all_unnecessary: (S - Logical Perverts)
Pointed out to me in email, this terrific review (sadly behind a paywall) in TLS ("Too spirited for the spooks," Jon Barnes, 7 January 2005) of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, edited by the frankly "affirmational" fan Leslie S. Klinger, who plays "the parlour game of Sherlockian scholarship":

Initiated in 1911 by a Catholic priest who intended it as a spoof of scriptural exegesis, the game assumes that Sherlock Holmes actually existed, that the stories really were written by John Watson MD, and that Doyle acted only as the doctor’s agent. The supposed fun lies in ensuring that the canon’s numerous mistakes, implausibilities and inconsistencies are coherently explained away, no matter how tortured the logic required. Klinger fills page after page with the kind of wilfully pedantic literary mischief-making which John Sutherland has turned into an art form. How many wives had Doctor Watson? Did Holmes love the only woman ever to have outwitted him? What colour was the Baker Street dressing gown? And what really happened at the Reichenbach Falls? The whimsy of this conceit swiftly becomes grating and, in relegating the author to the role of mere go-between and front man, also seems faintly insulting to Doyle himself.

From what I can gather, his fans' affirmational "mischief-making" (a parlor game I would totally play if I had all the frigging world and time) stands in interestingly educational contrast to the transformational game many scholars of fandom-queering are doing. Just found this fascinating wiki, which annotates slashily: apparently, this moment in A Scandal in Bohemia is "the only instance in canon of Holmes and Watson walking with linked arms," a detail I find quite touching:

Slipping through the shouting crowd I made my way to the corner of the street, and in ten minutes was rejoiced to find my friend's arm in mine, and to get away from the scene of uproar.

Was rejoiced to find. It has a helpless, knowing fondness for the impossibility of some kind of sexual relationship, of it forever remaining a "bromance," that I find faintly Barthesian.

Discovered via this equally fascinating post in [community profile] queering_holmes, which recounts members' experiences of Holmes slash over time and what impact the 09 movie has had. I want so much to read the slash/crackfic mentioned in this comment:

Pre-movie Holmes (online, fanfic-as-fanfic producing) fandom struck me, based on a tiny and probably unrepresentative sample, as being full of queerness. FTM Holmes. Gay subculture-involved Watson. Crossdressing bisexual actresses. Explorations of 19thC sexual identities clearly written by bored students in the same English-for-perverts classes I was taking. A lot of this stuff also struck me as being either more book based or based on a mishmash of many different versions--the expected level of both historical knowledge and Holmes geekery was really quite high. There were footnotes!

Footnotes! All of which to say that Queer Sherlockistan is as interested in uncovering/reworking/noodling over the history and politics of sexuality over time and in many different context as it is the thrill of writing Holmes as a lesbian. Poor Doyle. He would so not approve.
cut for picspam )
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