Sherlockian.Net: William S. Baring-Gould


[Baring-Gould portrait]
William S. Baring-Gould at the 1950 Baker Street Irregulars dinner. Photo by Standard Studios, as reproduced in Irregular Crises of the Late 40's, courtesy of Bill Vande Water.

Bill Baring-Gould, 1913-1967

W. S. Baring-Gould was an executive of Time Inc. and a distinguished though modest Sherlockian (invested in the Baker Street Irregulars as "The Gloria Scott", 1952). On his death, Julian Wolff wrote in the Baker Street Journal that
he was one of our most knowledgeable Sherlockians and a scholarly, prolific writer. When one adds to this that he was a close personal friend of everyone in our far-flung group, it will easily be understood why it is truly impossible to put into words just how much he meant to us all and how great is our sorrow.
His major works:

The chronology of Holmes's life

All of Baring-Gould's work is based on his reconstructed chronology of Sherlock Holmes's life and work, as first expressed in his 1955 (privately published) book. Among its key features:

The Irene Adler affair

The idea that Holmes had an affair with Irene Adler in Montenegro in 1892, and that their son was the detective Nero Wolfe, was first presented by John D. Clark in the Baker Street Journal in 1956, but Baring-Gould seized on it with enthusiasm, in Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-Fifth Street as well as in his Sherlockian writings. According to his narrative, Holmes's last words were "Irene. Irene."

Other novelties in Baring-Gould's narrative

Baring-Gould seems to have invented several features of Holmes's biography that have been accepted by later writers and Sherlockians -- in some cases, readers actually assume that the original Holmes stories somehow confirm them. "If that isn't pastiche, I don't know what is," Sherlockian scholar Jon Lellenberg has commented.
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