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.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Physical Connection with Sherlockian History

E-books are so great: They cost less than paper (sometimes nothing), they are instantly available, and they take up no room. The type can even be adjusted so I can read without eye strain.

But count me among those who will never lose my affection for traditional books in their printed form. One of the reasons is the physical connection they give you to history. Today's case in point is my copy of Profile by Gaslight, published in 1944. It may be a first edition, but I'm not sure. It was certainly printed in 1944.

Edited by Edgar W. Smith and subtitled An Irregular Reader About the Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, it's a stellar collection of essays from the early days of Sherlockian scholarship. How early is indicated by the annotated bibliography, which runs a mere six pages -- including all the books of the Canon. That's just about all there was in those days.

The list of contributors to the volume is dazzling roll call of giants: Morley, Davis, Stout, Wolff, Woolcott, Sayers, Boucher, Starrett, Haycraft, Pratt, Bell . . . Even some of the individual articles and poems are justly famous, such as "Watson Was a Woman," "That Was No Lady," "221B," and "Dr. Watson's Christian Name."

The front carries a notice: "The characters in this book are real persons. Any resemblance to fictional characters, living or dead, is purely accidental."  If this isn't the first Sherlockian book to make that claim, it is one of the first and far from the last.

Just holding this book is fun for me, for it gives me a link with Sherlockian history that I can hold, touch, and smell.

What's your favorite old book?

1 comment:

  1. My first edition 'Profile By Gaslight' is one of the most cherished items in my Sherlockian library. I see you managed to find a copy with the DJ intact - mine is sadly lacking a DJ But still, I couldn't agree more with the idea that to hold a classic like 'Profile By Gaslight' is to exist at one remove from the patriarchs of the Sherlockian Universe.