This week's "Interesting Though Elementary" interview with Jonathan Tiemann had a little tidbit that I found worth pondering a bit. There was question asked that I don't remember Rob asking before, due to Jonathan Tiemann's experience living in different places: "How do you feel that West Coast Sherlockiana is different from those in the Midwest or East Coast?"
While we all dislike being pushed into categories (unless we go there voluntarily, with a personality test or a horoscope reading), the regional breakdown that Tiemann's answer laid out rang pretty true.
West Coast: "More likely to regard screen adaptations, especially of Canonical stories, as legitimate Sherlockiana."
East Coast: "A somewhat more academic approach to Holmes scholarship."
Midwest: "More likely to focus a bit more closely on the original text."
Now, we can call out individuals who defy those patterns every day, but they kind of feel correct. California is going to be more movie-biased. Boston/NewYork/Washington/etc. have traditionally had more access to source materials. Peoria? Well, we've got The Complete Sherlock Holmes sitting right there on our shelf.
But I think we're going to see all of that change, if it hasn't changed already, thanks to the internet. Where you live doesn't matter quite so much any more. Economic levels are more likely to be a deciding factor, as what you can buy and where you can travel will enter into things a bit. Which brings up England and Canada -- where do those folks fit into the picture?
Sherlockiana is, of course, a world-wide phenomenon. And of all places, England has always had the greatest advantage, as it's citizens got all the first editions first, can spend a weekend looking for Canonical sites, and, basically, they own Conan Doyle historically. You could see where screen adaptations aren't going to be their go-to with all that at hand. Canada, if I were to guess, would be seen as having the Midwest America problem with resources, but they have had some great scholarship and Doylean studies in North America owe much to Canada, as that country dominated them a few decades ago.
I'm curious as to how the Sherlockian scene would be described in countries that don't have English as their primary language, like Japan or Sweden. Our view tends to be skewed by the writers who produce English materials, so it's a little harder to see.
Like I said, though, the internet has thrown it all up in the air. You can be whatever kind of Sherlockian you want from wherever you want. And are internet Sherlockians a whole other category of Sherlockian? So many pastiche writers out there, you have to wonder if that's not the internet's special domain, whether their stuff comes out in book form or on A03. Pastiche writers seem to be the oysters of the internet, to use Sherlock Holmes's "Dying Detective" style rant: "Indeed, I cannot think why the whole shelf-space of every library and bookstore is not one solid mass of pastiche, so prolific their creators seem."
"Ah, I am wondering!" to get back to the real quotes. "Strange how the brain controls the brain! What was I saying, Watson?"
Thanks to Rob and Jonathan for that little diverting thought this morning. Check out the full interview if you haven't already.