Monday, 22 November 2010

Our October Meeting

In attendance - Allan and Jennie Rae, Scott Stevenson, Noelle Carroll, Andy Lombardini, Louise Murray, Simone Hughes, Barry Young, Elaine Mcleary, Graham Walker, Sharon Mail, Paul, Douglas Murray and Mark Burns.
Another excellent meeting in The Boswell Hotel.
A Study in Scarlet was the topic - the first Holmes story for our first official meeting. A lot of the discussion focussed on the unusual structure of the novel, particularly the change, from major to minor, in the middle when Holmes and Watson give way to an American melodrama.
Did Conan Doyle know the impact his creatuon would have? Did he envisage Holmes as a regular character in a series of stories? How fixed were the personalities of Watson and Holmes from the first meeting?
Some of the members liked the central part of the story, others found it too much of a jarring change of pace.
It was unanimously agreed that Holmes was an extraordinarily complete character to emerge in a single story, and as a fully formed Consulting Detective with his faithful amanuensis was a triumph of the writer's art.
The influences on Doyle, from Edgar Allan Poe to Margaret Oliphant, were discussed, and there was an exchange of views on whether A Study in Scarlet was an appropriate choice for the first Holmes story to be read by a newcomer to the Canon.
Some members thought the strength of the London scenes and particularly the wonderful introduction scene made the book an obvious starting point - others felt the disjointed nature of the American scenes and the untypical nature of the novel made it more appropriate for later study, perhaps after the Adventures.
There was a practical demonstration of the unlikelihood of imobilising a man with a towel tied round his ankles, and much more general talk on Holmes and his world.
More to come...

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