DepositSherlock Holmes, Canon and Curiosities

By the end of this course, you will have encountered Sherlock in just about as many media and textual forms as the great detective has disguises: novels, short stories, illustrated serials in The Strand, plays, poems, essays, parodies, TV episodes, silent films, Hollywood films, comic books, and fan fiction. Each unit will require you to complete a very different type of written assignment: a pastiche, a juridical ruling, an annotated map, a scholarly introduction, and a critical book review. Throughout the semester, we’ll be visited by the undergraduate office to inform you about career options, academic student services, preregistration, and scholarships. In short, during this semester, you will become an expert on all things Sherlock Holmes, not only as a fan, but also as an English major.

DepositSherlock (Holmes) in Japanese (fan) works

I explore the history of Japanese writing centered on Sherlock Holmes as a means of interrogating the 2014 BBC Sherlock pastiche John and Sherlock Casebook 1: Jon, zenchi renmei e iku (The stark naked league), written by Japanese Sherlockian Kitahara Naohiko for mainstream publication by the publishing house Hayakawa shobō. I argue that exploration of the Japanese (fan) cultural contexts of Kitahara’s book begins to reveal the limits of the Anglo-American-centered framework through which fan studies scholars explore fan/producer relationships.

DepositThe Final Problem: Constructing Coherence in the Holmesian Canon

The death and resurrection of Sherlock Holmes, a contrarian reading in which Holmes helps the murderer, and the century-long tradition of the Holmesian Great Game with its pseudo-scholarly readings in light of an ironic conviction that Holmes is real and Arthur Conan Doyle merely John Watson’s literary agent. This paper relies on these events in the afterlife of Sherlock Holmes in order to trace an outline of the author function as it applies to the particular case of Doyle as the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories. The operations of the author function can be hard to identify in the encounter with the apparently natural unity of the individual work, but these disturbances at the edges of the function make its effects more readily apparent. This article takes as its starting point the apparently strong author figure of the Holmesian Great Game, in which “the canon” is delineated from “apocrypha” in pseudo-religious vocabulary. It argues that while readers willingly discard provisional readings in the face of an incompatible authorial text, the sanctioning authority of the author functions merely as a boundary for interpretation, not as a personal-biographical control over the interpretation itself. On the contrary, the consciously “writerly” reading of the text serves to reinforce the reliance on the text as it is encountered. The clear separation of canon from apocrypha, with the attendant reinforced author function, may have laid the ground not only for the acceptance of contrarian reading, but also for the creation of apocryphal writings like pastiche and fan fiction.

DepositSherlock and the British Actor Boom: ‘Regifting’ Female Fandom in Japan

Media industry efforts to monetize fandom have thrust issues of economy and labor to the forefront of present-day fan studies, centering on case studies that interrogate media producers’ strategies for both cultivating and capitalizing on fans of individual media franchises. Yet, such strategies (and the research they engender) are not always easily translated to a transnational context, in which television, in particular, is subjected to local vagaries of media distribution that can result in decentralized patterns of consumption. Japanese distribution of BBC’s Sherlock (2010 -) is one such example: debuting on national broadcaster NHK’s subscription-based BS Premium in 2011, then rebroadcast on premium channel AXN Mystery in 2012, Sherlock was a sleeper hit that flew under the radar of marketers and, notably, a publishing industry that has been among the greatest beneficiaries of foreign television fandom in Japan. Not until December 2012, when 500 predominantly female fans of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes turned out at Narita International Airport to greet him on his first Japan junket to promote Star Trek Into Darkness, did women’s magazine editors recognize the existence of a small but passionate Sherlock fandom in their midst. In this paper, I discuss how the visual and verbal rhetoric of the Sherlock-centered blitz that ensued in such publications as Elle Japon, Vogue, and Screen produced an ongoing British actor ‘boom’ that is emblematic of what Suzanne Scott has termed a ‘regifting economy’, in which the terms of smaller, and frequently female participatory fandoms are parlayed to more centralized consumption.

DepositGenre and …

Genres are everywhere and we all know how to use them. However, they are also elusive and hard to describe. We act and interact through genre, understand through genre, and organize through genre, but we have a hard time defining individual genres, and an even harder time understanding what a genre is and what a genre does. Therefore, genre is a central concept in many areas of scholarship today and is interlinked with many other central scholarly concepts, but its core function is still a subject of debate, and its connections with other core concepts remain sorely under-examined. Genre and … explores these connections in a series of articles that each analyzes the relationship between genre and one other central scholarly concept: conversation, rhetoric, categorization, paratext, interpretation etc., with examples spanning from Sherlock Holmes and avantgardistic literature to car commercials. The authors of the present volume have a common starting point in Scandinavian Studies, but span a wide field of scholarly tradition. Thus, taken together the articles in Genre and … are representative of an expanding and intriguing professional genre network.

MemberCamilla Hoel


“The Final Problem: Constructing Coherence in the Holmesian Canon”. Authorship 6.1 (2017).

“Fascinasjonen ved det utilgjengelige: ‘Love and Tensor Algebra’ ”. RISS 1 (2015). 88-94.

“Sherlock Holmes” Oxford Bibliographies in British and Irish Literature. Ed. Andrew Hadfield. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

“The Ludic Parody of Terry Pratchett”. FORUM: University of Ed…

I have a PhD in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh, and have  worked as an associate professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. I am currently working at the Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy as an associate professor of English. The main body of my research (including my PhD) has been on the reception of unfinished serial narrative and its implications for the figure of the author. I am exploring the function of endings in the reading of narrative texts, and more specifically who has the authority to posit an ending and how the attitude to the perceived authority of the author determines how we react to the unfinished text. The main focus for this research is Charles Dickens’ unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood, but it draws on other Victorian and Edwardian literature as well as the theories of Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Walter Benjamin and others. As an extension of this, I have recently been working on the early fan reception of the Sherlock Holmes stories, seeing ideas of authorship in light of the development of the Holmesian Great Game. In addition, I have recently done some research on contemporary (post-)apocalyptic fiction and ethical choice, and more widely on science fiction literature, ethics and power. Alongside my academic work I am a general bibliophile, a geek, a knitter (& spinner) and a feminist.

MemberDominique Gracia

I recently completed my doctoral work at the University of Exeter, using a Kittlerian perspective to focus on the treatment of art-objects in fin-de-siècle texts by Michael Field, Vernon Lee, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Oscar Wilde: Encounters with art-objects in discourse network 1890. I am the UK Administrative Director for NAVSA’s Central Online Victorian Educator (COVE) project, as well as an editor at HARTS&Minds, an interdisciplinary journal based at the University of Bristol.

DepositSherlock and Global Transfandom

When I proposed this paper, the idea was to examine a number of global iterations of Sherlock fandom from a transfandom perspective. However, as doing this in fact involvesgoing ‘deep’ in at least two popular cultural contexts in order to effectively pull out examples of how I believe transfandom works more generally in a transnational setting, my talk today will center mostly on Japanese Sherlock transfandom.