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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Shelf Full of Sherlock

As nice as it is to have the entire Canon in two or three volumes, some multi-volume editions have much to recommend them as well. Two in particular stand out -- The Oxford Sherlock Holmes and The Sherlock Holmes Reference Library.

These two annotated sets make great companions because they come at the texts from different reference points.

The Oxford edition came out from Oxford Press in 1994 under the general editorship of Owen Dudley Edwards. I have both the hardback and paperback versions. The excellent footnotes, providing both history and literary criticism, assume that Arthur Conan Doyle wrote these stories.

In The Sherlock Holmes Reference Library, published by Gasogene Press in the early 2000s, editor and annotator Leslie S. Klinger takes the same Sherlockian viewpoint of his Annotated Sherlock Holmes: These memoirs were written (mostly) by John H. Watson, M.D., to whom Dr. Conan Doyle was friend and literary agent.

Each volume has an introduction by a noted Sherlockian. As a bonus, there are ten volumes, with the tenth devoted to the Apocrypha. More about that in a future blog post.

Less scholarly is The Sherlock Holmes Collected Edition, published in England by Leopard. Although the edition I own says it was published in 1996, all of the introductions by well known British literary figures (from Eric Ambler to C.P. Snow) are copyrighted 1974. Black with white lettering, they look great on the shelves.

Also with "curb appeal" is the Book-of-the-Month-Club edition from 1994. Each has a different paisley print on the end, making an attractive appearance when all nine are shelved together. This is an inexpensive edition, without introductions, that often shows up in both paperback and hardback editions at Half-Price Books.

I'm sure there are many other wonderful matched sets, especially in paperback. What am I missing?

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