Title: The Uncollected Sherlock Holmes.
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (introduction and compiled by Richard Lancelyn Green).
Publication Date: 1896, 1924, 1912, 1902, 1921, 1903, 1917, 1929, 1930, 1923, 1927, 1924. (1983 introduction and this volume).
Summary: This book compiles unpublished Sherlock Holmes stories and plays, as well as articles and speeches of Doyle's pertaining to the conception of or his experience writing and being the writer of Sherlock Holmes. Every part has its own small individual introduction, that provides the details and historical context for the offered material. It collects the Introduction, 4 short stories, 2 poems, 2 plays, 4 prefaces, 6 articles, 2 speeches, 1 review, and 1 story outline. The detailed Introduction, which makes up half the book, goes into detail about the conception of Sherlock Holmes and his climb to fame - the original inspiration by one of Doyle's professors - Dr Joseph Bell, other possible inspirations for Holmes and Watson, the influence on Doyle by Edgar Alan Poe and his Detective Dupin, some of the things and cases that inspired the novels and short stories, Doyle's relationship with The Strand Magazine, illustrating the books and adapting Sherlock Holmes to the stage, what Doyle and his contemporaries thought of the great detective and the influence he came to have on both British and American societies, and, finally, Doyle's ultimate struggle to get rid of Holmes, and the public's reaction to it. The book additionally collects all the previously uncollected material that Conan Doyle had done on Holmes outside the major novels and stories: The Field Bazaar (1896) is a short story Doyle wrote as a contribution to The Field Bazaar of Edinburgh University, in which Holmes impresses Watson by deducing the contents of Watson's letter from Edinburgh University, and Watson's intentions about it, without exchanging a single word with him. How Watson Learned the Trick (1924) is a short story submitted by Doyle for the Doll House library that was a part of a Doll House that was given to Queen Mary from Britain, in which Watson believes he has cracked Holmes's "method" but, after proudly testing it out on Holmes himself, realizes he is still very far from giving the famous detective a run for his money. To Sir Arthur Conan Doyles (1912) is a poem written to Doyle from Arthur Guiterman as a part of his 'Letters to the Literati' and published in Life, in which he praises Doyle, but gently calls him out on his "ingratitude" of stating, through Sherlock Holmes, that Poe's Detective Dupin was a "very inferior" detective. To an Undiscerning Critic (1912) is a poem that was Doyle's response to Guiterman, pointing out how silly it is to believe that a writer's character is necessarily the mouthpiece for a writer's beliefs and values. The Stonor Case (1902, premiered in 1910) is a play adaptation of The Speckled Band, where Holmes and Watson have to solve a death that appears to be a murder, but happens in an absolutely sealed and locked room, and prevent another one. The Crown Diamond (1921) is a play that is either an adaptation of, or originally lead to, The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone, in which Sherlock lures the thieves of an invaluable diamond to Baker street, and tricks them into revealing their nature with a help of a plaster dummy of himself. The Prefaces part collects the prefaces from several different Sherlock Holmes editions: Author's Edition of the Sherlock Holmes Stories (1903), His Last Bow: Some Reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes (1917), Sherlock Holmes The Complete Short Stories (1928), Sherlock Holmes The Complete Long Stories (1929), and Crowborough Edition (1930). Some Personalia About Mr Sherlock Holmes (1917) is an article written by Conan Doylen that rounds off his series of stories by describing the effect they had had on the reading public, and giving examples of Doyle's own attempts to emulate his famous character. Sherlock Holmes on the Screen (1921) includes Conan Doyle's Speech at the Stoll Convention Dinner, in which he speaks a little about the inspiration behind and creation of Holmes, and toasts Mr Eille Norwood, who personified Holmes perfectly on the screen; and Sherlock Holmes Replies (in the person of Eille Norwood), in which Norwood replies to the speech by praising Doyle, and expressing his humility at having to adapt such a great creation. Sidelights on Sherlock Holmes (1923) is an article written as a part of Doyle's autobiography, Memories and Adventures, in which Doyle discusses his own similarities to his characters, how a human mind is multi-dimensional and a writer puts himself into all his characters, the experiences he has had putting on the plays and seeing Holmes adapted to the screen, and some amusing anecdotes from his life where people had mistaken him for Holmes, or insisted on acting as if Holmes was a real person. Mr Sherlock Holmes to His Readers (1927) is an article written by Doyle to inaugurate a competition where readers were asked to put Doyle's top 12 favourite Holmes stories in order of his preference, in which he discusses Holmes, what critics and readers have said of him over the years, and expresses his hopes that all of his stories were of a similar quality, either read forward or backward. (The article, sans the last two paragraphs, was used as a preface to The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes.) Doyle includes How I Made My List, which he discusses his favourite stories and why they are so, and includes his list. The Background to Sherlock Holmes (1924) is a composite article derived from Doyle's autobiography, Memories and Adventures, which consists of some autobiographical information of his life and life style, as well as all the material which has a direct bearing on the background and composition of the Sherlock Holmes stories. The True Story of Sherlock Holmes (1900) is an article in which Doyle discusses the birth and death of Sherlock Holmes, as well as his views on detective fiction. The Last of Sherlock Holmes (1904) is an article of an interview with Doyle that announces Holmes's retirement, and has Doyl share some of his ideas on what Holmes may be up to after retreating to a peaceful life n the country. Plot for Sherlock Holmes Story was discovered and published in Hesketh Pearson's biography of Doyle, that lays out a plot with a case in which a woman appears to Holmes to help solve a murder where all evidence definitively points to someone whom the girl vehemently believes did not do it. (There is no evidence that this was written by Doyle, and strong internal evidence suggests otherwise.) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: A Review (1892) is a review by Joseph Bell, in which he praises Holmes and the effect he's had on society and literature, describing what makes Holmes so effective, and why he likes him so much. (It was subsequently used as the introduction to A Study in Scarlet.) In Sherlock Holmes Parodies, J.M. Barrie, a good friend of Doyle's, writes 2 short stories to parody Sherlock Holmes: In The Adventures of the Two Collaborators (1890), Doyle and Berrie visit Holmes and Watson to solve the mystery of why nobody is going to their collaborated opera, though Holmes refuses to answer, even when Doyle tells him his existence depends on it. The Late Sherlock Holmes (1893) is written as newspaper bulletins about the mysterious death of Sherlock Holmes at the Falls of Reichenbach, and Watson being arrested for his murder. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or, An Ungrateful Father (1926) by Beverley Nichols is an article in which Doyle discusses that while he has gratitude to Holmes, there are many downfalls of working with his character, and the fact that Holmes had gotten in the way of the perception and exposure of Doyle's other contributions, most of which he considered to be much more elevated literary works.
My rating: 8/10.
My Review: This is a definitive must-have for any fan of Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle lived a very long life, made numerous contributions in many fields, and was interviewed and written about hundreds of times. This volume provides the convenient task of having selected absolutely everything even remotely to do with Holmes. I was a little mislead by the title, and I'm glad it was so, because I appreciated what I got even though it wasn't quite what I expected - there are only a few short "unpublished" Holmes works, with most of the book consisting of biographical and autobiographical non-fiction. I wholly enjoyed getting such a thorough explanation of Doyle's own views on Holmes, which are often unexpected and fill out the character of Holmes even further. Doyle often talks of how Holmes is a machine, basically purely a brain, a perfect intellect who lacks, however, a heart and, almost entirely, empathy. Having gotten into several debates with Holmes fans of how Holmes is not "surely secretly a much deeper character", I am happy to hear that the way Holmes was written is unapologetically exactly the way he was intended. Even Watson, Doyle hurries to point out, is written for one single purpose only - to react appropriately to Holmes, with most other characteristics stripped from him. I do strongly believe that Holmes and Watson stand firmly on their own merits, exactly as they have been written and intended, and one need not colour them into "more human" or "better developed" creations in order to appreciate their brilliance and enjoy them. I feel like Doyle does have a point when he repeatedly points out that in order for a detective mystery to be solid and compelling, the emphasis has to be on the case and the process, rather than any humanity within the detective himself. It's only ironic and sweet that by doing just that, Doyle infected the public with a ravenous fascination with Holmes's psychology that has not waned to this day. It's absolutely fascinating how this one character, whom Doyle considered one of his baser creations, took two enormous nations by storm and wove himself firmly into both cultures forevermore. It's really saying something that Holmes's name, among only that of Winston Churchill, could single-handedly drive up the sales of The Strand. Between the two hilarious poems, an exchange between Doyle and Guiterman, and then some of Doyle's consequent interviews, I can quite relate to Doyle's views on how much the characters writers create are actually them. Whereas in the poem Doyle playfully points out that it's silly to assume that a character is the author's mouthpiece, he later points out that perhaps one puts a little of himself into every character one pens, and what that may mean for him, having created as many villains as he has. Probably the most memorable selections from this volume are J.M. Barrie's parodies, which were absolutely hysterical, with the exceptional wit you'd expect from someone who created Peter Pan, and I was delighted to both discover their existence and read them both in this volume (I was actually almost in tears of laughter - this is not common for me). Another thing that stood out to me that hit very close to my heart is that through many interviews and essays, it becomes very clear how much Doyle respects Holmes, and, more than that, how much Doyle respects the art of writing. His discussion on how Holmes's "real death" would only come if he ever felt he let him down, and how all art is good and worthwhile as long as it is sincere and represents one's best effort is an endearing aspect of Doyle's beliefs on his role as an author. The only part of this book I would say I could really take or leave are the plays - I simply do not believe Doyle's stories translate very effectively to the stage, as a format. As well, I certainly do not agree with Doyle that reading Sherlock Holmes cannot make one a better person in a way that good literature does, and is only effective to pass the time in an amusing manner. This, however, I ascribe to Doyle's very high standards for literature (which I share), and perhaps his humility in not realizing that though he set out to write a one-dimensional detective purely for fun, he created a powerful, influential, enticing character whose methods, adventures, and values can, I believe, greatly benefit the reader. Overall, something every Sherlock Holmes fan should read, and will undoubtedly enjoy.
♥ So I got the idea for Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock is utterly inhuman, no heart, but with a beautifully logical intellect.
♥ I think that a fine thing might be done about a bacteriological criminal, but the only fear is lest you get beyond the average man, whose interest must be held from the first and who won't be interested unless he thoroughly understands. Still, even so, I should think that something might be done on these lines.
♥ Doyle was the author most closely associated with the success of the Strand Magazine and the only one (with the possible exception of Winston Churchill) whose name on the cover was sufficient by itself to raise the circulation. It is a measure of Greenhough Smith's ability as an editor that Doyle should have remained so faithful and that he resisted the offers from the editors of other magazines who would have paid almost any price for the rights to an original Sherlock Holmes story.
♥ Many years later, the Sunday Express was able to report the following "odd thing" that had happened:
At a cinema at Wad Medani, Sudan, a Sherlock Holmes serial so excited the natives that they demanded to see the remaining instalments there and then. The manager could not oblige. Rioters wrecked the cinema.
♥ One point which has not been remarked by the learned Sauwosch... is that in a considerable proportion of the stories - I daresay a quarter - no legal crime has been committed at all. Another point - one of the few in which I feel satisfaction but which I have never seen mentioned - is that Watson never for one instant as chorus and chronicler transcends his own limitations. Never once does a flash of wit or wisdom come from him. All is remorselessly eliminated so that he may be Watson.
♥ "The day when Holmes will really die," Doyle told Greenhough Smith on one occasion, "will be the day when I think that I am letting him down."
♥ From To Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Arthur Guiterman
...Roving and dreaming, Ambition, that heady sin,
Gave you a spirit too restless for medicine;
That, I presume, as Romance is the quest of us,
Made you an Author - the same as the rest of us.
...Give me detectives with brains analytical
Rather than weaklings with morals mephitical -
Stories of battles and man's intrepidity
Rather than wails of neurotic morbidity!
Give me adventures and fierce dinotheriums
Rather than Hewlett's ecstatic deliriums!
Frankly, Sir Conan, some hours I've eased with you
And, on the whole, I am pretty well pleased with you.
♥ From To an Undiscerning Critic
...Have you not learned, my esteemed commentator,
That the created is not the creator?
...He, the created, the puppet of fiction,
Would not brook rivals nor stand contradiction.
He, the created, would scoff and would sneer,
Where I, the Creator, would bow and revere.
So please grip this fact with your cerebral tentacle,
The doll and its maker are never identical.
♥ HOLMES: You lucky fellow! I envy you.
WATSON: Thank you, Holmes. Some of these days I may find myself congratulating you.
HOLMES: No marriage without love, Watson.
WATSON: Then why not love?
HOLMES: Absurd, Watson, absurd! I am not for love, nor love for me. It would disturb my reason, unbalance my faculties. Love is like a flaw in the crystal, sand in the clockwork, iron near the magnet. No, no, I have other work in the world.
♥ HOLMES: The case does not attract me. (Rings bell.)
Show Mr Loaming out, Billy.
LOAMING: It's the last you'll see of me, Mr Holmes.
HOLMES: Life is full of little consolations.
♥ HOLMES: No, no, Watson! You are making the mistake of putting your normal brain into Rylott's abnormal being. The born criminal is often a monstrous egotist. His mind is unhinged from the beginning. What he wants he must have. Because he thinks a thing, it is right. Because he does a thing, it will escape detection. You can't say a priori that he will take this view or that one.
♥ WATSON: I will come with you, Holmes.
HOLMES: My dear fellow, you are no longer an unattached knight-errant. Dangerous quests are forbidden. What would Miss Morstan say?
WATSON: She would say that the man who could desert his friend would never make a good husband.
~~The Stonor Case.
♥ My own feeling upon the subject is that all forms of literature, however humble, are legitimate if the writer is satisfied that he has done them to the highest of his power. To take an analogy from a kindred art, the composer may range from the oratorio to the comic song and be ashamed of neither, so long as his work in each is as honest as he can make it. It is insincere work, scamped work, work which is consciously imitative, which a man should voluntarily suppress before time saves him the trouble. As to work which is unconsciously imitative, it is not to be expected that a man's style and mode of treatment should spring fully formed from his own brain. The most that he can hope is that as he advances the outside influences should decrease and his own point of view become clearer and more distinctive.
♥ For the secret of the thinness and also of the intensity of the detective story is, that the writer is left with only one quality, that of intellectual acuteness, with which to endow his hero. Everything else is outside the picture and weakens the effect. The problem and its solution must form the theme, and the character-drawing be limited and subordinate. On this narrow path the writer must walk, and he sees the footmarks of Poe always in front of him. He is happy if he ever finds the means of breaking away and striking out on some little side-track of his own.
~~Preface to Author's Edition of the Sherlock Holmes Stories.
♥ It is all very well to sneer at the paper detective, but a principle is a principle, whether in fiction or in fact. Many of the great lessons of life are to be learned in the pages of the novelist.
♥ I trust that the younger public may find these romances of interest, and that here and there one of the older generation may recapture an ancient thrill.
~~Preface to Sherlock Holmes The Complete Short Stories.
♥ I suffer sometimes from some little confusion between the author and the character. I am afraid that in my own personality I rather represent that gentleman already quoted - Dr Watson. But the psychologists tell us that we really are very multiplex people; that we are like a bundle of faggots, or rather a rope with many strands, and that sometimes in the most commonplace rope there may be one single strand which, if you only isolate it, produces unexpected effects. There may be represented in my being some strand of Sherlock. If so all the villains I have created may be also represented by strands in my personality, and there is only one man who, having made more villains, is in a worse case than myself, and that is my friend Mr Phillips Oppenheim.
~~Conan Doyle's Speech at the Stoll Convention Dinner.
♥ At the same time a man cannot spin a character out of his own inner consciousness and make it really life-like unless he has some possibilities of that character within him - which is a dangerous admission for one who has drawn so many villains as I.
♥ We had a fine rock boa to play the title-rôle, a snake which was the pride of my heart, so one can imagine my disgust when I saw that one critic ended his disparaging review by the words: "The crisis of the play was produced by the appearance of a palpably artificial serpent." I was inclined to offer him a goodly sum if he would undertake to go to bed with it. We had several snakes at different times, but they were none of them born actors and they were all inclined either to hang down from the hole in the wall like inanimate bell-pulls, or else to turn back through the hole and get even with the stage carpenter who pinched their tails in order to make them more lively. Finally we used artificial snakes, and every one, including the stage carpenter, agreed that it was more satisfactory.
♥ I was charmed both with the play, the acting and the pecuniary result. I think that every man with a drop of artistic blood in his veins would agree that the latter consideration, though very welcome when it does arrive, is still the last of which he thinks.
♥ I do not wish to be ungrateful to Holmes, who has been a good friend to me in many ways. If I have sometimes been inclined to weary of him, it is because his character admits of no light or shade. He is a calculating machine, and anything you add to that simply weakens the effect. Thus the variety of the stories must depend upon the romance and compact handling of the plots. I would say a word for Watson also, who in the course of seven volumes never shows one gleam of humour or makes one single joke. To make a real character one must sacrifice everything to consistency and remember Goldsmith's criticism of Johnson that "he would make the little fishes talk like whales." (When Dr Johnson said that the little fishes in a proposed fable should talk like little fishes, Goldsmith, according to the Life of Johnson (27 April 1773), replied: "Why, Dr Johnson, this is not so easy as you seem to think; for if you were to make little fishes talk, they would talk like whales.")
~~Sidelights on Sherlock Holmes.
♥ I fear that Mr Sherlock Holmes may become like one of those popular tenors who, having outlived their time, are still tempted to make repeated farewell bows to their indulgent audiences. This must cease and he must go the way of all flesh, material or imaginary. One likes to think that there is some fantastic limbo for the children of imagination, some strange, impossible place where the beaux of Fielding may still make love to the belles of Richardson, where Scott's heroes still may strut, Dickens's delightful Cockneys still raise a laugh, and Thackeray's worldlings continue to carry on their reprehensible careers. Perhaps in some humble corner of such a Valhalla, Sherlock and his Watson may for a time find a place, while some more astute sleuth with some even less astute comrade may fill the stage which they have vacated.
His career has been a long one - though it is possible to exaggerate it; decrepit gentlemen who approach me and declare that his adventures formed the reading of their boyhood do not meet the response from me which they seem to expect. One is not anxious to have one's personal dates handled so unkindly.
♥ To compare great things to small, Scott in his autobiographical notes has remarked that each of Voltaire's later pamphlets was declared to be a declension from the last one, and yet when the collected works were assembled they were found to be among the most brilliant. Scott also was depreciated by critics for some of his most solid work. Therefore, with such illustrious examples before one, let me preserve the hope that he who in days to come may read my series backwards will not find that his impressions are very different from those of his neighbour who reads them forwards.
♥ And so, reader, farewell to Sherlock Holmes! I thank you for your constancy, and can but hope that some return has been made in the shape of that distraction from the worries of life and stimulating change of thought which can only be found in the fairy kingdom of romance.
~~Mr Sherlock Holmes to His Readers.
♥ It is proverbially a mistake for a judge to give his reasons, but I have analysed mine if only to show any competitors that I really have taken some trouble in the matter.
The Speckled Band
The Red-Headed League
The Dancing Men
The Final Problem
A Scandal in Bohemia
The Empty House
The Five Orange Pips
The Second Stain
The Devil's Foot
The Priory School
The Munsgrave Ritual
The Reigate Squires
~~How I Made My List.
♥ It does not attempt to do full justice to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's rich and varied career; one which he summarized thus:
~~From Introduction to The Background to Sherlock Holmes.
♥ In many ways my marriage marked a turning-point in my life. A bachelor, especially one who had been a wanderer like myself, drifts easily into Bohemian habits, and I was no exception. Up to now the main interest in my life lay in my medical career. But with the more regular life and the greater sense of responsibility, coupled with the natural development of brain-power, the literary side of me began slowly to spread until it was destined to push the other entirely aside.
~~The Background to Sherlock Holmes.
♥ My instincts were against this, as I believe it is always better to give the public less than it wants rather than more, and I do not believe in boring it with this sort of stuff.
♥ My objection to detective stories is that they only call for the use of a certain portion of one's imaginative faculty, the invention of a plot, without giving any scope for character drawing.
The best literary work is that which leaves the reader better for having read it. Now, nobody can possibly be the better - in the high sense in which I mean it - for reading Sherlock Holmes, although he may have passed a pleasant hour doing so. It was not to my mind high work, and no detective work ever can be, apart from the fact that all work dealing with criminal matters is a cheap way of rousing the interest of the reader.
~~The True Story of Sherlock Holmes.
♥ It is not entirely a sign of this weary worn-out century that in this, its last decade, even the petty street-bred people are beginning, as the nurses say, to take notice. An insatiable and generally prurient curiosity as to the doings of the class immediately above is pandered to by society journals, and encouraged even by the daily newspapers. Such information is valueless intellectually, and tends to moral degradation; it exercises none of the senses, and pauperizes the imagination. Celebrities at home, illustrated interviews, society scandal on all levels merely titillate the itching ear of the gossip. Memoirs, recollections, anecdotes of the Bar or of the Academy, are much more interesting, and may be valuable as throwing sidelights on history, but still only amuse and help to kill the time of which we forget the value.
~~The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: A Review by Joseph Bell.
♥ I was (I remember) by the centre table writing out 'The Adventures of the Man without a Cork Leg' (which had so puzzled the Royal Society and all the other scientific bodies of Europe), and Holmes was amusing himself with a little revolver practice. It was his custom of a summer evening to fire round my head, just shaving my face, until he had made a photograph of me on the opposite wall, and it is a slight proof of his skill that many of these portraits in pistol shots are considered admirable likenesses.
♥ "The other is as obviously a Scotch author."
"How can you tell that?"
"He is carrying in his pocket a book called (I clearly see) "Auld Licht Something". Would any one but the author be likely to carry about a book with such a title?"
I had to confess that this was improbable.
♥ "I would rather melt into air," replied Holmes, proudly taking another chair. "But I can tell you why the public don't go to your piece without sitting the thing out myself."
"Because," replied Holmes calmly, "they prefer to stay away."
~~The Adventure of the Two Collaborators by J.M. Barrie.