Saving Private Sherlock

Yes, it’s a war, against developers, money reasons and lack of Reason. It’s a war that The Undershaw Preservation Trist (UPT) fights everyday, since 2009, in order that future generations get the chance to discover a place that can’t be ignored in the History of literature.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s home must be saved. It’s the Scottish doctor who gives it live, writing there some of the most famous adventures of his detective.

Places have history, place have soul, and the Undershaw estate, located in Surrey and imagined by Doyle for his family, has obviously one.  Despite the decay in which it has laid for the last years, its greatness is still there and just wants to rise from its ashes and reminds us that, behind the most emblematic characters of the literature, there is always a great author, a man or a woman often very different from what we imagine, who had need place to write, place which were refuge, inspiration, haven…

If the French are lucky enough to have Maurice Leblanc’s house, the place in Etretat where the father of the Arsène Lupin gentleman-thief had written his adventures, the British haven’t got a place for Doyle. Holmes has a museum, but his creator disappears – as he had feared it – behind his creature…

And it’s why Undershaw must be saved. It’s why the Undershaw Preservation trust has born in 2009. The association, whose patron is Mark Gatiss (Co-creator of BBC Sherlock with Steven Moffat… but you already know that), has appeared through the impetus given by some indomitable people who know Undershaw is a national treasure – word-wild! Just think about the impact of the character of Sherlock Holmes at the planet scale – a treasure we must not leave disappeared, or become anonymous flats for privileged persons unaware of the heritage destroyed to offer them a high-standard cosy little nest…  You can’t stop progress, but the past is the founding stone of the future, and Undershaw is a founding stone in Sherlock Holmes’ history…

In this fight, a brilliant initiative was born, The Empty House.

The Empty House … The abandoned house… but also the moment where Sherlock Holmes, after 10 years spent in Limbo, has resurrected. And, the 23th of May 2012, after a word-wild calling, was publish The Empty House, a new empty house which, thanks to the many famous or anonymous fans of Doyle and Holmes, was furnished with 30 short-stories, all written for the glory of the master and his heroes, new stones which will help to rebuilt Undershaw.

And this year, I was lucky enough to participate in the follow-up of the project. The Empty House is  about to become La Maison videLa Casa Deshabitada, Het Lege Huis, Sherlock Holmes und das leere Haus, La Casa VuotaThe empty house, thanks to some enthusiastic voluntary translators is about to touch new readers in 6 new languages (French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Dutch). Being a part of the translation team, and understand the enthusiasm of the budding writers, translators, militants; it’s a great joy. Just imagine… I guess the process was the same in all countries. For the French-speaking team, we are seven translators, from all horizons, for 30 short-stories, with the desire to do their best, not to betray Holmes or Sherlock. Just imagine the hours of translations, the long wondering, the time which flies, the proof-readings, the validation, and now, waiting to see the book fully finish, print (or as an e-book!) as the Undershaw Preservation Trust is already preparing a new project, a new book by the fans and for them…

In fact, the empty house is not empty anymore. The empty house has a huge soul made of the love the fans have for Sherlock Holmes and his creator. The house is full of memories, full of strength, full of dreams… And this book about to come to the world in six new languages, as the association’s new project, is a vivid proof of this.

For more information about Undershaw and his fight, you could go to this website, Benedict :

4 réflexions sur “Saving Private Sherlock

  1. Puisque tu en parles… je vais sans doute avoir besoin de tes services… J’ai prévu de faire un numéro des holméseries sur Undershaw, histoire de faire le « bilan » un an après mon premier billet sur le sujet, etc…
    Bref, je dois envoyer un mail à l’UPT, mais histoire de compléter la chose, tu crois qu’une interview de l’une des traductrices serait possible ? ^^

      • Pas de photo, alors. c’est toi qui vois. J’essaye de m’occuper de ça cette semaine, histoire d’avoir assez de temps pour la récupération des infos, la rédaction; la mise en page… (tu as le droit de me houspiller si je traine trop)

      • je ne houspillerai pas! par contre, je risque pour les anecdotes pas de soucis (certaines resteront entre nous, chère journaliste en herbe 😉 ) je pense que tu as pas mal à faire déjà avec tes crash tests étrange (une amie m’avait entraînée à une expo photo de vrais cadavres… Rien que les photos je suis pas remise, alors… mais la je fais du HS!

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