Friday, August 12, 2011

"A Study in Scarlet" banned in a Virginia school


From a report in Charlottesville's The Daily Progress:

The Albemarle County School Board voted Thursday night to remove Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Study in Scarlet” from sixth-grade reading lists. A parent of a Henley Middle School student originally challenged the book in May on the grounds that it is derogatory toward Mormons...

The board based its decision on the recommendation of a committee commissioned to study the Victorian work. In its report, the committee concluded that the book was not age-appropriate for sixth-graders...

“‘A Study in Scarlet’ has been used to introduce students to the mystery genre and into the character of Sherlock Holmes. This is our young students’ first inaccurate introduction to an American religion,” Stevenson told the board.Stevenson suggested replacing the book with Doyle’s fifth novel, “The Hound of the Baskervilles, which, she said, is a better introduction to mystery.

A Study in Scarlet was the original Sherlock Holmes novel; it features the meeting of Holmes and Watson.  This is not the first time the book has been controversial:

According to a 1994 Salt Lake City newspaper article, when Conan Doyle was asked about his depiction of the Latter-day Saints' organization as being steeped in kidnapping, murder and enslavement, he said: "all I said about the Danite Band and the murders is historical so I cannot withdraw that, though it is likely that in a work of fiction it is stated more luridly than in a work of history. It's best to let the matter rest". However, Conan Doyle's daughter has stated: "You know, father would be the first to admit that his first Sherlock Holmes novel was full of errors about the Mormons". Years after Conan Doyle's death, Levi Edgar Young, a descendant of Brigham Young and a Mormon general authority, claimed that Conan Doyle had privately apologized, saying that "He [Conan Doyle] said he had been misled by writings of the time about the Church".

From the StarTribune. Via TYWKIWDBI.

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