More parodies have been written targeting Sherlock Holmes than anyone else dead or alive, fictional or real. James M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, started it all back in the early 1890’s and Sherlockian parody has been coming out regularly ever since, right into the age of the internet.
While Sherlock’s creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lived, close to 400 appeared in Britain and America. In these early parodies, Sherlock is off on the wrong track in the great Coleslaw mystery, struggling with the disappearance of the President’s Whisker, rescuing that damsel in distress, Elsa Lohengrin, and even delving into the spirit world—-and much more.
Mark Twain, the Mr. Dooley of Finley Peter Dunne, Kenneth Grahame’s Ratty of The Wind in the Willows, John Kendrick Bangs, Bret Harte, Ring Lardner, C. K. Chesterton, and O. Henry all contributed to this early Bedside collection. Sherlock turns up at Wellseley College and Yale, Hades and The Garden of Eden, Peoria and the Oklahoma Territory, in the trenches of War I and often in his familiar Baker Street hangout.
Sherlockian Charles Press began collecting these early lampoons as a hobby after retiring from Michigan State University. He is the author of two Sherlockian monographs, Parodies and Pastiches, Buzzing Round Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Looking Over Sir Arthur’s Shoulder, and “When Did Arthur Conan Doyle Meet Jean Leckie?” in The Baker Street Journal.
A Bedside Book of Early Sherlockian Parodies and Pastiches is available from all good bookstores including Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle, Nook and Apple iBooks(iPad/iPhone).