Strand March 2011 Acquisitions
It’s been a super awesome month for finding affordable Shaw 100 items from local sources. The Strand continues to bury it’s best Sherlockiana in over-sized hardcover fiction and English Literature non-fiction.
* The World of Sherlock Holmes Michael Harrison (1973) - signed by the author with dedication to former owner [screenshot later] - is essentially a chronological march through the biography of Holmes depending heavily on textual evidence plus a somewhat greater than 7% reliance on moderate-to-wild speculation. Shaw’s 100, which ranks this as #22, states that “Note: Harrison’s I Sherlock Holmes, 1977 can be substituted.”
* Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street: A Life of the World’s First Consulting Detective William S. Baring-Gould (1962) - I actually already have a copy of this but it’s pretty beat up. This copy is pristine and perfect and already has a plastic dust jacket affixed. If that wasn’t enough, this copy was also once in the library of “Paul Glicksman” (see my Strand Feb 2011 Acquisitions post) whose Sherlock library must have recently been sold to the Strand.
* Sherlock Holmes: A Centenary Celebration Allen Eyles (1986) - an over-sized, glossy paged labor of love that traces various conceptions of Holmes from his early days in the Strand right up to the mid-80s where a young Jeremy Brett, finishing up season 2 of Granada’s legendary take on the denizens of Baker Street, had just taken the reigns of (imo) the definitive Sherlock. Letting the images mostly speak for themselves, Eyles includes choice illustrations, documents, photographs, posters, playbills, etc. accompanied by only the necessary amount of textual explanation. Eyles’ explanations function primary to map out, chapter by chapter, distinct shifts in Holmes’ personality over the decades vis-à-vis displaying a set of images and then contextualizing them by carefully noting the social, psychological, physical and intellectual properties of Holmes at each epoch.
* One of the great treats in buying used books is the occasional serendipity involved when one comes across items slipped between the pages long ago and subsequently forgotten. The above volume contained a page from The New York Times Magazine (p. 103, November 2, 1975) stored in plastic covering entitled ‘Sherlock Holmes’s shortest case’ written by John H. Watson, M.D. (obviously) and ‘edited’ by one Nicholas Meyer, one year into the success of his book The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1974). Purported to be a “missing Watsonian manuscript” detailing the exploits of a ‘premier’ of a foreign country caught up in a ‘burgularly’ scandal (referd to as “the Duchy of Schleswig Von Graustark-by-the-Sea”), it bares an uncanny resemblance to the scandal of the day: Watergate. I’ll scan/post the piece early next week.
* The Pictorial History of Sherlock Holmes Michael Pointer (1991) - is a monster of a book measuring in at 10 1/2 inches by 14 1/2 inches containing over 200 images focusing on early Strand illustrations, great actors who have played Holmes on stage and film, a short chapter on not-so-great dramatic incarnations, and a fascinating collection of depictions of Holmes and/or Watson used in advertisements and on products hawking everything from cigarettes (“Holmes solvers the greatest question: which are the best cigarettes”) to mouth wash (“Nice logic, shame about the breathe.”), cereal (“Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the vanishing crunchy nut corn flakes.”) to All-Bran (“That All-Bran really has made me ‘regular’.”) and most interestingly sparkling water (“Extracted from the well at 221B Baker St….”). Excellent quality all around.
[#22, #5, N/A, N/A on the Shaw 100 (1988 ed.) respectively.]