Dror A. Mishani On:
From the Diary of Sherlock Holmes by Maurice Baring
In the last few years, several literature scholars have raised a fascinating theoretical question: Could it be that Sherlock Holmes (and the detectives who followed) was wrong? In other words: Can you read a detective story against the detective’s claim to truth? This short and brilliant story by British writer, poet and essayist Maurice Baring (1874-1945), which appeared in his wonderful book “Lost Diaries” (1913), proves that this question was raised at a time when Holmes and Watson were still among the living. It also proves that the parody of a genre or any literary form is always born at the same time as the form itself rather than after it (as “Don Quixote” is both the first novel and a parody of the novel) and that, generally speaking, parody can itself constitute an admirable piece of literature. This story, to me, is not only a parody of Holmes but one in which the immortal character of the detective is more intriguing and certainly more touching than in any other story.