Another excellent book this week: The Sherlockian by Graham Moore. The book alternates between late 1800’s/early 1900’s London and modern day. I absolutely LOVE any stories about pre-modern times London. The story includes many details about the writing of Arthur Conan Doyle, including the extreme reaction that society had when he killed off Sherlock Holmes. I found it fascinating to learn that he was good friends with Bram Stoker, who at that time was a theater worker of low status and was struggling to write a book. Conan Doyle often ridiculed him for being an unsuccesful writer, and Stoker may have felt jealous over his success.
The novel also includes other interesting info such as descriptions of the woman’s suffrage movement in Europe. Here’s a great quote from the book which really sums up what it was like for woman around 1900: “The women of England have but three choices in this age. We toil with our hands, we toil with our cunts, or we marry rich and toil with our very hearts.” Another great segment of the book from a speech given at a pro-suffrage meeting: “In years past, the government concerned itself solely with the affairs of men. But in recent years, the state has seen fit to involve itself in matters of education, in matters of child rearing, and in matters of the home. The preoccupations of women are becoming the preoccupations of society as a whole. As a result, women must have a say in the conduct of their government. Women now seek to involve themselves in the life of their government because their government has involved itself in their lives! To grant women the right of suffrage will not cause them to abandon their society obligations but rather cause them to more effectively fulfill them!” I love this quote. But isn’t it unfortunate that all these years later, after all the fighting for women’s rights, that many men in government still feel they can have a say over what is best for a woman?