Welcome! Like the book of the same name, this blog is an eclectic collection of Sherlockian scribblings based on more than a half-century of reading Sherlock Holmes. Please add your own thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanAndriacco and on my Facebook fan page at Dan Andriacco Mysteries. You might also be interested in my Amazon Author Page. My books are also available at Barnes & Noble and in all main electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks for the iPad.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What is a Pastiche, Anyway?

Newcomers to the world of Sherlockiana may be surprised to know that there's more than one way to define the word "pastiche."

One dictionary definition, which I like, says a pastiche is a literary, artistic, or musical work that imitates the style of a previous work." This is consistent with the explanation that someone (I don't know who) long ago gave me that a Sherlock Holmes pastiche aims to imitate the ACD writing style, whereas not every Sherlock Holmes story has that goal.

By this definition, Sherlock Holmes and the Irish Rebels, written by Dr. Watson, is definitely a pastiche. Almost  no one would disagree. The Detective and the Woman, by contrast, arguably is not a pastiche because ACD never wrote a book partly in the narrative voice of Irene Adler.

I find this distinction helpful, but many Sherlockians disagree. Amy Thomas, for example, considers her fine book to be a pastiche. In researching the late critic and mystery writer Julian Symons, I read a Wikipedia article which referred to his enjoyable Sheridan Haynes novels as pastiches. But Haynes isn't Holmes under another name -- he's a modern-day actor who plays Holmes on television. So books not even about Holmes are being called Holmes pastiches.

Does it matter what one considers to be a pastiche? I don't think so, as long it doesn't lead to confusions and disappointment. Anyone who acquired one of my Sherlockian-friendly Sebastian McCabe - Jeff Cody mysteries thinking that it was a story featuring Holmes as the protagonist might be very disappointed indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Dan. I've always thought of a pastiche as "a work that imitates," but now I see the difference.