Eliot on Doyle

Over at Bookslut, Greer Mansfield has an excellent review of Michael Dirda’s On Conan Doyle: or, the Whole Art of Storytelling. Here’s the quote:

On Conan Doyle also delves into the strange world of Sherlock Holmes “scholarship.” Dirda spends a generous amount of time discussing the inner workings of exclusive Holmes societies like the Baker Street Irregulars (of which he is a member; On Conan Doyle is dedicated to them), sketching some of the wilder obsessions of Sherlock scholars, and evoking the romance of searching for antique and obscure books in dusty bookstores around the world. Book-hunting adventures have led Dirda to the original volumes of Strand Magazine in which Sherlock Holmes first appeared, and he mentions a fellow Irregular who somehow came into possession of T.S. Eliot’s copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes Short Stories. Eliot revered Holmes, and he once said that his favorite passage of English prose was this exchange from The Valley of Fear:

“Well,” cried Boss McGinty at last, “is he here? Is Birdy Edwards here?”

“Yes,” McMurdo answered slowly. “Birdy Edwards is here. I am Birdy Edwards.”

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