 14, 2016, 6 p.m. Criterion Bar Association
       Ruby Tuesday Restaurant, 5203 Old Orchard Rd, Skokie, IL 
      Take a chance at complexity with Dr. Franklin Saksena’s original Sherlock Holmes’ crossword puzzles--sent with each CriBar newsletter.  Winners are announced for prizes at the Criterion Bar dinner. Dr. Saksena’s books (other than the cardiovascular) are available at Augie Aleksy’s Centuries and Sleuths, and include:  101 Sherlock Holmes Puzzles, Another 101 Sherlock Holmes Puzzles, and the brand-new Nerve and Knowledge: Doctors, Medicine and the Sherlockian Canon. Criterion Bar Association is on Facebook.
      Monica “Younger Stamford” Schmidt presents the “DSM-5 and a Canonical Analysis of Sherlock Holmes's Cocaine Use.” The DSM is a diagnostic manual used in the U.S. by criminal defense lawyers, inter alia, in preparation for a defense of mental illness. 

      ---Sun., May 15, 10 a.m.
      at Graceland Cemetery, Irving/Clark--4001 N. Clark.

      Join me, your self-appointed tour guide
      for a trek of the tombstones; start time is 10:15 a.m. on the dot

      Graceland Cemetery is a horticulturally splendid death oasis containing the remains of literati, the filthy rich, the weird, the notable, the Sherlockian-connected and Dickens too.

      Eat a light breakfast at home or your exertion might earn you a spot at the cemetery.  A lanyard and informative guide will be provided each walker.

      dining thereafter, at Calo's Restaurant. 2 p.m.  5343 N Clark St, Chicago, IL.
      rsvp at your earliest convenience.

      ----Hugo’s Companions, Sat. May 21, 6 p.m. Ridgemoor Country Club.
      Al Shaw, Sherlockian wit and creative designer (treading the artistic footsteps of retiring Ed Letwenko), is assuming the helm of Hugo’s Companions for the 2016-2017 season, and expanding the welcome mat from standard hams to the glazed variety. Hugo’s rituals and rules, agendas, tactics and maybe a secret handshake are unclear and hidden from this observer--whether it seeks world domination or global happiness. Caesar may have remonstrated:  “ Let me have men about me that are fat, Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights. Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look, He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.” 

      ---Opening 03/25/2016 — The traveling exhibition of Sherlock Holmes opens in Edmonton, Canada. Highly recommended:  sherlockholmesexhibition.com. Check out the pub crawl. Take a moment to listen to Jim Cornelison sing both the U.S. and the Canada anthems at a hockey game!
      Heard at Toronto’s 2011 SinS Conference, this repartee: 
      Canadian woman (griping):  “Americans are boastful, belligerent, and bombastic.”  
      American (responding with bombast): “Perhaps, but we defend Canada.”  
      Canadian (surly):  “We don’t need your help!”
      American (engaging and boastful):  “Yes, but then China would be here in four minutes.”

      ---Until April 16, 2016, Museum of London Exhibition: Crime Museum Uncovered:  Inside Scotland Yard’s Special Collection with 600 items that include weapons, forgery implements, burglary tools, grisly memorabilia (human remains, books and lectures. museumoflondon.org.uk. The items on display were long secreted in Scotland Yard’s “Black Museum closet.  Roger Johnson, Editor, “The Sherlock Holmes Journal,” www.sherlock-holmes.org.uk, and celebrity London Sherlockian (featured in the Smithsonian), adds that the Exhibition also has a visitors' book in which you can see the signatures of Arthur Conan Doyle, Jerome K. Jerome, Allan Pinkerton, W. S. Gilbert and H. B. Irving. Reporter Tom Bullen’s signature is there too. Who?  He was once suspected as being Jack the Ripper. Another “who dat?” display is that of Charles Peace. In his youth, he was known as “the modern Paganini.”  Conan Doyle’s choice of Paganini in the Illustrious Client may have been prompted by the notorious Peace. He had the complex mind of all great criminals. Peace transitioned from music to cat burglary; his hinged ladder is at the Exhibition. A cat burglar career is transformed to that of sophisticated prosperity in the Cary Grant movie, “It Takes a Thief” on the Cote d’Azur. Peace, was not so fortunate.  Called an “arch criminal” by Lord Birkenhead, he was hanged in 1879.

      ----The weekend of May 27th to 29th – Sherlock Holmes Jubilee Celebration at Meiringen 
      On May 4th, 1891, the alleged last battle between Sherlock Holmes and his arch enemy Professor Moriarty took place at the Reichenbach Waterfall, during which both of them may or may not have fallen to their deaths in the thundering waters. On the weekend of May 27 to 29 – 125 years thereafter-- a jubilee celebration will take place in Meiringen to commemorate Sherlock Holmes. Apart from the anniversary of his purported death,   the celebration will also involve the 25th jubilee of the Sherlock Holmes Museum in Meiringen. contact: Christine Winkelmann, Christine.Winkelmann@... or christine.winkelmann@...

      ----June 17 - June 19, 2016  
      The Norwegian Explorers 2016 Triennial Conference “The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes.”
      The Commons Hotel, Minneapolis, MN. 
      The conference will welcome a stellar group of Sherlockian presenters:  Marino Alvarez, Soren Eversoll, David Haugen, Bill Mason, Steve Mason, Charles Prepolec, Michael Quigley, Betsy Rosenblatt, Monica Schmidt, Vince Wright, and Donald Zaldin. There will be vendor tables, an exhibit of rare and unique materials from the Collections, a dramatic performance by “the Red-Throated League of the Norwegian Explorers,” and the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections at the University of Minnesota -- the world’s largest collection of Sherlock Holmes-related material. 
      Here you can view Dr. Philip Hench’s journals. In the 1950s, Dr. Hench traveled to the then-uncharted path and ledge at Meiringen and Reichenbach. The fateful edge had not yet been identified. Nor, for that matter, was there recognition by the village of Meiringen of this timeless spot. Had Moriarty’s henchmen reduced the spot to peat and firewood? Dr. Hench's journals, maps, measurements, topography, and sketches zoomed towards the path of the Reichenbach, from top to bottom. Because of his efforts, in 1957 the Norwegian Explorers of Minneapolis and the Sherlock Holmes Society of London commemorated the spot with a plaque at Meiringen---now beneficiary of and host to hordes of Sherlockian tourists, walkers, hikers, and skiiers.
      ----Through July 31, 2016
      “Crime Stories: Photography and Foul Play.” Alphonse Bertillon, The Man Behind The Modern Mug Shot, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.  www.metmuseum.org/press/exhibitions/2016/crime-stories

      ---March 8, Scotland Yarders presented a recurring seminar with legendary antiquarian and Sherlockian scholar Tom Joyce. 
      Case of Identity (1891) and Dying Detective (1913) were discussed.
      How eccentric was it for Holmes to wear “a brilliantine” ring as he did in Case of Identity and his possession of the gold and amethyst box. A simulation of Oscar Wilde?
      Among the scintillating errata were varied illustrations of Sherlock Holmes in convalescing recline for his supposed ailment in Dying Detective.  Both Paget brothers, Sidney and Walter, were artists and illustrators. Sidney was not the Paget which the Strand originally had in mind. One day, the editor sent a letter, intended for Walter, to “Mr. Paget” at so and so street, not recalling the first name. Sidney received the letter and promptly accepted. He went on to illustrate 37 Sherlock Holmes stories and one novel. In 1908, he died, age 46. from a metastatic lung tumor. Then Walt took over. He incorporated quirky Conan Doyle representations, as in the arresting officer, Inspector Morton.  In a painting that appeared over Holmes’ bed--it may have been Conan Doyle in his pajamas. Was this a psychic phenomenon or coincidence? Perhaps we could arrange a seance for a determination? Such artistic license is not unusual; Toulouse Lautrec, Alfred Hitchcock, Colin Dexter, and John Le Carre are among the many creators fused into their famous creations.
      In Dying Detective, published in 1913 with Walter Paget’s illustration, there appears a wooden box containing a viper's tooth--Culverton Smith’s poison trap-- for which Richard Lancelyn Green unearthed the inspiration: its origins were from Ceylon (Culverton Smith, a Moriarty-type villain, was from Sumatra) and made by Boer War p.o.w.s held in Ceylon. The information was gleaned from prisoner correspondence. Presumably, Conan Doyle saw these missives.
      In 1911, Monsignor Ronald Knox wrote Studies in the Literature
      of Sherlock Holmes
      reflecting on Doyle’s expository style. He said it involved a routine introduction-- Holmes discussing with Watson his prior case and how it was solved. Dying Detective was published in 1913 without that particular routine. Was Doyle making sure not to follow his script because of Knox’s wry critique?

      recommended reading:   
      Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes, by Monsignor Ronald Knox.
      Richard Lancelyn-Green:  The Uncollected Sherlock Holmes (1983) anthologized Doyle's non-canon Sherlock Holmes writings. The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1985), a collection of pastiches and parodies. Letters to Sherlock Holmes (1985).  
      Dec. 13, 2004 New Yorker on the “Mysterious Circumstances of the Death of Richard Lancelyn Green, Foremost Sh

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