Monday, March 8, 2010

Plaidder's musings

I see that Plaidder aka the Plaid Adder has written a couple of livejournal entries about Sherlock Holmes lately. Too bad that she doesn't want to see the film, though.

For those who aren't aware, she wrote a few H/W stories on Sacrilege, such as "Absurdly Simple" and "An Ideal Husband" under the pseudonym of Irene Adler.

In her LJ posts, I like her analysis of fandom and the peculiar madness of Sherlockians. She also discusses Rex Stout's "Watson Was a Woman" and points out how desperately Watson aches for even a crumb of affection from Holmes. He is one of the most long-suffering and patient of men. Few would tolerate such coldness from a friend or lover. Though of course we slashers secretly hope that Holmes actually expressed his love frequently, and that Watson only omitted such references to fool the public.

Of course when you stop playing the Sherlockian game and face up to reality, you know that Doyle did not consciously intend Holmes and Watson to be gay. But as I argued before, that doesn't mean Doyle's unconscious mind wasn't capable of ambiguity. Chris Redmond has argued that Doyle kept writing tales of adultery in his later works because he was sexually frustrated about his lack of intimacy with his dying wife Touie and his unconsummated romance with Jean Leckie. So he was working out his demons mentally since he refused to do so physically.

Doyle was also capable of some tolerance as well, because he remembered his dinner with Oscar Wilde fondly and he felt that homosexuality was an illness that had to be treated, rather than a crime to be punished with prison. I mean, it's still not good by modern standards, but at least he felt some compassion, even for the wrong reasons. Also, Doyle pleaded for mercy for the Irish nationalist Roger Casement when he was tried for treason, even when the "Black Diaries" detailing Casement's homosexual activities were sent round to quell anyone who sympathized with him. Although perhaps Doyle might have been one of the friends who thought the diaries were forged. :shrug: Who knows, now?

So anyway, my point was that perhaps some part of Doyle subconsciously detected that Wilde was gay at their literary dinner, and when he wrote more Holmes tales, he started trying to incorporate some of Wilde's wit into Holmes, such as his motto of "Art for art's sake" and his pithy bits of humour. And so, without realizing it, Doyle was making Holmes a little gay. Well, maybe that's too farfetched.

Holmes has gone far beyond his creator now, and the genie can't be put back in the bottle.

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