Wednesday, July 30, 2014

See Sherlock

Originally created in 1877 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, one of the first great fictional detectives, continues to be a well-known fictional hero.  He is known as well to movie goers and television viewers through the use of Doyle’s original works that have been transferred to the screen in a variety of ways.  Arthur Conan Doyle’s four novels and fifty-six short stories about Holmes and his illustrious sidekick Dr. Watson provide the basis for both reading and viewing pleasure.  Among those who enjoy the stories, Sherlock Holmes is considered to be an extremely adaptable character.  Considering the number of actors who have portrayed him, this must certainly be true.
The BBC television series Sherlock has brought Holmes and Watson to the forefront again for contemporary audiences by moving the original stories to the 21st century.  The contemporary Holmes uses cell phones along with a number of technical tools as aids in solving crimes. Dr. John Watson supports Holmes’ endeavors and authors a blog.  Sherlock uses all of his powers of ratiocination to see inside the minds of the characters and thereby determine their motives.  The great stories that have been written for the screen are adaptations from Doyle’s works of fiction.  His first Holmes and Watson novel,  A Study in Scarlet, was published in 1887.  The complete short story collection was published in 1928.   
The Al Harris Library owns copies of all of the original works, so stop by the display and take a look at the collections of short stories, the novels, and other works that evolved from the original writing of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Check out a book and learn about the original characters and how they compare with Sherlock, Elementary, Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr., and Young Sherlock Holmes, as well as the older versions starring Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells

““I don’t know if you have had the same experience, but the snag I always come up against when I’m telling a story is this dashed difficult problem of where to begin it.””

The writer’s block expressed by character Bertie Wooster in the opening chapter of Right Ho, Jeeves never bothered his creator, P.G. Wodehouse.  Wodehouse wrote 96 books during his long career, 10 novels and more than 30 short stories about the rich-but-dim Bertie Wooster and his gentleman’s gentleman Jeeves, who routinely works behind the scenes to keep his young master out of trouble.   For almost 100 years, readers’ funny bones have been tickled by these tales of the foibles of the British upper-class during the early part of the 20th Century.

The publication of Jeeves and the Wedding Bells: an Homage to P.G. Wodehouse by Sebastian Faulks provides a good excuse to revisit the work of Wodehouse.   Faulks’ does a fine job of providing Wodehouse fans with a return to the fumbling of Bertie Wooster  and the stratagems  of Jeeves.  By its end, the story wraps up loose ends for that series of stories.

Another homage to Wodehouse can be seen in two comedic novels by Douglas Adams,   Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.  The late Adams was a great admirer of Wodehouse. 

The work of Wodehouse can be viewed in the British television drama  Jeeves and Wooster.  The show appeared on public television from 1985-1999 and starred Hugh Laurie in the role of Wooster.  Laurie loved the role and stated,

" PG Wodehouse is still the funniest writer ever to have put words on paper. Fact number two: with the Jeeves stories, Wodehouse created the best of the best. "

A display the works of P.G. Wodehouse can be seen at the Al Harris Library.  All materials can be checked out. Take a look at these works and see if you agree.