23 December 2003

Getting behind on my blogging, I am. I started my quest to read all things alluded to in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with Sherlock Holmes. I've read some before, but never worked my way through the whole canon, and said quest seemed like a worthy excuse. The connection with League is that Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's big brother, is a character, though not a major one. Also the Sherlock Holmes/Professor Moriarty rivalry is mentioned. I'm reading a massive Bantam edition of the complete novels and stories. It's in two volumes and I only have volume one, but the 900+ pages should keep me busy for a while. I've already got through A Study in Scarlet which is kind of like two books in one--the usual Sherlock Holmes reconstructing crimes through clues thing, and an odd anti-Mormon western (the murderer's backstory). Got no problem with the anti-Mormonism (ever read the Book of Mormon? Very weird stuff) but the sudden switch between stories was a little jarring, even though it was the only way to tell the whole story without giving away the killer's motives (and identity) from the beginning. And, for some reason, I'm always surprised when literature of this age is so easy to read. I always expect it to be difficult. Dracula struck me the same way. And it's not like I've never read Doyle before.

And something occurred to me while I was thinking about Sir Arthur. I've read a lot of stuff about fairies (big surprise), and Doyle was a big supporter of the reality of the Cottingley fairies. What I thought was odd is that most commentators speculating on why Doyle believed in fairies mention his involvement with Spiritualism. I don't think I've ever seen anyone say that maybe Sir Arthur believed in fairies because his dad did. Both Charles Altamont Doyle (his father) and Richard "Dickie" Doyle (his uncle) were well-known fairy painters, and both were institutionalized (Charles Altamont, at least, was probably not insane, just a little odd. And he believed in fairies). Anyway, just a thing I thought of. Now I'll probably find that everything I read about Doyle and fairies mentions his father and his uncle and relates his belief to theirs. Oh well.

No comments: