Le 19 mars prochain, à l’hôtel Langham à Londres, une plaque sera dévoilée pour commémorer le dîner qui eut lieu le 30 août 1889, à l’initiative de J. M. Stoddart, rédacteur en chef du Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, auquel ont participé Oscar Wilde et Arthur Conan Doyle.
Ce soir-là, il commanda un roman à chacun des écrivains. Le Portrait de Dorian Gray à Wilde, et Le Signe des quatre à Conan Doyle. Nos amis de la Sherlock Holmes Society of London, en collaboration avec la Oscar Wilde Society, le Langham Hotel et la municipalité de Westminster, ont participé à la création de cet événement. La plaque sera dévoilée le 19 mars à 11h30, par Gyles Brandreth, l’un des spécialistes de l’œuvre d’Oscar Wilde.
On 30 August 1889 a small gathering at the world-famous Langham Hotel in London gave rise to two of the most significant novels of the late 19th century. On 19 March 2010 the Manager of the Langham, London in partnership with the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, the Oscar Wilde Society, and the City of Westminster, is celebrating the event with a commemorative Green Plaque.J M Stoddart had crossed the Atlantic to meet two rising British authors and to commission stories from them for Lippincott’s, the Philadelphia-based literary magazine. As a result of the small dinner that he hosted at the Langham, Oscar Wilde wrote his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Arthur Conan Doyle created a new exploit for a character who had featured two years before in just one rather obscure story…
That character was Sherlock Holmes, and the new adventure, called The Sign of Four, ensured his lasting fame as the Great Detective.
The time is right for the installation of a memorial plaque. The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Sign of Four were both published in Lippincott’s in 1890 – just 120 years ago.
Moreover, both characters are attracting a good deal of attention in the media. Oliver Parker’s film Dorian Gray is newly available on DVD. Guy Ritchie’s new film Sherlock Holmes has stimulated more public interest in the great detective than we have seen in a very long time, and BBC Television will shortly broadcast a new series, created by Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss, depicting Holmes and Dr Watson as twenty-first century characters.
The making and installing of a Green Plaque was proposed by author and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, whose acclaimed series of murder mysteries featuring Oscar Wilde and Conan Doyle was inspired by the dinner at the Langham Hotel. Asked why the occasion should be celebrated, Mr Brandreth said:
“This was a truly historic meeting: Literary London’s equivalent of the meeting between Stanley and Livingstone. Wilde and Conan Doyle – very different characters – had never met before, but they got on famously at once. Conan Doyle described it as ‘a golden evening’. It certainly changed the course of literary history.”
Gyles Brandreth will unveil the plaque at 11.30am on Friday 19 March at the Langham, London in Portland Place, W1B 1JA.
The Conan Doyle's family will be represented at the event by Richard Doyle and Catherine Doyle Beggs (two of the three directors of the Conan Doyle Estate today), who are Innes Doyle's grandchildren.
For more information, please contact:
Guy Marriott, The Sherlock Holmes Society of London, Brantridge, Brantridge Lane, Bourne End, Bucks. SL8 5BZ (phone 07770 667603; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
Michael Seeney, The Oscar Wilde Society, 22 Edric Road, London SE14 5EL (phone 07980 221632; e-mail Michael.Seeney@btinternet.com)
Nick Barrington Wells at the Langham, London, 1c Portland Place, London W1B 1JA (phone 020 7973 7515; e-mail email@example.com)