Sherlock Holmes für Anfänger

Sherlock Holmes ist vielleicht die am meisten bekannte literarische Figur. Das ist auch im deutschsprachigen Raum so und selbst Menschen, die noch nie eine der Geschichten von Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gelesen haben, wissen etwas mit dem Namen des genialen Detektivs anzufangen. Logisch also, dass es scheinbar ganze Bibliotheken voller Literatur über Sherlock Holmes gibt, wenn auch nicht immer auf Deutsch.

Dass Maria Fleischhack mit „Die Welt des Sherlock Holmes“ eine Ausnahme macht, ist daher löblich  – wenn man auch sagen muss, dass dieses Buch nur etwas für Anfänger ist. Die werden zwar einen guten Überblick über alle Geschichten des sogenannten Canons, die Figuren und ihre Adaptionen bekommen. Das ist aber leider auch schon alles. Denn das Buch wirkt als sei es schnell heruntergeschrieben, zu oft wiederholen sich Inhalte in aufeinanderfolgenden Passagen und einmal scheint es, als habe sich das Schreibprogramm geweigert, Wörter ordentlich durch Leerzeichen zu trennen.

Mögen das noch Flüchtigkeitsfehler sein, so sind aber diese Hinweise schlichtweg mangelnder Recherche geschuldet: Christopher Lee spielt nicht in der 16-teiligen BBC-Serie „Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes“ aus den 1960er Jahren. Sherlock Holmes wird darin von Douglas Wilmer und von Peter Cushing verkörpert.

„Sherlock“ ist die erfolgreichste Serie der BBC, wie der Sender in seinem Jahresbericht selbst schreibt „and licensed to 224 territories“. Selbst wenn man „territories“ nicht mit „Ländern“ übersetzen mag, so führt die Seite Sherlockoloy.com in einer Übersicht deutlich mehr Länder auf, als die genannten 16, in denen laut Fleischhack „Sherlock“ ausgestrahlt wird. Oder sind da nur die Länder gemeint, in denen „Sherlock“ synchronisiert wird?

Die Behauptung, die vierte Sherlock-Staffel werde 2015 gedreht, mag dem Veröffentlichungsdatum des Buchs im März 2015 geschuldet sein, schließlich wurde in diesem Jahr „nur“ ein Sherlock-Special gedreht und vermutlich zu Weihnachten auf BBC One ausgestrahlt; eine Bestätigung steht aus. Die vierte Staffel jedenfalls wird im Frühjahr 2016 gedreht, wie Steven Moffat bestätigte. Dass die dann zumindest in Großbritannien im gleichen Jahr ausgestrahlt werden wird, ist bisher reine Spekulation.

Fazit: „Die Welt des Sherlock Holmes“ bietet eine erste Übersicht für Sherlock-Holmes-Neulinge. Wer tiefer einsteigen will, sollte es mit dem Buch zur Sherlock-Holmes-Ausstellung im Museum of London „Sherlock Holmes – The Man who never lived and will never die“ versuchen.

Foto: Petra Breunig

Foto: Petra Breunig

 

Maria Fleischhack: Die Welt des Sherlock Holmes, Lambert Schneider, 24,95 Euro.

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„The Sherlockian“ for – Sherlockians

It’s all about diaries. At least the missing one (or a collection of papers) of Arthur Conan Doyle’s that inspired many Sherlockians for years. And it obviously inspired Graham Moore, the script author of the film „The Imitation Game“  to write the lovely novel „The Sherlockian“. As you may guess from the title: it really is a story that only true Sherlock Holmes-fans will appreciate.

Harold White is a brand new member of the Baker Street Irregulars in New York and bursting with pride and excitement when he joins other members for a meeting. While he suddenly finds himself dealing with the murder of the leading Holmes scholar, he is sure to find the answers to that case in London.

In the London of the 1890/1900s, Arthur Conan Doyle has to deal with fans who wouldn’t accept that the author has killed Sherlock Holmes by throwing him into the Reichenbach Falls.

Arthur Conan Doyle curled his brow tightly and thought only of murder. „I’m going to kill him,“ her muttered.

The story switches with every new chapter between modern times and the past and while you sometimes are about to either throw away the book or go straight to the next chapter because you just want to know what Doyle or Harold will do next. But of course you just go on reading simply because this book has hooked you from the beginning. At least if you are a Sherlockian.

Sherlockian

Cover of „The Sherlockian“ Foto: pb

Graham Moore: The Sherlockian, Hachette, 6,10€/ £8,40

Sherlock Holmes and London

Given the fact that Sherlock Holmes is one of best known fictional character not only in Britain where he is part of the national heritage but worldwide, it is not astonishing that there are whole libraries filled with all sort of books about the only consulting detective. So you have to look very carefully on any new one, if you don’t want to be disappointed.

The book cover Foto: pb

The book cover Foto: pb

„The man who never lived and who will never die“ isn’t just another book about Sherlock Holmes. Although it is accompanying the exhibition in the Museum of London which is still open till April 12th, it totally stands on its own feet. Alex Werner who compiled the book, throws a very different light on Arthur Conan Doyle’s figure, setting him in his surroundings while explaing that he only can exist within London. The city as some critics say is besides Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson the third main figure in all stories. And so the book pays tribute to that by showing lots of historic pictures of London while explaining the historical background not only of the original Conan canon but of all adaptions throughout the years – no  matter if you are watching a film situated in Victorian or contemporary London.

The articles are well written and stuffed with all information a Sherlock Holmes fan needs to know. And he will also need this book which will be a treat long after the exhibition is gone.

Alex Werner, Sherlock Holmes – The man who never lived and will never die, Ebury Press, about 20£/ 20€.

Sherlock Holmes behind glass

He is one of the most adapted literary figures of all times and has a very special relationship with London. The fact that the exhibition „Sherlock Holmes – The man who has never lived and will never die“ (Museum of London, till 12th April 2015) is the first since 63 years to focus on the famous detective is astonishing. But maybe it’s just the right time. There are new films and BBC aired the third series of „Sherlock“ with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as the famous Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson this year. The fourth will be filmed 2015 including a Christmas special and will hopefully hit telly not too late in 2016.

IMG_20141115_161130

Photo: Petra Breunig

 The only consulting detective the world has ever seen

But we wouldn’t have neither of these films without Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. With the first stories published in 1887 he created a genius who baffled his readers with eccentricity, logic and a very keen observation: Sherlock Holmes, the only consulting detective the world has ever seen, was always ahead of his time. But Conan Doyle created much more. He placed his figure right into Victorian London, the city which played the third major role besides Holmes and Watson in most of the 56 short stories and two novels, as some critics say. A city full of fog and hansom cabs which in the exhibition comes to life with the help of early photographs and paintings. Among them is the Charing Cross bridge of Claude Monet and the  huge painting of George William Joy called „The Bayswater Omnibus“ which I found very impressive.

Sherlock Holmes‘ London is both a fiction and reality. The famous address 221B Baker Street is fictional whereas Baker Street does exist. And so does the tube or West London. London was a city in transformation. Houses were demolished, streets widened and so the London we know today slowly came to life. Films prove the fact that London about 1900 was a city buzzing with life and people.

 

„I selected paintings (…)  which resonate with Sherlock Holmes.“

Dr Pat Hardy, Art Curator at the Museum of London

“It took me about two years and a lot of negotiation to secure the pieces which appear in the exhibition“, says Dr Pat Hardy, Art Curator at the Museum of London. „I selected paintings which made the visual points we are trying to get across and which resonate with Sherlock Holmes, for example those relating fog, mystery, busy streets, hansom cabs, trains, suburbs, grand architecture and the sheer size of London”.

 

IMG_20141115_164231

Photo: Petra Breunig

 

And of course there are other pieces helping to bring Sherlock Holmes to life. Of course there is the pipe and  magnifier, bunsen burner, pliers and test tubes, but there are typewriters and a fingerprint kit, coats (yes, Benedict Cumberbatch’s belstaff is there, too), hats and deerstalkers. Scenes taken of diverse Sherlock Holmes films and re arranged make it quite clear that Sherlock Holmes was always a man of his time and always was re invented anew. And he proves the fact that Arthur Conan Doyle was a fantastic author even though he hates his famous figure and always thought of the stories of the famous detective as something not worth his time.

More about the exhibition.

The German version of this article was first published in Fränkischer Tag and online at infranken.de.

Eine liebevolle Hommage an Sherlock Holmes

Der Sherlock Holmes, den Sir Arthur Conan Doyle erfunden hat, ist ein Mann im besten Alter und im vollen Besitz seiner geistigen Fähigkeiten. Was der wohl berühmteste Detektiv der Literaturgeschichte gemacht hat, bevor er in die Adresse 221 B Baker Street eingezogen ist, das entzieht sich dem Wissen der Leser – auch wenn es Andeutungen und einige Bücher darüber geben mag, so lässt Doyle Sherlock-Holmes-Fans im Unklaren. Das Gleiche gilt für das Leben im Ruhestand, von dem wir eigentlich nur wissen, dass Holmes sich zurückgezogen hat und Bienen züchtet.

Im Mitch Cullins „A Slight Trick of the Mind“ (auf Deutsch etwa: „Eine leichte Sinnestäuschung“) begegnet der Leser einem 93-jährigen Sherlock Holmes, der ein ruhiges, zurückgezogenes Leben auf einem Bauernhof in Sussex führt und an dem nur seine Haushälterin und deren Sohn teilhaben. Um es gleich zu schreiben: was für jeden Fan und natürlich auch für den Sherlock Holmes des Originals und seinen Erfinder eine Beleidigung hätte werden können, ist eine wunderbare Liebeserklärung an den großen Detektiv. Cullin schreibt einen Roman voller Respekt, voller Liebe zum Detail, der zu Herzen geht, gelegentlich zu Tränen rührt und eines der besten Stück Unterhaltungsliteratur ist, die es momentan gibt (leider nicht auf Deutsch). Sein Sherlock Holmes weiß um seinen gebrechlichen Körper, den er nur noch mit Hilfe von Krücken bewegen kann, er weiß, dass er sich nicht mehr auf sein einst so brillantes Gehirn verlassen kann und dass ihn sein Gedächtnis trügt.

„Wissen Sie, für mich war er nie Watson.
Er war einfach nur John für mich.“

Zwar geht es auch in dieser Geschichte um einen lang zurückliegenden Fall –   um eine Frau, die Holmes immer noch beeindruckt (wenn es auch nicht DIE Frau ist), um eine Reise nach Japan, wo er einen Brieffreund trifft. Doch es geht um viel mehr als um einen Fall und um einen Klienten. Denn es ist die Geschichte eines alten Mannes, der auf sein Leben zurückblickt und versucht, mit sich und den Menschen seiner Umgebung ins Reine zu kommen. Natürlich ist John einer dieser Menschen. „You know, I never did call him Watson – he was John, simply John.“ („Wissen Sie, für mich war er nie Watson. Er war immer einfach nur John für mich.“), erklärt Holmes seinem japanischen Freund. John war für ihn nie der Trottel, für den ihn Dramatiker und Romanschreiber ausgegeben haben –  eine Tatsache, die Holmes als eine persönliche Beleidigung auffasst, weil er den Mann immer noch zutiefst respektiert, „the man who with his customary humour, patience, and loyalty, indulged the eccentries of a frequently disagreeable friend.“ („der mit seinem Humor, seiner Geduld und seiner Loyalität den exzentrischen und unausstehlichen Freund ertragen hat.“). Fans der BBC-Fernsehserie „Sherlock“ wird das an die Rede des Trauzeugen in der Folge „Das Zeichen der drei“ erinnern, mit der Benedict Cumberbatchs Sherlock seine Zuneigung zu Martin Freemans John Watson auf eine ähnliche, nicht minder rührende Art und Weise ausdrückt.
Mitch Cullins Werk hat mindestens genauso viel Liebe zum und Respekt vor dem Original wie die Macher der BBC –  Fans werden das zu schätzen wissen.

A Slight Trick of the Mind“ wird derzeit mit Ian McKellen als Sherlock Holmes verfilmt und wird voraussichtlich 2015 in die Kinos kommen –  wie unter anderen die britische Zeitung The Guardian auf ihrer Internetseite schreibt. Der britische Schauspieler bestätigte auf Twitter, dass er in die Haut des berühmten Detektivs schlüpfen wird: „Over 70 actors have previously played Sherlock Holmes. Now he’s 93 years olf and it’s my turn.” (“Mehr als 70 Schauspieler haben bis jetzt Sherlock Holmes verkörpert. Jetzt ist er 93 und jetzt bin ich dran.“). McKellens vielleicht bekannteste Rolle ist die den Zauberers Gandalf in der Verfilmung von „Der Herr der Ringe“ und „Der Hobbbit“, dessen dritter Teil im Dezember 2014 in die Kinos kommen wird.

Mitch Cullin, „A Slight Trick of the Mind“, Anchor Books, 2005, ca. 10.90 Euro

 

Eine leicht geänderte und ergänzte Fassung dieses Blogeintrags ist in den Baker Street Chronicles der Deutschen Sherlock-Holmes-Gesellschaft, Herbst 2014, erschienen.

You can find the English version here.

A tribute to Sherlock Holmes – full of love

When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes, he showed his readers – who soon loved his figure – a man in his middles ages, with his abilities in full bloom. What the famous detective did before he moved into 221B Baker Street is hovering in the mists of fiction and so is his life after his retirement, despite the fact that he cares deeply for his behives.

In Mitch Cullin’s „A Slight Trick of the Mind“ we find Sherlock Holmes, now 93, in a Sussex farmhouse, living a quiet and solitary life, with only his housekeeper and her son as a company. And to write it just here:  What could be a infringement of the original canon as a whole and to the famous detective in particular, is a tribute to Sherlock Holmes –  full of respect and full of love –  that is moving and heartbreaking and one of the best novels around. Cullin unfolds a fine portrait of a man who is perfectly aware of his age, his fragile body – he’s only able to walk with the help of canes – and of his once so brilliant brain that is no longer able to remember every detail.

„There are many (…) scenes in my head, and all are easily accessible.
Why they remain and others flit away, I cannot say.“

Sherlock Holmes

And so the story is about a case about a woman who still impresses him deeply (not the woman though), about a journey to Japan where he meets a pen pal. But the story is much more than just another case and another client. It’s the attempt of an old man looking back on his long life and setting himself at rest with himself and the people surrounding him. Of course John: „You know“, Holmes tells his Japanese friend, „I never did call him Watson – he was John, simply John.“ John who never was the fool „both dramatist and so-called  mystery novelists“ show him and which Holmes takes as an insult to himself because he still respects him deeply, the man „who with his customary humour, patience, and loyalty, indulged the eccentricities of a frequently disagreeable friend.“ Sherlock fans will remember the best man’s speech in „The Sign of Three“ of BBC’s series 3 where Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock confesses his love for his Martin Freeman’s John in a similar way.

As much as the creators of BBC’s Sherlock love and care for the original canon, so does Mitch Cullin – and so will the readers.

„A Slight Trick of the Mind“ will hit  cinemas in 2015 with Ian McKellen as the iconic detective.

Mitch Cullin,  „A Slight Trick of the Mind“, Anchor Books, 2005, 10.90 Euro/15 Dollars/ 8 £

Bücher meines Jahres

Jedes Jahr schreibe ich meine persönliche Lesestatistik auf. Ganz altmodisch mit Füller auf Papier. Am Ende des Jahres wundere ich mich, dass ich viel oder wenig gelesen habe (im Vergleich zum Jahr zuvor), was ich gelesen habe und wie.

Demnach schaut 2013 so aus:
Gesamt: 34 Bücher
E-Books: 10
Normale Bücher: 24
Englisch: 16

Und das habe ich gelesen – selbstverständlich ohne Anspruch auf den ultimativen, weil hochgeistig durchdachten und literaturwissenschaftlich tiefgründig aufbereiteten Lesebefehl.

JRR Tolkien: Der kleine Hobbit:

In einer alten, schulerprobten, aber gut erhaltenen dtv-Ausgabe, natürlich als Vorbereitung auf den Film. Als Nachbereitung liegt die englische Version in einer Jubiläumsausgabe schon bereit.

Steven Levy: In the Plex

Ein interessantes Buch über Google, wie die Firma denkt, arbeitet und unser Leben verändert, wie es im deutschen Untertitel heißt.

Jussi Adler-Olsen: Das Washington-Dekret

Ich bekenne, ich habe den Thriller nicht bis zum Ende gelesen, was aber nicht heißt, dass ihn andere nicht spannend finden werden.

Lukas Hartmann: Räuberleben, Der Konvoi:

Beide Bücher sind nicht unbedingt die, die ich zum Kennenlernen von Hartmann empfehlen würde. Wer den Schweizer Schriftsteller mag, muss sie aber lesen.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:

Natürlich Sherlock: A Study in Scarlett, The Sign of the Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Valley of Fear, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Empfehlenswert sind aber unbedingt auch: A Life in Letters und Sherlock Holmes Handbook von Christopher Redmond.
Dazu passen:
Anthony Horowitz: Das Geheimnis des weißen Bandes. Ein neuer Sherlock-Holmes-Roman, der tatsächlich wirkt, als sei der große Detektiv niemals weg gewesen.
Lynnette Porter: Sherlock Holmes for the 21st century. Die Essays beschäftigen sich mit unterschiedlichen modernen Adaptionen der Figur, mal mehr, mal weniger wissenschaftlich.

Ford Madox Ford: Parade’s End

Die vier Bände um den englischen Gentleman Christopher Tietjens sind beste Unterhaltung in der Zeit vor, während und nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg. Leider sind deutsche Ausgaben nur noch antiquarisch erhältlich.

Donna Leon: Tierische Profile

Der alljährliche Venedig-Krimi mit dem liebenswerten Commissario Guido Brunetti ist für mich ein Muss.

Robert Musil: Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törleß

Das Erstlingswerk des österreichischen Autors über pubertierende Jugendliche in einem katholischen Internat ist überraschend modern.

John William: Stoner

Wenn sich der Klappentext vor Lobpreisungen überschlägt, werde ich skeptisch. Bei diesem Roman allerdings sind sie berechtigt: Stoner ist ein zu unrecht vergessenes großes amerikanisches Werk.

Lynnette Porter: Benedict Cumberbatch in Transition

Für Fans ein Muss – für alle anderen eine Verschwendung

Martin Sutter: Almen und die Dahlien

Wer sich in der Welt der Schönen und Reichen nicht langweilt, wird sich beim dritten Fall des Detektivs Johann Friedrich von Allmen prächtig amüsieren.

George Orwell: 1984

Meine alte Ausgabe habe ich aus aktuellem Anlass wieder aus der Regal geholt. Lesenswert wie immer.

Matt Dickinson: Die Macht des Schmetterlings:

Dieser Roman über die Chaostheorie ist eigentlich ein Jugendroman. Eigentlich. Denn er ist auch für Erwachsene spannend und beste Unterhaltung!

Daniel Domscheit-Berg: Inside Wikileaks

Nein, es ist keine Dokumentation. Und nein, das Buch ist kein literarisches Meisterwerk, sondern die Erinnerungen des Autors an seine Zeit bei Wikileaks. Lesenwert ist es allemal.

Andrew Hodges: Alan Turing – The Enigma

Eine der besten Biografien, die ich seit langem gelesen habe und ein wunderbar lesenswertes Werk über den großen britischen Wissenschaftler Alan Turing, der entscheidend mithalf, den Code der Deutschen im Zweiten Weltkrieg zu entschlüsseln. Leider nicht auf Deutsch erhältlich.
[Update 29. März 2014: Es gibt eine deutsche Taschenbuchausgabe im Springer-Verlag, Wien. Sie ist laut verlegerischer Notiz eine vollständige Übersetzung der englischen Ausgabe von 1983. Meine englische Taschenbuchausgabe ist eine Neuauflage von 2012, die im Gegensatz zur deutchen Ausgabe ein paar Fotos enthält.].
Dazu passt:
Alan  M. Turing – die Erinnerungen seiner Mutter Sara Turing.

Henning Mankell: Mord im Herbst

Ein neuer Fall für den schwedischen Kommissar Wallander, leider aber keine Fortsetzung.

Solomon Northup: 12 Years A Slave

Die erschütternde Lebensgeschichte eines freien Mannes, der in die Sklaverei verkauft wurde. Leider nicht auf Deutsch erhältlich.

Ian Mc Ewan – meine persönliche Entdeckung des Jahres:

Amsterdam,
Abbitte,
Honig,
Cement Garden

A love at second sight

From BBC’s Sherlock to the original canon

 

Source: Sherlockology.com




It was not love at first sight. Not at all. In fact it was a most disturbing experience. Don’t know why I tuned in when BBC’s “Sherlock” first aired on German television. Maybe it was one of the boring evenings you give something different a try. Before you go to bed with a good book. Or no book at all. But this try was an absolute failure.

 
First episode of the first season “A Study in Pink” starts with another nightmare of Dr. John Watson. He (as in the original books) came invalided home from Afghanistan trying to find his way back to civil, normal life. But of all these facts I simply had not the faintest idea. I expected to get a typical Sherlock Holmes scene in a typically old fashioned British flat, with the typical hat and a pipe of course. This had always been this way. At least for me who hadn’t read anything of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and just had a very, very vague knowledge of the famous detective mostly gathered and stored in the deepest corners of my memory through old TV films. And now this: soldiers, war, shooting, screaming, noise, a man haunted by all of his memories, breathing deeply in terror, unable to sleep – I turned telly off.
But somehow I stumbled across “Sherlock” again – blaming a colleague with whom I chatted about the must read-books and crime stories in general. “You have to watch ‘Sherlock’”, she insisted. “It’s brilliant, it’s funny – you’ll simple love it and it’s just on a replay on TV.” So in the summer of 2012 I gave it another try and spend warm summer evenings nailed in front of my TV, anxious not to miss a single word and with my recorder ready for later replays.

A decision that haunted me ever since

When I finally got the original DVDs from the BBC I didn’t know that I made a decision that haunted me ever since. I first entered the illustrious company of Sherlockians (and the Cumbercollective which devoted me to Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch) and second sent me on an adventure to discover the original works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Stories that inspired Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, creators of “Sherlock”, to bring the famous detective to the 21st century.
 
“It’s love. We love Sherlock Holmes so much. It’s an exercise in love,” said Steven Moffat about their work (in Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival 2012) trying to convince Holmes and Doyle fans that they never intended to handle their heroes with disrespect. 
Understanding that Moffat and Gatiss – who are long termed friends and colleagues working together on different episodes of BBC’s “Doctor Who” – are trying to get to the fundamental idea that lies underneath these stories and gets new fans closer to the original core. Says Moffat: “Conan Doyle’s stories were never about frock coats and gas light; they’re about brilliant detection, dreadful villains and blood-curdling crimes – and frankly, to hell with the crinoline. Other detectives have cases, Sherlock Holmes has adventures, and that’s what matters.” („Sherlock unlocked,” BBC, 2.Series, DVD).
 

„Just do it now“

They believe that with every new movie version, there came a sort of “Victorian pastiche” lying over the characters. “We came to the conclusion that the best way to do it, was to strip all that away and just do it now. The characters live and breathe in the modern days”, explains Gatiss on how they brought Sherlock Holmes back to life.

 
A life that was as fascinating and thrilling as it has been to the contemporary readers of the original canon who wondered how Holmes could solve crimes simply by observing and using his incredible leaps of logic. And Sherlock Holmes today is still the only man in the world who has this abilities. “Doyle and Sherlock Holmes created an awful lot of things we take for granted in terms of police forensics. So we couldn’t pretend that this all haven’t happen. What we’ve done is to make sure that the police take care of all that. And what they can’t do is make them magical with that incredible leaps of logic that only Sherlock Holmes can do. He’s still the only man in the world who has this brain”, says Mark Gatiss (“Unlocking Sherlock”, BBC, 1.Series, DVD). Having all this in mind and knowing that they have been brooding about a modern day Sherlock Holmes for years, a traditional fan may find his peace with the series which third series is already filmed and in post-production. Yet no air dates are officially announced due to the BBC which will schedule the series after all finished episodes are delivered to them as Sherlockology is explaining.


“This is not Sherlock Holmes updated.
Honestly I think this is Sherlock Holmes restored.
This is the way it was to the contemporary
audience in the first place. And we brought it back to that.
Steve Moffat (Unlocking Sherlock, BBC, 1. Series DVD)
 
Fans who simply fall in love with “Sherlock” because they get hooked by a brilliant Sherlock in the name of actor Benedict Cumberbatch (getting famous outside Britain through the movie “Star Trek into Darkness”) who matches perfectly with Martin Freeman’s John Watson (who as „The Hobbit“ has the movie of his life) find not even a new favourite TV series and a fandom prepared to discuss and share every second of every episode, including speculations about how and when the show will be continued and if the careers of the main characters will let them find spare time to film new episodes in the future at all. But these fans will also find a sort of second world lying behind the BBC series, shining through, luring to get more addicts. 

Without the original „Sherlock“ wouldn’t work

„Sherlock“ is not just fangirling around (there are rumours that there are men who love it, too). Unlike most other series each episode is 90 minutes long which gives it the impression of a movie and like a movie each one is a story within itself. But one will not fully understand the special relationship between Sherlock and John if one has not met them at the beginning. And one will simply not manage to focus only on this series because sooner or later one wonders how this scene or this dialogue or this strange Sherlock behaviour took place in  the underlying world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works. And without this world the modern settings and dialogues simply wouldn’t work.

As in the original canon John and Sherlock  are looking for a flatmate to share rooms in the famous address 221B Baker Street.But in „Sherlock“ we meet two handsome young men in their late 30s or early 40s. „We’ve never seen them so young“, says Steven Moffat and we’ve never meet them in our contemporary time – giving room to all sort of speculations. „There’s another bedroom upstairs in case you’ll needing two bedrooms“, explains Mrs Hudson when Sherlock and John take a first look at their later flat (Sherlock, A Study in Pink). „Of course we’ll be needing two bedrooms!“, John replies and starts a running gag that will be popping up every now and then throughout the series. But the question of whether they are gay or not (John never misses an opportunity stating that he isn’t whereas Sherlock mostly just doesn’t care about this ordinary question and probably believes this is boring) is not the only thing that is in need of an explanation when transforming Sherlock Holmes in the 21st century.

Although the flat and its interior is slightly old fashioned and mostly could have been this way since the last century, Sherlock is a very modern man. He searches the internet, he texts, he writes emails, he has a website, he watches telly (and corrects it). But he also plays the violin and composes when he’s thinking, sometimes doesn’t talk for days on end („I get in the dumps at times, and don’t open my mouth for days to end“, says the original Sherlock Holmes, „A Study in Scarlet“) and is slightly autistic not only when trying to solve a crime – attitudes picked up from the original character and translated in a modern language.
 
„I get in the dumps at times,
and don’t open my mouth for days to end. (…)
It’s just as well for two fellows
to know the worst of one another
before they begin to live together. „

(Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet)

 
This language is speckled with quotes invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – the genius writer as Mark Gatiss often points out in various interviews – which are carefully handled like archaeological artefacts, cleaned from dust and given a new place to adore them. So as John for example rumbles over Sherlock’s ignorance about the solar system („It’s primary school stuff! How can you not know that?“ Sherlock, The Great Game) Sherlock impatiently shouts that if he ever had known it, he deleted it. Because his brain is „my hard-drive, and it only makes sense to put things in there that are useful. Really useful. Ordinary people fill their heads with all kinds of rubbish, and that makes it hard to get at the stuff that matters!“ (Sherlock, The Great Game) intending that only a sorted memory will be able to give him the information he needs when he needs it. Of course there are no hard drives in Sherlock Holmes’ Victorian London and probably the word has even not been invented. But the original character considers „that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across. (…) Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic.“ (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet) – and he also doesn’t care if the earth goes around the sun.

Reading the originals, watching „Sherlock“, discovering the parallels and the references in the episodes which pay respect to Doyle’s work is part of the Sherlockian fandom which could and will never exist without the original and will bring more readers to the fantastic works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
 
 
Notes:
Written for the English Edition of The Baker Street Chronicles published by Deutsche Sherlock Holmes Gesellschaft, Autum 2013
This version is slightly updated.
 

Transcriptions of the series and the interviews of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss by me. Sir Arthur Conan Doyles‘ “Sherlock Holmes” is quoted from “The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection„, Bedford Park Books/ Kindle-Edition and Sherlock Holmes, Collector’s Library, Complete & Unabridged, Pan Macmillan, 2005

If part of this article sound weird this is due to the fact that I’m no native speaker, so don’t be too harsh.

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