Thursday, June 11, 2015

Question about the Gloria Scott

A couple of days ago I posted about starting what I am calling "Mr. Fosters Opus". An in depth, I hope, research project into a Sherlockian topic I find interesting.

In that post I stated that if while doing my research I came up with a few unrelated discussion points I would post them as they came up.

So here goes. . .

Chronologically most all Sherlockians list GLOR as the first story in the Canon of Sherlock Holmes.
And it is true that it is the first 'case' Holmes was involved in where he actually believed he had found his calling. Taking place many years before he comes to know Watson, the story is basically about Holmes understanding the value of his skills and how he can apply them.

But if we are to actually look at this 'case' chronologically,  placing it at the beginning of any book where the stories are in some kind of, well, chronological order would be an error.

By placing it first we are forgetting that the discussion between Holmes and Watson takes place many years after Holmes travels with his friend Trevor for a summer break.

Going by a few of the introductory paragraphs we are led to believe Holmes and Watson have known each other for a while.

Do we bother to place other cases else where in the order because some other case is mentioned within?

We are completely, at least to my knowledge, forgetting the discussion about when this conversation took place around the fire that winters night.

1 comment:

  1. I've always wondered if Holmes related GLOR and MUSG about the same time to Watson in that period of the mid-1880s between the privately printed "Reminiscences of John H. Watson, MD" and the acceptance by Ward, Lock and Co. of the revamped manuscript now called "A Study in Scarlet" (but before it was actually printed in "Mrs Beeton's"). Justice Trevor writes "the laws were more harshly administered thirty years ago than now" about the barque Gloria Scott which set sail in October 1855 "when the Crimean War was at its height". Of course, that can't be right and I like to fault Watson for substituting the amount of years between 1885 and Holmes' telling of the case with the time between 1885 and the events at Donnithorpe, which would have been twenty. There are other math problems in the internal chronology of the story--Justice Trevor's age in 1855 and at Donnithorpe and also Victor Trevor's age: "We prospered, we travelled, we came back as rich colonials to England, and we bought country estates. For more than twenty years we have led peaceful and useful lives." How long after 1885 was Victor born?