Sunday, January 10, 2021

Calling all Sherlockian chronologists!

With all the gatherings and special purposes of Sherlockians spotlighted this weekend, I couldn't help but notice that a certain faction was not appropriately represented. Primarily because said faction has traditionally been a lone wolf subculture of Sherlockiana, a place where every member is actively trying to prove themselves right and the other members wrong. I say "members" here even though we don't yet have a club, which is why a couple of us thought it was time to put out a call once more and start such a thing.

In other words, HELLLOOOOOO Sherlockian chronologists!

We know you're out there, trying to keep a low profile so as not to attract too much attention to one of those art forms that might keep you from getting invited to the cool kids parties. And we know who the real cool kids are, don't we?

Yes, anybody can wear a bow tie, but Sherlockian chronology comes from the soul.

Now, my friend Vincent Wright of Historical Sherlock has put forth this idea before and had a few takers, yet didn't have the time to put such a thing into motion. And having decided that 2021 is my year for Sherlockian Chronology, having made my last pilgrimage through the Canon for those purposes around the turn of the millennium, the idea seemed to dovetail with what I was going to be working on anyway. And the aforementioned sage of modern chronologists is on board as well.

The thing about Sherlockian chronology is that we all have to tread over the same ground to get to the finer points, and it feels like there are certain basics which we can help smooth the road for our future chronologists on. Decades ago, first Andy Peck, and Andy with Les Klinger for a second edition, gathered the dates from previous chronologists in what today would basically be an Excel spreadsheet, because not everyone had the works those dates originated from. What that set of tables didn't give you, however, was the rationales for those dates, many of which could be summed up with a key point or two. And that was just for the works by chronologists who did the complete Canon. 

Were such a work to be gathered today, it would be out-of-date nearly immediately, as new ideas on things like Watson's marital state are occurring all the time. What Sherlockian chronology now needs is a community effort, and an ongoing watch of developing thought as the field advances. (Sounds pretty puffed up and serious, there, doesn't it? C'mon, it's still Sherlock Holmes play, with history involved as needed, calm down.) It time to see if we can gather together and have some fun with this [expletive deleted]. 

We've got some definite ideas on what that gathering of the minds will look like (not if person, or even on Zoom), but first it would be good to see who is out there and might like to admit that they've got a little chronologist in them. You can reach me at bkeefauver on gmail if you're interested, and you can also take a little time to think about it as I'm sure the topic will come up here again as things move forward. It is the end of the big January weekend, a time for rash project choices, so be careful! 

This little effort is overdue, however, so I know I'm ready for it.

"It's time for some Sherlockian chronology!" -- Potential motto for potential something.


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