· Essay One: Philosophy
Chapter Two · Essay Two: Religion
Chapter Three · Annotated Bibliography of Primary Sources
Chapter Four · Annotated Bibliography of Secondary Sources
Chapter Five · Annotated Bibliography of Tertiary Sources
Chapter Six · Supplementary Bibliography
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The study of Sherlock Holmes is formally referred to as 'The Grand Game.’ The use of the word ‘game’ might seem to accord a certain levity or lack of consequence for an activity that involves the preliminary assumption that Sherlock Holmes was a historical figure. This interpretation would severely underestimate the various significations of game as it is used in modern philosophy, psychology, literary studies and mathematics. More than mere play and recreation (although these are themselves potentially deep subjects), game poses serious philosophical (Schiller’s Speiltrieb and Wittgenstein’s language games) and mathematical (N-Person Game Theory) questions. From mimesis and role-playing through Nabokov’s mirror-play to magic realism and Bakhtin’s carnival, the homo ludens of Huizinga can be found to be carrying fairly weighty metaphysical implications.
The literature on the philosophical thought and religious beliefs (or lack thereof) of Sherlock Holmes is vast. The entries in the present volume’s bibliographies probably document less than a third of potential references. The main (if not only) criterion for inclusion was quite simply ready availability—presence on the author’s bookshelf. Age, health and computer illiteracy must excuse the failure to provide a more comprehensive review of the extant literature. It is hoped that this sampling adequately reflects the actual range of (sometimes not-so-) scholarly thought on the subject. Orthodox Holmesian clerisy will certainly consider the volume’s conclusions as onderbuik if not cacodoxy.
Primary Sources include quotations from the Canon that have been most frequently cited in papers discussing or alluding to Holmesian beliefs. When the apophthegm is discussed in the main body of the text, its presence here will be without further comment. When it is not further discussed in the text, some comment may be affixed.
Secondary Sources include quotations and abstracts from the Sherlock Holmes literature that discuss or allude to the Great Detective’s philosophical or religious beliefs. When the reference is not entered in the main body of the text, critical comment may be included. When the concluding statements to an entry seem to contradict the initial tenor of the entry, it may be assumed to represent editorial criticism.
Tertiary Sources include references to works in philosophy and logic, religion and theology, relevant to the argument in the main text. While the sampling of Sherlockian sources has aimed at a limited comprehensiveness, these more general references on philosophy and religion have, for obvious reasons, been even more severely curtailed and should be considered a convenience sample.
Other References include background materials and reference volumes not otherwise discussed or previously cited but found to be of some assistance in the writing of the present volume.
To simplify the main presentation and minimize the clutter of footnotes in an argument that invites an endless multiplication of sources, only selected references from the various Bibliographies will be cited in the text. Cross references to both cited and uncited sources will be made available in the Index.
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