Sunday, 13 November 2011
A digression about Sherlock Holmes
Stuff and Nonsense by Amy Cockram is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
I'm in the limbo stage now where I have just finished a book and I am formulating my post about it - hopefully to follow later today or tomorrow - and, because I am chronically impatient, I have already begun reading my next book. The only problem is that my train of thought has been sideswiped by the opening of the book I have just started.
I'm now reading Gyles Brandreth's "Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders." It commences when Arthur Conan Doyle retreats to Bad Homburg to work through the correspondence with which he has been swamped: letters which have been addressed to Sherlock Holmes.
This has fascinated me on and off for a while now: the fact the Sherlock Holmes is a character which has so permeated our culture that people write to him as if he were a real person. The Sherlock Holmes Museum has on display some of these letters; the Abbey National which used to have an office in the building that now encompasses what would be 221 Baker Street employed someone to deal with his correspondence.
I can understand this impulse. Of course, I don't mean that I believe that Sherlock Holmes is real. But, of all fictional characters I can think of, he is probably the one that I most wish was real. I feel that the world would be a better place with a genius, violin-playing, slightly sexually ambiguous detective in it. I would feel safer knowing that Sherlock Holmes was real and was unerringly working on the side of good. And, if I'm honest, there is a side of me that is attracted to the intellectual and sexual challenge of seducing a man who is so often disdainful of women. I doubt that I am the only female reader of Sherlock Holmes who wonders what it would be like to be "the woman."
If anyone wants to leave a comment, I'd love to know which fictional character you most wish existed?