A Bedside Book of Early Sherlockian Parodies and Pastiches
"More parodies have been written targeting Sherlock Holmes than anyone else dead or alive, fictional or real. James M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, started it all back in the early 1890's and Sherlockian parody has been coming out regularly ever since, right into the age of the internet. While Sherlock's creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lived, close to 400 appeared in Britain and America. In these early parodies, Sherlock is off on the wrong track in the great Coleslaw mystery, struggling with the disappearance of the President's Whisker, rescuing that damsel in distress, Elsa Lohengrin, and even delving into the spirit world---and much more. Mark Twain, the Mr. Dooley of Finley Peter Dunne, Kenneth Grahame's Ratty of The Wind in the Willows, John Kendrick Bangs, Bret Harte, Ring Lardner, C. K. Chesterton, and O. Henry all contributed to this early Bedside collection. Sherlock turns up at Wellseley College and Yale, Hades and The Garden of Eden, Peoria and the Oklahoma Territory, in the trenches of War I and often in his familiar Baker Street hangout. Sherlockian Charles Press began collecting these early lampoons as a hobby after retiring from Michigan State University. He is the author of two Sherlockian monographs, Parodies and Pastiches, Buzzing Round Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Looking Over Sir Arthur's Shoulder, and ""When Did Arthur Conan Doyle Meet Jean Leckie?"" in The Baker Street Journal. "
"This is a difficult book for me to review. For almost ten years, I have managed the Database of Sherlockian Pastiches, Parodies and Related Fiction, so I am very involved with the subject of this current book. It is difficult for me to realize that, to most Sherlockians, this Literature is incidental rather than central to their concern with matters about Sherlock Holmes. I have been taking these matters very seriously for the last ten years and more, so this book, which is aimed at more conventional fans of Sherlock Holmes, seems a bit odd to me. It took me quite a while to see what the author was trying to do simply because I am so wrapped up in the subject of pastiches and parodies by my own interest (obsession?) with the subject that I am attempting to collect copies of the more than 11,500 such items known to me. I have been collecting such items for more than ten years and I always seem to be about three or four thousand items behind in my search. This book is an introduction to the wonderful world of the most copied fiction author in History. No other fictional character in Literature has been copied so extensively. Even Judge Dee, who is definitely NOT fictional, has only had a thousand or two fictional mysteries set in Tang China written about his adventures. To serious scholars of pastiches, this book may seem a bit sloppy or not properly footnoted, but neither of us are the audience this book is written for. This book is written as an introduction to the rich world of pastiches and parodies that have followed right on the heels of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s publications. Over the hundred and twenty five plus years since the publication of A Study in Scarlet, almost every author of mysteries has tried to write a Sherlockian pastiche/parody. Some have written short stories and some have written novels. There have been stories in verse, radio programs, movies, cartoon series, TV broadcasts, an Opera and a Tap dance review as well as puppet shows, children’s plays and who knows what else published with the name “Sherlock” attached to it. This book includes a broad selection of early writings about Sherlock. Some of the items included or cited were unknown to me, which is a difficult thing to do. Many were obscure and difficult to find and some are well-known among the community of Sherlock Holmes fans. I am sure anyone will find items new to them among this selection and knowledgeable fans will all have alternative selections that should have been included; different alternative selections! This is a fun book. It will surprise many, astound a few and amuse almost anyone who reads it.” Philip K. Jones
Charles Press is a retired professor from Michigan State University in East Lansing. He was a long time member of the Greek Interpreters of East Lansing. His retirement hobby has been collecting early Sherlock Holmes parodies. He is the author of THE POLITICAL CARTOON, as well as two Sherlockian monographs: LOOKING OVER SIR ARTHUR'S SHOULDER and PARODIES AND PASTICHES BUZZING 'ROUND SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE, and 'When Did Arthur Conan Doyle Meet Jean Leckie?' in THE BAKER STREET JOURNAL.