Category: Classics

Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle

We Have a New Letter From Hopeful, Unpublished Arthur Conan Doyle

“Dear Sir. I venture to submit to your notice the accompanying tale ‘The actor’s duel’. I once before trespassed upon your valuable time by sending up a sketch which did not come up to your standard – I trust that this may meet with a better fate. However defective the working out maybe I am conscious that the denouement is both original and powerful, worthy, I hope, of the traditions of your magazine.”

The above excerpt is taken from a letter written by Sherlock Holmes creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The British writer would have turned 160 years old this past week (May 22). On Wednesday, The National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh shared a picture of the letter on their Twitter account while appropriately hashtagging #SherlockHolmesday. Doyles’ words are indicative of a crucial period in the life of all creatives—a time when one is starving for success.

 

 

137 years ago, before knighthood, Arthur Conan Doyle found himself at the ripe age of twenty-two, (tactfully) pleading for publication. Like all young writers, Doyle was equipped only with a vague understanding of what he wanted to say to the world—it was just a matter of finding the right words. Regardless, his letter conveys obvious confidence in his ability to wow.

 

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The “original” and “powerful” denouement Doyle refers to is the climax of his short story—after having stopped the abduction of his sister, a young actor (who had just won the role of Laertes in Shakespeare’s Hamlet) finds out that one of the kidnappers is a colleague of his, a fellow actor playing Hamlet in the same play. In their next performance, the two use real swords in a duel, which grants the production a realness that the audience uproariously applauds. The crowd is unaware the two are actually fighting to the death. The duel plays out in a very art-imitating-life/Aronofsky-Black-Swan-esque way that makes the reader question the integrity of artistic perception.

According to an article on edinburghlive‘s website, Doyle asked Blackwood’s Magazine to consider his short story, then entitled “The Actor’s Duel.” At the beginning of the letter, Doyle reveals the publication had previously rejected another one of his short stories, “The Haunted Grange of Goresthorpe.” Despite his best efforts, Blackwood’s turned Doyle down again (idiots); however, “The Actor’s Duel” was eventually published two years later as “The Tragedians” in Bow Bells Magazine.

In 1887, A Study in Scarlett was published—the first of many stories concerning the adventures of detective Holmes and Dr. Watson. In addition to tales surrounding the famous detective, Doyle also wrote many science fiction and historical and novels, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction, yadda, and yadda. The writer was prolific and will go down in history as the man who made Benedict Cumberbatch what he is today… whatever that is, exactly.

 

Image Via Writeraccess.com 

 

Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t start writing until she was forty-three, and she wasn’t published until sixty-five—two  full decades later. Harry Bernstein didn’t get published until he was ninety-six. Susan Boyle didn’t “dream the dream” until she was forty-seven, and Colonel Harland Sanders didn’t franchise his fried chicken business until well past forty. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s successes may not have come as late in life as those of the other icons mentioned, but this letter is an important reminder: (Yoda voice) the greatest teacher, failure is.

 

Image Via Snopes.com

 

 

Featured Image Via Sherlock-Sherlockian.com

 

James Bond’s Iconic Aston Martin Could Be Yours

Ian Fleming‘s iconic character of James Bond was known for always traveling with a slick set of wheels—and these wheels belonged to none other than the Aston Martin.

 

The Aston Martin

Image Via Birmingham Post

 

The 1963 DB5 Aston Martin made its first appearance in 1964’s Goldfinger before reappearing the next very next year in Thunderball. Those appearances, and its subsequent reappearances in later Bond films (it has it’s very own Stan Lee-like cameo!) have made the ’63 Aston Martin a staple of cinema. It’s a movie car, with its tricked out with battering rams, retractable bulletproof glass, the ability to produce oil slicks, and an ejector seat.

I’ve always wanted one, and now I have a chance to get one.

 

Replica of James Bond after using the ejector seat

Image Via Flickr

Thankfully, according to Forbes, a replica of the James Bond’s iconic vehicle that includes all those fun gadgets will be available at “[t]he twentieth edition of Bonhams’ annual Aston Martin sale is to be held for the first time at The Wormsley Estate in the Chiltern Hills, about an hour outside of London”.

CNN states that the news first hit us about “[t]en months ago” when “Aston Martin announced it would build a limited number of 1964 Aston Martin DB5s, just like the one Sean Connery, as James Bond, first drove in the movie Goldfinger.

 

The Aston Martin

Image Via Slash Film

According to the Guardian, the Aston Martin is tricked out to the extreme. The company made a partnership with Bond film producer, Eon Productions, and got in contact with Chris Corbould, a special effects expert who created many of the effects for the Bond film franchise, in order to create a car as close as humanely possibly to the film’s iconic vehicle.

But it wasn’t easy, since, according to Corbould:

“We have licence in the film world to ‘cheat’ different aspects under controlled conditions. For instance, we might have four different cars to accommodate four different gadgets. We obviously don’t have that luxury on these DB5s as all the gadgets have to work in the same car all the time.”

 

Concept drawings for the Goldfinger DB5

Image Via The Guardian

What they’ve come up with though is pretty amazing. Here are some of the features:

-Guns appear from the front lights

-Guns that flash on and off that emit a “machine gun-like sound” when the driver pulls the “trigger” instead of shooting real bullets

-A telephone in the driver’s side door

-A faux radar-tracker screen

-A weapons tray hidden under the leather seats.

-282-brake-horsepower engines able to from 0-60mph in 7.1 seconds with a top speed of 148mph.

-Battering rams

-Retractable bulletproof glass

-The ability to produce oil slicks to foil chasing vehicles.

-Revolving number plates

-Rear smokescreen

Unfortunately the car lacks the ejector seat that it’s famous for!

 

Bond right before he presses the ejector seat

Image Via Youtube

A spokesperson sensibly asked,

“Can you imagine the challenge of getting the ejector seat past health and safety?”

Good point.

Twenty-five cars have been made and will be be sold at a price of £2.75 million, which is about $3.5 million.

I know I’m not the only one who has always dreamt of owning this car and, if you give me enough money, then that dream will become a reality.

 

Featured Image Via Fortune

Lady Chatterly's Lover up for Auction

Export Ban on Judge’s Copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover

In October 2018, a copy of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover went up for auction and went for £56,000, more than the expected £15,000. The only issue is that this book belonged to a judge, Sir Laurence Byrne.

Lawrence wrote the book just before his death, and it was only published in Italy and France in 1920. the book was seen to be too scandalous to publish in the U.K. That changed in 1960 when Penguin Books decided to go ahead with the publication. The publishing house was then put on trial for obscenity.

 

D.H. Lawrence author of Lady Chatterly's Lover

image via the new york times

Now, a copy of the book has been banned from leaving the U.K. 

The paperback contains the original markings by judge Sir Laurence Byrne’s wife Lady Dorothy, highlight sexually explicit content. Lady Dorothy also kept running notes, keeping track of passages and page numbers, where she had added her own comments.

The publisher was eventually found not guilty, which made the trial that much more sensational. The case served as a test of the previously passed 1959 Obscene Publications Act, beginning the divide between the old establishment and a new era.

The book was purchased at auction for £56,250 last year, but the buyer wants to take it abroad. According to the BBC, “those who want to export items of cultural significant from the UK must apply for a licence.” The temporary block on the book’s export means that anyone interested in purchasing the book has until August 9th to make this known, and an additional three months in which to secure the cost.

Featured Image Via Justcollecting News

Kate Winslet and the Black Beauty cover

Cast Announced for Adaptation of 1877’s ‘Black Beauty’

Anna Sewell’s classic 1877 novel Black Beauty is getting a film adaptation, and Mackenzie Foy and Kate Winslet have been added to the cast. Within in the last years of her life, Anna Sewell was living alone when she wrote Black BeautyIt was published in 1877 and came an immediate best seller. Thankfully, Anna Sewell saw its success before dying in 1878 at the age of fifty-eight,  just five months after its publication.

 

Anna Sewell
IMAGE VIA PINTEREST

 

With fifty million copies sold, Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time and in 2003 was was listed at number fifty-eight on the BBC’s survey The Big Read.

A first person narrative, the novel follows the titular horse named Black Beauty as she goes through trials and tribulations, all the while keeping alive a bond between a seventeen-year-old girl who recently lost both her parents.

Adolescence director Ashley Avis will be directing Black Beauty, adapting her own script based on the novel. Hollywood Reporter notes that “[i]n a significant change from Sewell’s book, in which Black Beauty is a carriage horse, in the new adaptation, she is a a wild mustang captured on the Wyoming Plains.”

 

Ashley Avis
IMAGE VIA SHOOTONLINE

Perhaps this change will add a little spice to this adaption, which this over hundred year old story desperately needs considering it is already been adapted multiple times for both film and television. The most recent version was back in 1994 which starred Sean Bean, star from The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, and David Thewlis, known for his role in the Harry Potter film series and Professor Lupin and Ares in Wonder Woman. Alan Cumming, who played Nightcrawler in X2: X-Men United, was the voice of the horse.

In related news, Kate Winslet, of Titanic fame, who also won an Oscar for her performance in The Reader, will be the voice of the horse. Kate Winslet has done voice acting before, notably in the family classic Flushed AwayVariety reports that Mackenzie Foy, whose been in the last two Twilight movies, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and Interstellar will play Jo, the young girl who befriends Beauty.

 

Mackenzie Foy (left), Kate Winslet

Image Via Hollywood Reporter

 

Producing the film will be Jeremy Bolt and Robert Kulzer, who teamed on the Resident Evil franchise. Martin Moszkowicz will serve as the executive producer. Previously he was the producer on 3096 Days and Crazy Heart.

According to Deadline, “Bolt Pictures and Constantin Film are teaming to produce the pic, which will mirror the events of the original 1877 book while bringing them into a modern light”. Currently, the film is in pre-production. Interestingly, Deadline also wrote that “…Constantin said Tuesday it is bringing to the Cannes market beginning next week,” apparently to secure funding.

Let’s hope they get it!

 

Featured Image Via Deadline