So when do you become a Sherlockian? This is essentially the question posed by the Baker Street Babes in what they themselves describe as a rant. They quite rightly condemn the closed minds of some who fear the younger generation of fans (either on the grounds of age or gender) and see them as not being proper Sherlockians.
To the generation who feel this way I say only this – you were the younger generation once. If you were treated harshly on your way up by the (then) older generation it is no reason to do it as well. It’s like the bullied becoming the bully. If you were treated well then you should extend this same courtesy to those following you. It’s as simple as that.
I personally sit in the middle ground. I am too old to be part of modern 20-something fandom yet I am too young (in my late 30s) to be part of the old guard. Perhaps this helps with my perspective (and maybe it doesn’t depending on how much twaddle you think I’m spouting).
I see a parallel between Sherlockiana and medicine. In medicine all would-be doctors need to know a certain amount of common stuff. Then they branch off into different areas – cardiology, neurology etc. but, importantly, they are all doctors.
In Sherlockiana I think it is important that all know the basics (the key characters, where Holmes lived, a basic understanding of the canon – achievable in about 30 minutes or less) and then after that you go your own way. Some people may even consider those criteria too strict but would you take someone seriously as a Sherlockian if they couldn’t tell you where Holmes lived or the names of the key characters? I think a basic grounding is not an unreasonable expectation and I fully believe that the majority of young “fandom” have that.
After this, regardless of your area of focus, you are all Sherlockians.
|Well done you've passed!|
However, to some out there, this is not enough. They have the attitude that being a Sherlockian (or Holmesian) is akin to a formal qualification (perhaps making my earlier medical analogy an unfortunate choice). It is a qualification they believe that many members of the young “fandom” have not achieved. Hence they do not take them seriously.
But they are clearly wrong. A qualification does not exist, there is not a body that has laid down agreed criteria for being a Sherlockian. Until one exists (and I hope it never does) no one can say really that you either are or are not a Sherlockian.
The decision is yours.
For more information on Arthur Conan Doyle and his time at Undershaw please refer to my book, An Entirely New Country which is available through all good bookstores including Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Classic Specialities, and in all electronic formats including iTunes, Kobo, Nook and Kindle .
The Norwood Author is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Waterstones UK, Amazon UK, Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon Kindle, iBooks for the iPad/iPhone, Kobo Books, Nook.
Close to Holmes is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks for the iPad/iPhone.