Sherlock Holmes: Past and Present

21-22 June 2013

Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London

image: Author: Huw-J; Layouts: Huw-J; Pencils & Inks: JL Straw; Colour & Letters: Owen Jollands: The Young Sherlock Holmes Adventures (Markosia Enterprises, 2010)


This conference offers a serious opportunity to bring together academics, enthusiasts, creative practitioners and popular writers in a shared discussion about the cultural legacy of Sherlock Holmes. The Strand Magazine and the Sherlock Holmes stories contribute one of the most enduring paradigms for the production and consumption of popular culture in the twentieth- and the twenty-first centuries. The stories precipitated a burgeoning fan culture including various kinds of participation, wiki and crowd-sourcing, fan-fiction, virtual realities and role-play gaming. All of these had existed before but they were solidified, magnified and united by Sherlockians and Holmesians in entirely new ways and on scales never seen before. All popular culture phenomena that followed (from Lord of the Rings to Twilight via Star Trek) shared its viral pattern. This conference aims to unpick the historical intricacies of Holmesian fandom as well as offering a wide variety of perspectives upon its newest manifestations. This conference invites adaptors of and scholars on Holmes, late-Victorian writing, and popular culture internationally to contribute to this scholarly conversation. Our aims are to celebrate Conan Doyle’s achievement, to explore the reasons behind Holmes’ enduring popularity across different cultures and geographical spaces, and to investigate new directions in Holmes’ afterlife. This conference will precede Holmes’ 160th birthday in 2014 and launch a new volume of essays on Holmes co-edited by Dr. Jonathan Cranfield and Tom Ue, and form part of the larger celebrations in London and internationally.

This conference is generously supported by Blackwell’s Charing Cross Road; Guildhall Library; Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London; Intellect Books; MX Publishing; UCL Arts and Humanities, including the Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies; UCL Art Museum; UCL English; UCL European Institute; and the UCL Public Engagement Unit. The two competitions are sponsored by Pan Macmillan.

We thank Owen Jollands and Jane Straw for contributing all of the artwork; Carol Bowen, Stephen Cadywold, Anita Garfoot, and James Phillips from UCL English for their administrative help; Jon Millington from the Institute of English Studies in the School of Advanced Study at the University of London; Laura Cream from UCL Public Engagement Unit; Karen Attar for putting together the Conan Doyle display at Senate House Library; Martine Rouleau and Krisztina Lackoi for assembling an art collection relating to detective writing at the UCL Art Museum; and Daniel Corey for the Moriarty comic books.

We are grateful to David Grylls, Douglas Kerr, John Mullan, and all of the conference participants and volunteers for their contributions.



9.00-10.00am Registration: Crush Hall, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
10.00-10.30 Welcome and Introduction by John Mullan
10.30-11,50 PANEL SESSIONS 1:  

1A: Holmes' Imperial Legacy
Chair: Jessica Hindes

Samantha Naidu, 'Holmes in Africa: South African Crime Fiction and the Failure of Reason'

Vithal Rajan, 'Holmes and the Raj'

Hadas Fischer-Rosenberg, 'Sherlock Holmes in Palestine: Empire, Gender and the Image of the Detective'

1B: Sherlockiana
Chair: Emily Garside

Benoit Guilielmo, 'The Birth of a Textual Community: Early Sherlockiana (1927-1934)'

Atesede Makonnen, 'Holmes/Watson: Homosexuality and Fandom'

Nathan Murray, '"As Solemnly as a County Cricket Match at Lord's": Dorothy L. Sayers and Holmesian Scholarship'

1C: Holmes, Philosophy and History
Chair: Tom Ue

Jean-Pierre Naugrette, 'Back to the Reichenbach Falls: Sherlock Holmes with G. W. F. Hegel and J. M. W. Turner'

Marino Alvarez, 'Reading the Signs and Understanding the Codes 2 + 2 ≠ 4'

Alexander von Lunen, 'Holmes and History: An Ever-Popular Analogy'

1D: Modern Reading, Modern Readers
Chair: J. L. Cranfield

Michelle Yost, 'Sherlock Holmes: Modern Literary Virgil'

Somi Ahn, 'The Subversion of the Detective-Gaze Dynamics in the BBC's Sherlock'

11.50-12.00 Tea Break
12.00-1.20pm PANEL SESSIONS 2:  

2A: Holmes in the 19th Century
Chair: Samantha Naidu

Philip Harries, '"The Contemplation of a Single Bone": Sherlock Holmes and the Compulsion to Explain'

Tom Ue, 'Gissing, Conan Doyle, and the Writing Profession'

Jonathan Elukin, 'Beyond Anit-Semitism: Moriarty and the Cultural Legacy of the Medieval Jew'

2B: Psychology and Mythology

Chair: Sheri Chriqui

Robert Jones, 'Uncanny Detectives: Holmes, Freud and the Active Reader'

Michael Mayo, '"Every Possible Combination of Events May Be Expected": The Epistemology of Sherlock Holmes'

Wu Pin-Ta: 'The Remythification of Tibet through Detection in The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes by Jamyang Norbu'

2C: Literature, Magazines and the Marketplace
Chair: J. L. Cranfield

Tyler Shores, ‘The Persistence of Sherlock Holmes—Copyright, Adaptations, and Fan Culture'

Richard Burnip, 'Holmes and his Contemporaries'

Peggy Lee, 'Sherlock Holmes and the Victorian Popular Press'

1.20-2.10 Lunch
2.10-3.30pm PANEL SESSIONS 3:  

3A: Adaptations and Modernity
Chair: Jennie Han

Elizabeth Nielsen, 'Empty Attics and Mind Palaces: Visualization of Sherlock Holmes’ Thought Processes in Contemporary Adaptations'

Chung-Jen Chen, 'Biopolitical Sherlock: Information Technology and Liquid Modernity at Risk'

Rima Bertašavičiūtė, 'Being Sherlock Holmes: How Guy Ritchie Lets Us In'

3B: Holmes, Space and Place
Chair: Tyler Shores

Evita Badina, 'The Spatial Code in Sherlock Holmes Stories'

Emily Garside, 'A Study in Bute Street or Baker Street? Television tourism and Sherlock'

Marty Zeller-Jacques, 'The Dual Nature of a Singular Character: Enaction and Embodiment in Holmes-themed Games and Digital Media'


3C: Adaptation as Criticism
Chair: Sheri Chriqui

Ellie Ann Soderstrom, 'Sherlock Holmes: Bending the Canon'

Francesca De Bono, 'Obsessive Contemporising Disorder: Sherlock Holmes from Marylebone to Manhattan'

Shannon Smith: '"An Inch or Two from his Eyes": Sidney Paget and the Visual Register of Contemporary Adaptations of The Hound of the Baskervilles'

3D: Experiencing Holmes Anew
Chair: Tom Ue

Robert Ryan, ‘Dr Watson’s War’

Jonathan Barnes, ‘On writing new adventures on audio: into the interstices of canon’

3.30-4.00 Tea Break

Chair: Tom Ue.
David Grylls: 'The Savage Sub-text of The Hound of the Baskervilles'
Repondent: J. L. Cranfield

5.30 Ross K. Foad: 'No Place Like Holmes'
6.30 Drinks


9.30-10.00 Registration for late arrivals and one-day attendees
10.00-11.20 PANEL SESSIONS 4:  

4A: Holmes and the Moving Image
Chair: Tom Ue

Aaron J. Housholder, ‘Holmes, Bond, and The Dark Knight:
The Enduring Appeal of Those Who Patrol the Shadows’

Brinda Bhattacharya, 'Holmes and Detective Fiction'

James Brown, 'Sherlock Holmes Between Past and Present'

4B: Twentieth Century Afterlives
Chair: Tyler Shores

Connie Balides, 'The Phantasmatic Holmes and the Living Archive, circa 1951: The Festival of Britain'

Martin Wagner, 'They Might Be Giants, A Case of Identity, and the Fictionality of Holmesian Observation'

Julia Gordon-Bramer, '“The Detective”: Sylvia Plath’s tribute to Sherlock Holmes and the “Whodunit”'

4C: Writing Holmes Today: Character, Mash-up and Legacy
Chair: Sheri Chriqui

‘Holmes and Moriarty: A Steampunk Perspective on Reconnecting Character to Canon'. Creative panel discussion featuring authors
and publishers: Adrian Middleton, Mike Chinn, Theresa Derwin, David McIntee and Luke Kuhn.

4D: Irene Adler, Then and Now
Chair: B. J. Rahn

Sarah Christie, 'The Woman at Large: The Criminalization of Irene Adler in Contemporary Holmes Adaptations'

Delores Amorelli, 'A Study in Scarlet Women: Sex, Gender, and Power in Sherlock and Sherlock Holmes'

Anne Kustritz: 'Welcome to New York, Mr Holmes: Geopolitics, Genre and Gender in Elementary'


Tea Break

11.40-1.00 PANEL SESSIONS 5:  

5A: Pastiche, Fanfiction, Roleplay
Chair: Marino Alvarez

Becky Simpson/Lynn Alexander-Briggs, '"Mrs Hudson Took My Skull": Holmes and His Boswell in Cosplay and Roleplay'

Philip K. Jones, 'Doyle and the Illusion of Holmes'

Lauren Rosales, 'NSFW: A Study in BBC Sherlock Fanfiction'

5B: Performing Holmes
Chair: Emily Garside

Kayley Thomas, 'Performing Sherlock Holmes: The Detective as Dramatist'

James Bober, 'Becoming Sherlock / Owning Sherlock'

Benjamin Poore, '“...sat in the cabaret waiting for my appearance...”: Holmes as Master of Disguise'

5C: Holmes Abroad
Chair: J. L. Cranfield

Salinee Antarasena, '“Thai-ing”: Siamese Holmes, The Classic (2453 – 2495 B.E.)'

Lillian Li-hsing Ho, 'A Case of Identity: Sherlock Holmes and the Modernisation of Taiwanese Language'

Annie En-Yu Shao, 'Japanese Sherlock Holmes: Detective Mitarai Kiyoshi's Casebook'

1.00-2.00 Lunch  
2.00-3.20 PANEL SESSIONS 6:  

6A: Holmes, Illustration and Visual Culture
Chair: Sarah Christie

Jessica Sellin, ‘SHER-locked: Unlocking Sherlock’s Post-Modern Narrative Through Technology’

Ron Tiner, 'Illustrated Holmes'

Jeanine Rose/Stuart Barnett, 'The Moriarty Meme'

6B: Holmes in Context, 1880-1920
Chair: Jennie Han

Luke Seaber, '"Many Acquaintances, and Those in the Most Different Classes of Society": Sherlock Holmes as Social Explorer'

Charlotte Charteris, '"British Prejudice in all its Queer Manifestations": Sherlock Holmes, Crime Fiction and the Appeal of the Queer'

Lillian Chen, ‘Femme Fatale and Occultism in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Vampire Stories’


6C: Holmes in Action
Chair: Tyler Shores

Sharon Marshall, ‘Watching the Detectives: Ideal Homes Exhibition – The Representation of CineVisual Holmes: Robert Downey Jr, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeremy Brett’

J. L. Cranfield, ‘Sherlock Holmes, Sport and Masculinity’

Sarah Weaver, ‘How Smart Is Watson? or, The Role of the Sidekick’

6D: Holmes Within Literature

Chair: Tom Ue

Jane Taylor, ‘The Poison Pen: forensic method from Hamlet to Holmes’

John Scaggs, ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Gothic’

Hsiu-Ling Lin, ‘Sherlock Holmes as the Dying Detective: Arthur Conan Doyle, Formosa Fever, Colonial Imagination and Tropical Medicine’

3.20-3.40 Tea Break  

Chair:J. L. Cranfield
Douglas Kerr: 'Holmes into Challenger: The Dark Investigator'
Respondent: Tom Ue

6.00 Conference Dinner

Optional Activities

Please note that the cost of these activities is not included in the conference registration fee; participants will be required to pay the additional fee to the appropriate organization at the event.  To sign up for individual events please see:

Date Time Location Event
20 June 11.00, 14.00 St Bartholomew's Hospital The St. Bartholomew's Hospital Tour will begin in the church of St Bartholomew the Less.  It will cover the foundation of the hospital and the church itself, before moving around to the North Wing to look at the 18th-century redevelopment of the hospital, the Hogarth paintings, and the Great Hall.  The tour will finish with the museum. Cap: 25 people per time slot. Cost: £5
20 June 10.30 Wellcome Library From hallucinogenic plants to spiritualist beliefs, asylum patients to forensic experts, this behind-the-scenes visit to the Wellcome Library, Europe’s largest History of Medicine Library, will uncover a surprising collection of material pertaining to the career and interests of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Cap: 20 people. Free
20 June 10.00, 13.30, 15.30 Highgate Cemetery Highgate Cemetery is a Grade-I listed Victorian cemetery in North London (opened 1839). Notable Victorian occupants include Karl Marx, George Eliot, John, Elizabeth and Catherine Dickens, Christina Rossetti, and Lizzie Siddall. This private tour, with a crime-and-punishment theme, will take visitors around the West cemetery (only accessible to tour groups), visiting a number of gravesites as well as the Egyptian avenue and the catacombs. Visitors will then have the opportunity to visit the East side of the cemetery at their leisure. Cap: 10 people per time slot.  Cost: £12
20-21 June

June 20: 18:30;

June 21:       13:30 & 16:00  

Christopher Ingold G21 Ramsay LT, UCL

Skilfully weaving parody and speculation, Robin Johnson’s Broken Holmes was a sell-out hit at the Edinburgh Fringe 2009. Now the show returns with the original cast. A murdered duke. A deadly snakebite. Decades of unlikely backstory deduced from a single marmalade stain. Sherlock Holmes investigates. But the real mystery is, why does an intelligent, sensitive soul like Watson stay in a relationship with an abusive, egotistical drug-addict? Cost: Free for conference attendees; £5 for NUS; £10 regular

21 June 18.00 Chancellor's Hall, Senate House First Floor Writer, director, and star Ross K. Foad will introduce a screening of selections from his No Place Like Holmes video series.
22 June 18.00 Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes Conference Dinner. Cap: 70 people. Cost: £30


Thank-you very much for your interest in Sherlock Holmes: Past and Present

If you have a query about internal matters, such as changes to your abstract and your biography for the programme, and/or if you need a letter for application purposes, please contact Jon at For external matters, including the exhibition and sale of your published work, public engagement, and research outcomes, please write Tom at  For information about traveling around London, please contact Lissy at or check out this handy guide.

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We look forward to welcoming you to London in June.

The Organizers

General Enquiries: The School of Advanced Study is part of the central University of London. The School takes its responsibility to visitors with special needs very seriously and will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments to its facilities in order to accommodate the needs of such visitors. If you have a particular requirement, please feel free to discuss it confidentially with the organiser in advance of the event taking place.

Jon Millington, Events Officer, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU; tel +44 (0) 207 664 4859; Email: