violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
The problem with the worst forms of prescriptivism applied to media is that they are trying to find a way to make people write media that absolutely no one will be offended or upset by.

Problem one: This is impossible. There is nothing that anyone finds appealing that someone else won’t really really dislike. And I don’t mean “be indifferent to”, I mean “be actively repulsed by”. And yes, I’m including fluffy happy fantasies of people taking care of each other: some people cannot read those without going into depressive spirals. Some people just get so bored they can’t finish them.

Problem two: No one ever loved a book just because it didn’t offend them.

No one ever loved a book just because it wasn’t terrible. It has to actually be good - by their definition of good. And that’s where Problem One comes in - as soon as a book is doing something a reader will love, it’s doing something that another reader will hate.

Some people want ass-kicking female characters who will protect their friends and conquer their enemies. Some people hate violence.

Some people want to read about gay male couples getting together and living happily ever after. Some people hate romance. Some people don’t want to read about men.

Some people love complicated deep beautiful prose and pages of exposition about a character’s inner state; some people want to get to the fucking point.

And all of this gets intensified when it comes to sex. Anything that anyone finds hot - urophilia, say, or anal play, or penises - someone else is going to find absolutely disgusting and an immediate turnoff.

The solution is insight, and self awareness. The solution is the ability to recognize that your own upset, or your own joy, is not universal.

Nothing is universal. Nothing will apply to everyone. That is the fundamental point of diversity - people are different. People want different things, and that’s good.

If you write something that makes at least one person happy, it will make someone else furious. Someone else will be bored. Someone else will be grossed out. Someone else will think it was okay but forgettable. Someone else will think it was lifesaving.

If you want to write something good, you need to be prepared to write something upsetting.
violsva: Mulan squinting at a bowl of food (morning mulan)
Okay, self. The reason we do not get into discussions of the thing is because it triggers perseveration which makes us unhappy. If we do get in a discussion of the thing, even if it’s because we have something important to say, the reblogs etc. will probably add to that. (Also, the vast majority of my followers: do not, thankfully, care about the thing at all.) You came up with a whole bunch of fic ideas during July. It is probably better to focus on those. If that means staying away from anywhere that is not highly curated, by me, then we will have to do that.

I don’t seek out posts about how Gifted kids are all spoiled brats, and I’m not going to seek out posts about this. It can go on without my involvement. If other people aren’t saying what I think should be said, I’ll live, and so will they.

(oh, fandom)
violsva: Geoffrey Tennant, offering a skull (have a skull)
[I am currently copying over posts I like from tumblr; my apologies for any weirdnesses on your reading page]
violsva: Sidney Paget illustration of Holmes and Watson, seated, with the caption "Cut out the poetry, Watson" (Holmes)
missdaviswrites:
If he laid on his left side, the damaged muscles in his shoulder protested at the weight. The obvious solution seemed to be to sleep on his right, but when he did he invariably woke up with a cramp in his leg—he’d limped on that side for too long for it ever to be fully pain-free again. If he was twenty years younger he would’ve slept on his stomach, but he wasn’t, so he slept on his back. Which would’ve been fine, if it weren’t for the dreams. Therapists, fellow doctors, friends: everyone told him that bad dreams weren’t dependent on the position in which he slept, but they were wrong. All of his nightmares ended with him flat on his back, staring up at the ceiling.

He never told Mary, not in so many words, because what was the point? She couldn’t solve any of his problems, physical or otherwise. But after a few months of sleeping together he realized that she knew. He still had the bad dreams, but now, whenever he woke from them, she was there, a hand on his arm, skin touching skin, comforting and calming him enough that he could finally sleep in peace.

(i would write the part with room for sherlock but basically that’s already half of my posted works on AO3)

Me:
She’d trained herself to wake up as soon as the nightmares started. She didn’t always know where she’d be sleeping, or with whom, and wakefulness was better than having to explain screaming at night. Even in her new civilian life, she didn’t want to have that conversation with casual boyfriends. Easier to avoid any mention of it, any memories from it.

So when her dream-self saw lightning, or dark empty hallways, or felt the solid comfort of a gun in her hand, she woke up at once. Every time.

John didn’t. John, she knew without asking, lived through all of his awful memories again some nights, unable to stop them. Usually it was Afghanistan, now. So she tried to fall asleep facing him, touching him, so when he woke up he knew she was there.

And when she woke up she was looking right at him, every time, and knew where she was, and who she was, and why she was here.

missdaviswrites:
Sherlock never slept in John and Mary’s bed. The activities in which the three of them engaged after the baby went to bed always energized him rather than tiring him out, so he didn’t need to sleep in the space they left for him, though sometimes he liked to stay and watch them breathe. John twitched when he had nightmares; Mary’s body grew rigid and tried to draw in on itself, as if she could make herself small enough to escape from whatever pursued her. Early on he tried drugging them both into a more restful slumber, but his efforts had not been well-received, so he learned other ways to soothe: deep, soft whispers, a gentle nudge, the sound of his violin playing from the next room. When it seemed they both had a particularly unsettled night, he would take care of the baby’s breakfast and morning routine for them, letting them sleep as long as possible after the sun rose, when they transitioned into better dreams. No one ever mentioned any of this, but they all knew they had found the best arrangement possible for three people who’d once been so thoroughly alone.

(Miss Davis, if you see this and want it down/elsewhere just tell me <3)
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
So I’ve just finished rereading The Seven-Per-Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer, and it is an excellent story and I love it, but it did remind me of something.

Because it has a swordfight on the roof of a moving train. And Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes by Loren D. Estleman has a high speed hansom cab chase through London. These are not isolated examples. (And in BBC Sherlock, of course, Dr. Watson commits more murders in the first two episodes than he does in all of the canonical stories combined.)

And a claim I see a lot is that fangirls make everything about romance. Which is not completely inaccurate.

But fanboys tend to make everything about ridiculous action movie scenes. Which isn’t any more in the spirit of the originals, really.
violsva: A graffiti white maple leaf surrounding the words Toronto Maple Waffles (toronto maple waffles)
Ransom checked under Holster’s bed. Then under his blanket, although if it had been there they might have had to have a really awkward Talk. Then under the dresser. Then in the closet. Again.

Then in his hockey bag to make sure he hadn’t just left it there from last practice.

“The fuck,” he muttered, looking helplessly at his desk where his textbooks were piled up. He did not have time to lose things. He considered just going to study and looking for it in the morning, but Jack would kill him if he was late for the game and also if he showed up without his jockstrap, and where the hell was it, he knew exactly where he had left it…

I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You started playing quietly in the back of his head.

“That is ENOUGH!” Ransom shouted, angry enough that he suddenly didn’t care that the whole fucking thing was ridiculous. “I have four exams coming up, an entire fucking essay to write for my fucking required history credit, we just got into the playoffs, Jack wants two more practices a week, and I do NOT need fucking imaginary ghosts stealing my fucking jock on top of everything else!”

Ransom stopped, gasping for breath, and there was silence.

Absolute silence. Really, really weird silence. Before he started yelling Ransom had been vaguely aware of the distant sounds of Bitty singing along to Bey in the kitchen, typing and occasional swearing from Shitty’s room, traffic and conversations and even some birdsong outside. Now there was none of that. He couldn’t even hear his laptop humming. He looked around frantically.

His jockstrap fell off a rafter and landed directly in front of him.

He froze, and waited, but nothing else happened. Slowly, sound began to filter back into the room.

“Huh,” said Ransom. He picked up the jockstrap. “Uh. Thanks.”
violsva: Sidney Paget illustration of Holmes and Watson, seated, with the caption "Cut out the poetry, Watson" (Holmes)
okay, new theory (well, probably not new, but i haven’t seen it before):

Sherlock Holmes is stolen by fairies at Reichenbach

Luckily he had wide-ranging literary tastes as a child and it turns out his forgetting mechanisms are faulty, so he remembers not to eat anything and fights his way out three days later.

Except, you know, not three earth days later, whoops.

#doesn't really have a plot #so #meta #sherlock holmes #fairies #reichenbach #crack meta i suppose #there would be more plot if watson was fighting him out #hmm #i have seen the dr who version #multiple times
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
 From this post. @sherlollymouse, your fault (also, hi! I’m Vi.)

Irene would do sex ed and advocate keeping sex work safe as well as legalizing it 

“So.” Irene slaps her palm with a riding crop. “We normally don’t talk about politics on these shows. At least, most of us don’t.”

Cut to Mycroft rolling his eyes. Mycroft may be tied to a bed at the time. Cut back.

“But there’s a very important issue I need to bring to your attention. Many of you may believe certain stereotypes about sex workers.

I am lucky. I have stability. An established position. Bargaining power. Most sex workers don’t.

“But all of us deserve safe working conditions. No matter who we are, where we’re from, or what we do.”

violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
today has not been great (for no particular external reason (except that it’s raining)) but on the other hand there is fiction and it is wonderful

i picked up Travelling with the Dead by Barbara Hambly because I liked the first in the series and Lydia the wonderful impractical impulsive scientific girl, I like her a lot (although the central library nearest mom’s house has a terrible new remodel) (also i took out another book which probably won’t have lesbians but the blurb has the perfect set up for lesbians and apparently i am incurably optimistic about these things)

i am rereading Winter in London by Waid because I wanted comforting Holmesfic and apparently i find explicit trauma recovery comforting, and I’m almost at the part! with kissing! the nice kissing, not that other time. And it’s so lovely and introspective and poor everyone, oh god. And Mycroft is excellent

(note to self - reread GREE and BRUC for the thing. and that bit of So4 for the other thing with the actual deadline)

I just reread Matches by janeturenne and rabidsamfan - i really should link, it just feels like work, but it’s at janeturenne.livejournal - and … yes. boys. sex. in a haystack. and still emotions <3

the Comfortable Courtesan continues wonderful and sweet and darlings! and also I am rereading earlier parts because it consistently makes me happy and !!Sandy!! !!Mr. F-!! <3Docket and Tibby!<3

Also the “oh god these wonderful characters” feeling is quite close to the “oh god i have a crush” feeling, though a bit distanced. Huh.
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
Based on this edit

She found the body herself. She’d hoped he wouldn’t have -

What a disgusting thought. She called the appropriate people, and the undertakers, and the funeral directors. She attended the appropriate events. She didn’t cry publicly, but no amount of makeup would prevent her from looking strained.

She took two days off. Then she returned to work, and set to it.

It had been a mistake on Magnussen’s part, she told herself. He didn’t have any hold over her now. There was no reason for her to cater to him. And she had nothing else to focus on, except her work.
violsva: Sidney Paget illustration of Holmes and Watson, seated, with the caption "Cut out the poetry, Watson" (Holmes)
[from here]

I’m not going to bother researching the details for an actual essay, but there are ways that the Watson of most of the Case-Book and His Last Bow is a completely different (and far less interesting and worse-written) person than the Watson of the earlier stories, and a lot of bad Watson characterization I think is based on that later version.

And Doyle by that point clearly disliked Watson (a lot more than he ever disliked Holmes, actually), from his comments on his sense of humour etc., and so he wrote him and described him in a way that’s really annoying not really evident earlier.

Watson in the Return can figure out what Holmes is basing his observations on without prompting. Watson in SUSS can’t see through the “my friend has this problem…” line. These are two different men.
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (books)
(prince and princess are to be taken as entirely gender-neutral terms here)
  • Person A is Cinderella. Person B is the prince. Person C is the prince’s lover, who lives next door to A and thinks they should get to go to the ball
  • Swan Lake: A is Odette, B is Siegfried, C is Odile, who liked and was friends/in love with Odette before Rothbart coerced them into tricking Siegfried
  • A is a princess being sacrificed to a dragon, B is the prince saving them, and C has been cursed to become a dragon and doesn’t want a human sacrifice at all
  • A is the oldest of the twelve dancing princesses, B is trying to find out their secret and follows them, and C is the ruler of the land A and siblings have been going to to dance, who notices that someone’s following them this time
  • A is a princess who loses something in a pond, B is a frog who gets it out for them and follows them back to the castle, and C is A’s fiancé, whose best friend has been mysteriously missing for a while
  • A is Rapunzel, B is the witch’s slave who is just as much a prisoner in the tower as A is, and C is the prince
  • East of the Sun, West of the Moon: A is the prince who is cursed to live as a polar bear during the day, B marries him, and when they discover who he is and he disappears they go off to rescue him and meet C, who helps and falls in love with them along the way
  • A is Aladdin, B is the princess, and C is the genie who desperately wants freedom but still kind of likes A
  • A is a miller’s son, B has been transformed into a talking cat, and C is the princess (who figures out what’s going on pretty quickly)
  • Snow White and Rose Red, except they’re girlfriends instead of sisters
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
Sherlock is sitting in the back of an ambulance, being questioned. “History of military service,” he says. “Nerves of steel…”

And he sees the blonde figure casually standing behind the police cars.

It makes no sense.

But he says, “Actually, you know what, ignore me,” and jumps down.

He strides past the police.

Mary smiles at him. “Are you all right? Sergeant Donovan’s just been explaining things to me…”

“Good shot,” says Sherlock, looking down at her hands. Gloved. Of course.

“Yes, must have been, through that window.”

“Well, you’d know,” says Sherlock, and Mary blinks up at him innocently.

#they have adventures #then sherlock jumps off a building like an idiot #then mary meets this nice ex-army doctor while he's gone #then sherlock comes back #realizes mary hasn't told john anything about her past #drama results
violsva: A graffiti white maple leaf surrounding the words Toronto Maple Waffles (toronto maple waffles)
Let's say that Group A eats kittens.

They're terrible people, right? But if I say to you, "Stay away from Grace, she's a kitten-eating monster," you're going to assume I'm joking. That's hyperbole. That's actually a terrible thing to say about someone.

So everyone in Group A doesn't have to worry about rumours that they eat kittens, because seriously? Who does that? You must be joking.

But if anyone does say, loudly, "Hey, these people seem to be eating kittens," they can say "Well, you eat BABIES!"

Because then people who don't know them are going to go, "Right, these people are throwing hugely exaggerated insults at each other, got it." Because these look like the same insult, if you don't know the history. And even if you try to show them the history, well, you must be blowing it out of proportion, right? No one eats kittens. Not in our society.

The fact that one of these insults is in fact true - people have actually been eating kittens - and one is false - no one has eaten a baby - may be ignored.

And the second person now has to fight against accusations of baby-eating - which they do care about, because they don't want to be seen as a horrible person. They don't eat babies, and they're probably really upset that someone said they did. And a few people are going to be saying "Well, they must have a reason for saying you eat babies, and you did start it by saying that they eat kittens..."

So no one wants to accuse actual kitten eaters of eating kittens, and if you do, the first thing that does is cast suspicion on the one doing the accusing.

Anyway, if you're wondering where this is all coming from, someone in the Sherlock fandom ate a kitten in public and then tried to distract everyone by going "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!" If you really want more information, it's here.
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (books)
Putting this on Dreamwidth as well as Tumblr:

So I’ve been thinking about soulmate AUs. The kind where your soulmate’s name is written on your skin. How would that start? When would that start?

Not with the beginning of writing. For centuries, in China, in Sumer, in Egypt, in Mesoamerica, writing was used for accounting or religion, and nothing else. Most people would never be able write their names or recognize them if they were written. Only royalty, gods, and perhaps some property owners would.

Individual scribes might have had signatures. For that matter, for all we know individual Paleolithic artists might have had signatures. But most people wouldn’t. What would happen the first time someone was born with an unknown symbol on their hand?

Probably it would be an isolated mystery. Remember, in most of these scenarios there’s no actual guarantee that you’ll ever meet your soulmate (although most people seem to end up with one from the same general area. Which is statistically unlikely). No one would know what it meant. Maybe people with symbols would be seen as special, or divine, or demonic.

And then it might start happening more often - or stop happening, if writing stopped being used (like in Greece after 1200 BCE). But most of the time still no one would know what the symbol meant. And most people wouldn’t have symbols, because most people’s soulmates wouldn’t know how to write.

(Sometimes I think the theory is that people would have a thumbprint instead of a soulmate mark? But this would be basically useless for matching purposes - you would have no idea where to start. So from that point of view the first people with actual names would just have them instead of the thumbprints that everyone else had and didn’t know the meaning of.

Incidentally, using thumbprints for recognition isn’t universal in non-literate societies either. European society didn’t realize that fingerprints were unique until the late 19th century. In a lot of places, they weren’t used until people were already using signatures, and needed an option for illiterate people. Also, while they are an identifying mark, they really have no relation at all to your name. For most of human existence, having a physical marker of your identity really wasn’t that important.)

Only somewhere with at least moderately widespread literacy would someone be able to look at a mark and go “Oh, that’s my friend Imhotep’s name. What a coincidence!” And only somewhere with widespread literacy would Imhotep’s soulmate also be able to write their name. Most early languages were logographic, and in cuneiform names specifically were almost always logographic, so you wouldn’t even be able to sound it out.

Phoenician (starting 1050 BCE) was the first widespread writing system, and was simple enough and common enough that sailors could write in it. It was also the first phoenetic script which would allow you to easily approximate the pronounciation of the writing on your skin.

But still, most people wouldn’t have symbols. Most people would never meet anyone with their name on their skin.

This would be a problem in AUs where you never feel sexual attraction to anyone who isn’t your soulmate. Imagine religion and culture in a world where almost everyone is functionally asexual.

How long would it take, until someone realized that if people’s names matched up, they had some kind of bond? How long would it take before this was a generally accepted theory?

Also, how long before this was seen as at all important, given that most people with the status to know how to read would also have arranged marriages?

But once it was generally accepted, suddenly literacy would become a lot more important. People would demand to learn how to write. (Some people would learn that their soulmate’s name wasn’t in the local writing system. What happens then?) People would want to give their children more unique names (ancient Rome had about thirty given names for men total, and they named their daughters “first Julia” and “second Julia.”)

Anyway, around ancient Rome or so, when there would not only be a lot of literate people but also a lot of people able to recognize foreign alphabets, suddenly there would be a huge drive for 1) more literacy and 2) better long distance communication, so you could find the Caius or Ξανθίππη or שָׂרָה who had your name on their skin. And as this idea became more and more widespread, so would this desire. The same thing would be happening in China and Ethiopia and India.

This would revolutionize world history. There would be strong motivations both for exploration and for making peace with foreign cultures. Everyone in Rome with a Jewish soulmate would want to make sure they wouldn’t be killed before they could meet them. Everyone with a soulmate in a strange language would want to know at least what language it was.

Come to think of it, these are also all good reasons for why people wouldn’t believe in soulmates. Your soulmate can’t be one of the hated barbarians, so that symbol doesn’t mean anything!

And that’s leaving out the fact that lots of people still wouldn’t have a soulmate who could write, and completely ignoring the existence of polyamory.

So getting to a modern society with everyone just knowing that that was your soulmate’s name would involve a really complicated history, probably nothing at all like ours. And there would be huge pressure to ignore the existence of soulmates at all.

No conclusions here, just taking an illogical premise way too logically.

Expecting

Mar. 20th, 2015 03:14 pm
violsva: Sidney Paget illustration of Holmes and Watson, seated, with the caption "Cut out the poetry, Watson" (Holmes)
You with calm and rage and tea,
Her with smiles, sly words, hidden depths,
Me, my violin, my skull, Mrs. Hudson,
And another, unknown, unseen except in effects.
We wait. You and I waited twice
Without knowing it - first for each other,
Then to know Mary; now knowing, hoping.
violsva: Sidney Paget illustration of Holmes and Watson, seated, with the caption "Cut out the poetry, Watson" (Holmes)
 …in the stables. If it was someone familiar then the horse…

“Is he sleeping?”

“I think so. He said he had to think over a case, but he hasn’t moved for two hours.”

“Did he sleep last night?”

“No.”

…must be nearby, or running loose. Where is it - surely any horse of sense would have returned to its home by now…

“I know, my dear, but there’s no stopping him. I could tie him to the bed and he wouldn’t sleep.”

“Could you? Oh don’t blush like that! Could I?”

…would have returned…

“Would you like to?”

“Mmm.”

…have returned to…

“I’m not what you expected, am I?”

“Expected? No, not at all. No man expects to be this lucky.”

..returned. And it hasn’t returned home…

“If I did, John, do you want to watch?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, that was quick. He watches us all the time, but you’d like it too, wouldn’t you?”

“Both of you are far too lovely for me not to.”

…It hasn’t returned home so…

“Mmhmm? I think I’d like to have you watch me on top of him. His hands - well, you know about his hands - but I think I’d want to see what he could do with just his mouth.”

…it hasn’t … hasn’t…

“Darling?”

“Yes?”

“I think he’s woken up.”

“You two are distracting beyond belief.”

violsva: Sidney Paget illustration of Holmes and Watson, seated, with the caption "Cut out the poetry, Watson" (Holmes)
queerwatson:
trying to read a book by a straight man that discusses how holmes and watson might have been queer, more like a discussion of how ‘feminine’ watson apparently is (???) and overuse of the word homosexual

queerwatson:
also blatant misogyny around every corner
my fave!!!!!

I have actually been having Thoughts about this recently, and they may not be very coherent thoughts, but oh well.

Watson actually does a lot of things that are traditionally coded as feminine, and especially so for Victorians. He’s giving huge amounts of his time to support Holmes, both by assisting in his investigations but more importantly by writing stories and therefore publicizing Holmes and giving him clients. And this is completely in line with the Victorian wife, who might seem passive but was absolutely supposed to be supporting her husband’s work in her own, social arena. See An Ideal Husband. Agatha Christie (born 1890) writes in her autobiography about how much of a woman’s life was completely determined by her future husband’s career, and this is certainly the case for Watson. (because he chooses for it to be the case.)
And a lot of what Watson does as Holmes’ doctor looking after his welfare would be completely appropriate for a wife as well. Watson accepting Holmes’ quirks but insisting that he take care of himself and rushing to his side when he’s ill. And in fic of course there’s even more of this, and also of Watson being Holmes’ moral compass, which was absolutely a wife’s duty.

But Watson does all of this as an absolutely proper English gentleman who fulfills all the roles of a proper English gentleman as well. When Holmes says there’s no one better than Watson to be a jury (ABBE), he means that Watson is worth twelve other men. And also that he is moral and wonderful and has good judgement. And of course Watson is a doctor and a soldier and these were both heavily masculine roles.

…I should have a conclusion here, but basically, John Watson! Man who is totally comfortable taking a “feminine” role in relationships without worrying about his masculinity!

Oh wait, yes, I did have a conclusion. This is why people underestimate Watson. Because his contributions are stereotypically feminine and therefore ignored. Taking care of people and supporting them cannot possibly be important even though they are the most important. So it’s assumed that Holmes doesn’t need him or that he’s incapable because he doesn’t do flashy things. But Watson isn’t flashy, that’s the point. Except when he’s shooting things for Holmes, but I suppose those authors ignore those moments?

So - yes these are coded feminine, but obviously they aren’t inherently so, and also devaluing them sucks and is still sexist.

Also! he’s doing all this for someone who is in every other way coded as more feminine than he is! Which is neat!
violsva: Sidney Paget illustration of Holmes and Watson, seated, with the caption "Cut out the poetry, Watson" (Holmes)
 verymorstan replied to your post:writing meme
let me”, if it was watson who couldn’t sleep? <3
Well, first of all it is actually my headcanon that when Watson had nightmares, after Afghanistan and later on after the hiatus, and Holmes was awake to notice, Holmes started playing the violin at night to send him back to sleep. So Holmes has an extra weapon there, and would usually be able to stop things before they got that far.

But if Watson got into the straightforward cannot fucking sleep mode Holmes is in at the beginning of that fic the violin would probably just make it worse. So much for that.

So Holmes would show up in the sitting room going Watson is crying why what can I do oh no with an added dash of ‘this is all my fault’ because it’s not actually that long after Reichenbach, and settle for putting a hand on his shoulder, and when Watson tells him to go away he’d probably try light humour before realizing oh shit he's really crying oh shit um

because Holmes does do touch as a sign of friendship, especially with Watson, but very little more, so he wouldn’t start cuddling him right away even if he really really wanted to

and Watson is less stubborn than Holmes so I think he’d manage to get Watson into bed

at which point I think it would be Watson who said “Stay,” and Holmes sitting on a chair next to the bed thinking that if this meant he could have got away with the cuddles earlier he should have tried that. And stroking Watson’s hair.

And then he wakes up the next morning with a hell of a crick in his neck and Watson is like thanks but I won’t need that again so Holmes decides to make sure he notices when Watson does. He’s not a doctor, so he’s not going to be trying everything to Fix It the way Watson does, but he wants Watson to be happy.

And if he ended up actually sleeping next to Watson the next time … then we have Holmes consciously aroused by the situation and NOT going to show any physical signs goddammit and Watson half-asleep and unconsciously aroused by the situation …

and I think they’d probably end up platonically [wth spell check that’s a word] sleeping together for months and dreaming about each other and trying to hide their arousal, until the tenth or so time they wake up in each other’s arms, which is when one of them goes 'holy shit this is mutual’. And then they make out and figure out the romance part a lot quicker than they did in Let Me.

violsva: Geoffrey Tennant, offering a skull (have a skull)
Tonight on midnight literary analysis, let’s talk about queerness in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

The thing you need to remember about this story is that when it was first published, no one knew how it ended. Which seems obvious, but everyone today approaches that story having been already spoiled. When you’re reading it for the first time, even if you’re 8 years old

- oh, that’s why I have such a thing for late Victorian horror. Oh. That makes sense. Thanks, Ms. McDonald. -

you’re looking for foreshadowing. You know what to expect. This can lead to the attitude my brother had when reading Dracula for a class - “Stop describing your breakfast and get to the vampires!” (He was mostly upset because he’d wanted to read Frankenstein.)

But you’re not supposed to look at it like that. You’re not supposed to know what’s going on with Jekyll. If you don’t know what’s coming, there’s suspense. The main image through the book is the fog. We get the story second hand, someone tells someone else, someone reads a document, everything is detached and not quite certain. That’s the atmosphere we start with.

It’s a mystery story.

So, you start with bachelors talking to each other. Actually, everyone is a bachelor - women show up as victims, and otherwise not at all. And you start with fine, upstanding Dr. Jekyll, who has a friend.

A friend he’s left all his property to. A friend who can get money off him at a moment’s notice. A friend he’s fond of even though he does terrible things. A friend who’s younger and smaller than him. A friend who looks normal but gives everyone the creeps. A friend who has a key to his house.

Is he blackmailing Jekyll? Is he some black sheep relative? Is he Jekyll’s illegitimate son? Or is he Jekyll’s lover? Even if it’s just blackmail, the question becomes what in Jekyll’s past is so absolutely terrible that he can’t risk the possibility of it coming out, even when he has lots of people on his side and there’s plenty of evidence against Hyde.

For the Victorians, there was a very close connection between blackmail and homosexuality. The 1885 Act criminalizing any “gross indecency between males” was known as the Blackmailer’s Charter.

Jekyll begins to live in fear. He avoids his friends. He suddenly leaves conversations. He stays in his house and doesn’t talk to his servants. And then his former close friend discovers something about him that’s so horrible that he has a breakdown and refuses to see or speak to Jekyll ever again.

Jekyll is not intended to be gay. But the hints of homosexuality - and illegitimacy, and blackmail, and various ‘nameless crimes’ - are used to draw the reader in, and it’s assumed that the reader will easily read between the lines.

it isn’t a gay allegory. It’s deliberately using the idea of homosexuality, which the reader is assumed to already know about, for its purposes.

The narrative resonated with contemporary queer men - J. A. Symonds and Gerald Manley Hopkins both commented on it.

But what it’s actually doing is playing with all kinds of forbidden sexuality to build up an atmosphere of secrecy and darkness, so it can then reveal that in fact the truth is something far worse

Probably. Of course, if Jekyll’s secret was that he was gay, the book couldn’t have been published.

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