Authorship and authenticity in Sherlock Holmes pastiches

  • Sanna Nyqvist University of Helsinki
Keywords: Canon, John Dickson Carr, Detective fiction, Michael Dibdin, Adrian Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Fan fiction, Imitation, Nicholas Meyer, Pastiche


Rewritings and adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes stories are traditionally called pastiches among fandom. This article juxtaposes that established use with the literary critical notion of pastiche as imitation of style, and shows how stylistic affinity to the originals produces complex effects in the imitations. The article identifies two main strands in the pastiches: one that aims to correct the mistakes and fill in the gaps in the original stories, and one that supplements the canon with stories Watson left untold. Balancing among homage, criticism, and usurpation, the pastiches comment on the original story world and its cultural context, and engage in fictions of authorship to account for the apparent inauthenticity of the retellings.

Author Biography

Sanna Nyqvist, University of Helsinki
Postdoctoral Fellow and Principal Investigator, Comparative Literature, Dept. of Philosophy, History, Culture and Arts Studies