Saturday, December 10, 2022

Notable Contemporary Sherlockians

Working in the fields of Sherlockian chronology, the good Bruce Harris brought up the subject of calendars this week, and it took me back to the 1980s again and Frank Hoffman's annual Sherlockian calendar, which he produced for a number of years.

The 1985 edition featured the birthdays of "Notable Contemporary Sherlockians" in addition to dates of the sixty Sherlock Holmes cases, picked from a few different chronologies with a few interesting un-sourceable choices. And the most obvious sign it was a different time when this was made?

Many a Sherlockian of that time's full birthdate appears. A goodly number of ladies (and a gentleman or three) held back on giving Frank Hoffman their birth year (probably still passing for 29 at the time), but most of the birthdays in the calendar are full disclosure. The youngest person that can be found in the calendar was born in 1959, making them only twenty-six hears old at the time. Most of the "Notables" were a decade or three older.

What the calendar really called out to me was that in 1985, Frank Hoffman had about ten or twelve "Notable Contemporary Sherlockians" in each month of the calendar, so the grand total has to be well under two hundred names. That seems like a lot, now that I actually do the math, but I can't help but think that a modern version of such a calendar would have a whole lot more people in it. Heck, I bet if you did a calendar of "people who have published a pastiche in the last five years" you would pass that number.

And in 1985, the US, England, and Canada were the whole Sherlockian world for someone like Hoffman compiling his calendar. In 2022, the whole world is the Sherlockian world if we were going to start listing notable living Sherlockians. We're all aware of so many more Sherlockians now than we would have been in the 1980s -- well, at least those of us who venture past our local doings.

In 1985, being thought of as a "Notable" was pretty amazing. These days? I can think of so many notable contemporary Sherlockians that it seems like just being a Sherlockian is notable. And it probably is.

Do we need a calendar to celebrate that? It's a more private world now, so maybe not. But we can surely imagine who would be in it, if there was such a thing, and I bet you can count yourself among them.

(Truly. You have to be a Sherlockian of a certain level of dedication, obsession, energy, etc. to be reading these trivial posts of mine! You keep being such a great Sherlockian!)

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