Early Sherlockian scholarship: Non/fiction at play

Keywords: Arthur Conan Doyle, Fan fiction, The Grand Game, Mock-biography, Modernism studies, Dorothy L. Sayers, Sherlock Holmes


Sherlockian scholarship is a display of intellect, wit, and canonical expertise that requires a cunning manipulation of a story world and of nonfiction. This playful style of writing defies easy classification in the terminology of fan and literary studies. Emerging in the early 20th century, Sherlockian scholarship had a tremendous surge in popularity in the late 1920s and early '30s in articles by renowned British and American authors, including Dorothy L. Sayers, Christopher Morley, Sir Desmond MacCarthy, Sir Sydney Castle Roberts, and Ronald A. Knox. The sustained popularity of Sherlockian scholarship owes much to these initial players, whose sparkling prose conjures a bygone era of repartee. In this study, I present a chronological survey of two early periods in Sherlockian scholarship to understand its poetics, popularity, generic identity, and contemporary relevance.

Author Biography

Kate M. Donley, Norwich University
Department of English and Communications Adjunct Faculty
How to Cite
Donley, K. (2017). Early Sherlockian scholarship: Non/fiction at play. Transformative Works and Cultures, 23. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2017.0837