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Before Sherlock Holmes: How Magazines and…

Before Sherlock Holmes: How Magazines and Newspapers Invented the… (2012)

by Leroy Lad Panek

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A study of the detective story before the coming-of-age of the detective story by Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. A definite must for a reader that is interested in the history of the detective story. The amount of material that Panek combed through is astronomical. Other reviewers have chastised Panek for not analyzing the stories themselves. However, I do not believe that this was Panek's desire. Overall, a great discussion of the development of the detective story and how magazines and newspapers fostered this development.
  lmedgerton | Jan 8, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Before Sherlock Holmes offers a scholarly look into the history of detective stories of the first half of the 19th century. It's a competent enough approach, but somewhat tedious; this is not light reading for most people. It would certainly help to be familiar with the well-known pieces, the on-topic works of Poe, of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins.
  prosfilaes | Nov 14, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Interesting in some parts, but this one was a rather dry read with far too many details to keep my interest. I expected something much more engaging, not this analytic work. I admit that I did learn much about detective stories that I didn't know and the role of newspapers in their development, but it was a chore to read.

I received this one for free from Early Reviewers. ( )
  cmbohn | Jun 30, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This history of detective fiction traces the evolution of the genre in the 19th century from serial fiction. Authors like Poe, Dickens, and Collins became and remain popular, while others have been mostly forgotten.

The author credits the availability of digitized 19th century newspapers for making this history possible. His research revealed the surprising extent of plagiarism in 19th century serial publications. In many cases it was difficult for the author to pinpoint the original publication information, and sometimes even the author of a piece of fiction because it had been reprinted so many times with various, or no, attributions.

This is essentially a lengthy bibliographic essay that will be of interest mainly for students in advanced courses on the subject. The inclusion of spoilers for many of the titles mentioned in the text limit its usefulness as a reader's guide.

This review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | Jun 4, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In this book, Panek sets out to delineate the forgotten history of the detective story, focusing on the stories not written by the big names in detective fiction, such as Poe and Conan Doyle. Panek accomplished that goal, in that he tracks down early crime stories and introduces authors of such stories from the mid-to-late-nineteenth century that aren't really read today, as well as lesser-known mystery stories from famous authors such as Charles Dickens. However, the analysis in Before Sherlock Holmes is really lacking. Large sections of the book are just quotes joined together by mere sentences of Panek's own writing while other sections are just lists of story titles and the names of the magazines that published them. The lack of analysis or more substantial commentary weakens the book and also makes it far less interesting than the subject would suggest. ( )
  casvelyn | May 30, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786467878, Paperback)

Traditionally, the history of detective stories as a literary genre begins in the 19th century with the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Emile Gaboriau and a handful of other writers. The 19th century was actually awash in detective stories, though many, like the so-called detective notebooks, are so rare that they lay beyond the reach of even the most dedicated readers. This volume surveys the first 50 years of the detective story in 19th century America and England, examining not only major works, but also the lesser known--including contemporary pseudo-biographies, magazines, story papers, and newspapers--only recently accessible through new media. By rewriting the history of the mystery genre, this study opens up new avenues for literary exploration.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:00 -0400)

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