Friday, March 23, 2018

Ah, the trivial Sherlockian argument!

How do you pronounce Lestrade?

How do you pronounce Irene?

Not looking for answers here, just giving examples of debate-starting trivial questions that I've seen Sherlockians pour way too much energy into. It's been a while since I've been on the listserv group the Hounds of the Internet, but once upon a time, they were famous for those sorts of debates. And don't think I'm putting myself on higher ground here, because I'm about to relate a new one I experienced last night.

As we talked about "The Yellow Face," at our local library discussion group, I posed the perennial question: "Why does Grant Munro's wife call him 'Jack?'"

Well, my faithful companion, the good Carter had an answer: His first name was John and "Grant Munro" was a compound surname like "Conan Doyle." And then we were off to the races. Phones came out. Googling occurred. Victorian politeness was invoked.

I stood firmly on the ground that his first name was "Grant" based on Holmes reading it off his hat and, in my opinion, using the man's full name. The good Carter gained support for her compound surname theory just because people like fancy Victorian stuff. (My reporting here is not going to be objective, of course.)

Wikipedia has a lovely entry called "Double-barrelled name" which invokes Watson's "double-barrelled tiger cub," but that proved inconclusive.

The Conan Doyle Encyclopaedia inexplicably has decided that the man's name is "John Grant Munro," which came up as evidence, and had me energetically rebutting, "The Conan Doyle Encyclopedia is wrong! That's not in the story!"

And even using Conan Doyle himself as evidence was not one hundred percent solid. While Doyle took the name "Conan Doyle" and his second wife took the name "Jean Conan Doyle," his knighthood was listed officially as "Doyle," and Wikipedia admits "technically his last name is simply Doyle." That seemed to gain me a little ground, even though it was discovered by my esteemed opposition.

Annotateds were present, and Sherlockians past did not seem to bring up the surname possibility with any vigor, but one would not have thought it given the energy of our discussion. As with pronunciations of Lestrade and Irene in the past, we were left with everyone taking home their own opinion on the matter. I momentarily wished I was still on the Hounds of the Internet list, to toss that bone out for them to chew on, but then again, having just been through a pretty deep discussion of such a fairly trivial matter, didn't miss it all that much.

In an age of great dramatic fan feuds, however, a nice little domesticated spat on something so small was actually a little comforting. Feel free to make your own case in the comments, but I won't be rejoining the Grant Munro battle for a while. (Sherlock Gnomes awaits!)

1 comment:

  1. More intriguing to me was the theory posited by the gent sitting next to me that the story was inspired by the events of Queen Victoria's African goddaughter. After further thought, I agree with Ms Carter that the explanation of why she left the child in the US was weak/non-existant. Last night was fun. I'm looking forward to next month.