damned_colonial: The lamp outside 221B Baker St (221b)
[personal profile] damned_colonial posting in [community profile] queering_holmes
When I started this community, it was because [personal profile] lotesse and I had been talking a lot about how frustrating it was not to find any books/journals/articles talking about the sorts of things we wanted to read about: Holmes and queerness and gender and subtext and context and yada yada. And as we were talking about it, we came up with the crackpot idea of starting our own Sherlockian Journal to talk about those issues, or maybe of trying to write something for Transformative Works and Cultures or talk them into doing a Sherlock Holmes issue, or... well, we didn't really know what, but something.

And then I remembered that my friend [personal profile] brainwane and her partner had done a project last year called Thoughtcrime Experiments. Basically they edited and self-published a short story anthology so that they would get to see the sorts of stuff they wanted in print. They wrote all about their process in an appendix to the book, with a step by step guide to doing a similar project yourself if you should want to.

We want to. But we weren't sure whether anyone else would think it was that good an idea or not, so I said, why don't we set up a DW community and see whether anyone else is interested in the queer aspects of Sherlock Holmes? Which we did, and here we are, and I think we can fairly safely say that people are interested.

So, now I guess I just wanted to raise the idea of a book/zine/journal/thingy on the same sort of subject area as this community, and using a similar process to the one outlined in the Thoughtcrime Experiments appendix linked above.

What do you think?

Come on, we were all thinking it ;)

Date: 2010-05-25 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] spacefall
Provided someone is brave/foolhardy enough to take on the editing, I say go for it. I suspect everyone in this comm has been craving something similar for years ;). Holmes fandom has a long history of published books on this or that, and we can always pool our resources in terms of fannish rarities.

Would it be worth having a fannish rec-fest in the near future, or might it be better to avoid overlap so that we don't all end up writing about the same sad old topics? *coughSLURcough* There's plenty of Holmesian stuff out there, so it might be helpful to share sources of pr0n Holmesiana that others might find useful in addition to more historical piles-o-research? I'm thinking of things like journals, collections, commentaries, publishers, etc that might be useful if people wanted to refer back to earlier fandom.

Of course, many people wouldn't want to touch Holmesiana with a bargepole, but I think it is worthwhile to engage with existing fannish writing. One of the things that makes me grind my teeth is the argument that queer readings of the canon are necessarily shallow or naive. As someone who's read the stories top to bottom as well as many of the writings-on-the-writings, I say stuff that. From my POV, 'naive' is taking Holmes, Watson, or the writings out of their broader cultural setting in order to keep queer readings off the table. Where's the game in that? I call foul! ;) I can just hear the writers tutting now, saying that these people simply aren't aware of Holmes fandom/scholarship, and the many perfectly logical arguments against queer readings. To that, I reply 'Norbury' ;)

Re: Come on, we were all thinking it ;)

Date: 2010-05-25 05:41 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] spacefall
There's really very little beyond people actively criticising H/W (usually with a lack of logic that would make Inspector Hopkins roll his eyes and groan.) I have a whole tag on my LJ dedicated to particularly painful 'arguments' against HW, kept locked to spare blushes. ;) Of non-fiction writings that genuinely consider queer interpretations ... well, I doubt they would fill a shelf, but I would be glad to contribute the few that I know of. Ditto other lists that might be useful: I have a list from a while ago with H/W and related fan fiction sorted by canonical reference, so I should really dig that out. I had abandoned it as impossible to update, but the fact that it's pre-movie-boom might have its uses. Likely others among us have similar hordes of interest to fan studies types. TBH, Holmes's contribution to fandom could be someone's life's work in itself, considering the existence of crossover crackfic dating from 1897. :)

Hmm, time for a pearoast of 'vintage Holmes fan texts at the Internet Archive', methinks :D

Re: Come on, we were all thinking it ;)

Date: 2010-05-25 06:12 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] spacefall
In print books, yes. For some reason, many writers with little to say on the topic see fit to bring it up only to disagree with it. It would be a shame if everyone was referring to the same set of criticisms, but I do have notes somewhere. Sadly I don't have the BSJ archive CD. Perhaps I'll make it my birthday present to myself later this year ;)

Christopher Redmond summed up a lot of writings on sex in In Bed With Sherlock Holmes in the 80s. The section on H/W is likely to disappoint most fans, as while it discusses the H-W 'love scenes' in certain parts of the canon, it dismisses the topic fairly lightly in order to move onto Rosenberg's semiotic analysis of REDH (which is about as far away from genuinely talking about queer people as you're likely to get. :p) It does mention one odd article in the SHSL (Sherlock Holmes Society of London) journal which I haven't read...OK, basically I should just write up a list of these. There are a few, though none of the non-fiction writings go into detail on the topic. Almost universally, they come down on the 'probably not' or 'impossible to know' side of things ... and I need to write the list, don't I?

Re Watson was a Woman, the fandom has flirted with those sorts of interpretation without fuss, IIRC, but it's not something that is frequently discussed with any seriousness. The attitude is more of a playful one IME, and delving more deeply is treated as something absurd (as though it is any more absurd than the rest of our dearly beloved fandom!! :)) It drives me round the bend sometimes, and come to think of it I know someone who was thinking of putting an article on the topic in the SHSL journal. Other members treated her suggestion positively, but I suspect that some in the fandom still consider the topic to be an irritation.

Date: 2010-06-04 12:10 pm (UTC)
marshtide: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marshtide
Do think this sounds like a beautiful idea (I'm late saying this! I know! life is oddly manic considering I'm not actually employed), though I'm not sure I'd have the nerve to actually put together an article for that sort of thing myself. I feel very... under-read? underqualified? unintelligent? one or possibly all of those things. But I would love love love essays about queer interpretations of this stuff.


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