‘Sherlockian’

Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes

I won’t immediately assume that we are living in a time very different from our parents’- but we are! For the most part, indeed. For most of us, myself included, the generation above us won’t have grown up with TV, mobile smart-phones or the internet, accessories which I do take for granted.

We can see that the times are changing around us rapidly, both in scientific discovery and in social standards and actions. And that is something that we certainly cannot help.

Nevertheless, it occurred to me recently that there is one thing that doesn’t alter from generation to generation: humanity’s love of books. Especially that love of a good book.

Take Sherlock Holmes, for instance. I’ve grown up in amongst the love of murder mysteries- namely, David Suchet as Poirot- but only recently have I begun to fall for Conan Doyle’s style of writing. I have begun reading The Hound of the Baskervilles (since that is one of my favourite Sherlock stories, despite having never actually read it), and my mother recently bought a box set of episodes for us both to enjoy!

David Suchet as Poirot

And so it came to the point where I was looking for stageplays to read over the summer (I am dramatising one of my novellas for my own amusement and I need to reference stageplays for that task) and I happened to come across ‘The Game’s Afoot’, four Sherlock Holmes plays, dramatised by Michael and Mollie Hardwick.

As I sat down to begin to read, the introduction caught my eye; it’s always fascinating to see the ideas and inspiration behind works like these. Before I could stop myself, I was reading it. Therein was the case of the matter I have been saying about in the beginning of this post, the fact that Sherlock is still enjoyed by both the young and the old.

“The five years since Four Sherlock Holmes Plays appeared have coincided with a wave of Sherlockian activity, especially in Great Britain… The letters we have had from viewers and listeners following the televising or broadcasting of our scripts have confirmed afresh, both in enthusiasm and criticism, that Holmes and Watson are fully as popular with younger generations as with older, are thought as worthy as ever of serious study, and are regarded as being far from ‘old hat’ in the Space Age. It is especially gratifying that there are more young faces than ever to be seen at any gathering of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London.”

(Michael and Mollie Hardwick, 1969)

That just has to prove my point, doesn’t it? ‘Cause we still say ‘Sherlockian’ today- so much so that I thought it was one of my generation’s terms. Turns out we’ve been stealing it from the past!

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