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254 himself assiduously avoided in his own stories); Holmes's involvement in science fiction adventures; a few pornographic parodies; parodies revolving around puns; and the very few pastiches or exact imitations. For each title Herbert indicates, very briefly, the subject, the characters involved, and the action. Herbert appends the original publication data in a "Bibliography and General Index," as well as gives separate indexes of actual persons, of characters in fiction, legend and scripture, and of parody names. Parodists have shown much ingenuity and humor in renaming the great detective. A sampling includes Hamlock Bones, Hemlock Jones, Homlock Shears, Picklock Holes, Schlock Homes, Sheerluck Homes, and Shylock Bones. Though parody, in the hands of writers such as Fielding, Jane Austen or Thackery, could be a penetrating form of literary criticism, most of the hundreds of Holmesian parodies have no serious purpose but are vehicles of fun, nonsense, slapstick and punning. Puns alone are the rai son d'etre for a large number of these parodies, and many more are aimed at Holmes's powers of deduction which often seemed "too good to be true" and thus an obvious target. Other neoHolmesian stories, especially pastiches, are obviously a form of affection, leading Holmes into adventures never recorded by Dr. Watson. The great numbers of parodies and pastiches based on Sherlock Holmes certainly indicate how popular he has been, for neither genre can be effective unless the original is well known. This never-ending expansion of the Holmes legend is similar to that surrounding King Arthur or Robin Hood. In Sherlock Holmes, Doyle created a character who fascinates bibliographers like Green and Gibson, never fails to intrigue source hunters like Klinefelter, and captures pasticheographers like Herbert—a fictional character who has attracted an amazing amount of attention from his earliest appearance until today. Edward Lauterbach Purdue University 4. LOOKING AT MRS. WILDE Anne Clark Amor. Mrs London: Sidgwick ____ Oscar Wi 1 de: A Woman of Some Importance. & Jackson, 1983. L8.95 During the year I spent in London some time ago, I found several books on Oscar Wilde in used book stores that I had never seen listed in a bibliography. These books were apparently intended for nonacademic readers with enough interest in culture to want to hear — or perhaps hear again-about Wilde's wit, extravagance, and sensational downfall. This book is more substantial than those, but it seems directed toward a similar audience. This is a biography of Constance Wilde focusing mainly on the period of her marriage. The divisions of the narrative are drawn largely from the phases of Oscar's career. Anne Clark Amor has, in effect, retold Wilde's story as the Wildes' story. As her title implies, Amor wants to increase our appreciation of Constance, who usually receives limited attention in discussions of Oscar. Prospective readers should note that this is not a feminist book in any strong 255 sense. While Amor recounts with approval Constance's involvement, particularly during the early years of the marriage, with enlightened social movements, she admires most the courage, loyalty, and affection Constance displayed as wife and mother in very difficult circumstances. Amor's admiration for these virtues is such that she concludes the book with this estimate—one she thinks Constance would have accepted: "Her proper role in life was simply to be Mrs. Oscar Wilde" (p. 231) . Amor has obviously looked at a large body of material relevant to her subject, but this book will be of limited use to scholars. There are too many places where one cannot tell what her evidence is for her claims. When we come to Constance and Oscar's first meeting at a party, we are told that "Oscar, attracted by her flower-like beauty, suggested that they take a turn about the square together, and there in the summer twilight they exchanged confidences" (p. 21). There is presumably a document supporting this reconstruction, but it is not identified for us. Perhaps the intended audience for the book would find the identification a distraction. Later we hear that Constance's collection of Oscar's epigrams, Oscari ana, "was the most important of Constance's literary works, and far outshone her previous...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 254-256
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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