"Now, Brad," one might say, "that doesn't sound like your sort of thing at all. Your last symposium talk was on Conan Doyle psychically channelling a multiverse of Watsons!"
And that is true. My home Sherlockian turf is the whimsical side of the playground, and whilst that playground is attached to a school, I rarely go inside. (Maybe toss the occasional brick at the principal's office, but, hey, that's fun, too.) So why should I be delighted in a new focal point for Doylean scholarship?
Because it's time, and I'm not just talking about a time for Doylean scholarship. It's also a time for being glad that other people can enjoy Sherlock Holmes in their own way without feeling our own specialties are threatened. Do I get aroused by Johnlock kink porn on A03? Well, not unless it's really, really good (ahem!), but even though it's not my cuppa tea and I don't read it too often, I'm glad that's out there too. Sherlock Holmes, and his creator, should be celebrated by each of us to our own lights, and it's progress for all of us when someone achieves something new for any group of us. And even though Conan Doyle scholarship isn't completely new, this new journal, The Conan Doyle Review, will expand our world just that much more.
As a place for academics who may not be Sherlockians to publish, we will get to see work that only the most diligent of us might have dug up previously. And the fact that it took three women to finally get this thing achieved after such a male-dominated cultural history, well, there is a little social change icing on the cake that makes it even tastier.
I started this morning dwelling a bit too much on one of the shadow sides to our culture but the news of The Conan Doyle Review was a little beam of sunlight that helped push it away.
As Sherlock Holmes (or some writer who might be associated with him) once said (or wrote), "The world is big enough for us. No ghosts need apply." Holmes wasn't setting limits, as the world is enormous, full of natural diversity, with plenty of space still for us to stretch our minds and explore. We can let the spectres go, and in this case, I'm happy to let any feelings I might have had about Doylean endeavors in the 1980s not apply.
Here's hoping this new endeavor is a fabulous success.
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