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Honorary Member, Emeritus

The Diogenes Club:  Msgr. Ronald A. Knox
Monsignor Ronald Arbuthnot Knox
1888 - 1957 

Monsignor Ronald Arbuthnot Knox was a Catholic Priest whose literary works include the famous Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes, a tongue-in-cheek "scholarly" work regarding the literary output of John H. Watson  M.D. which was first presented at the Gryphon Club in 1911. Studies was formally published in The Blue Book in 1912 and reprinted in Essays in Satire in 1928.  Sir Arthur responded to this paper with the following comments:

"I cannot help writing to you to tell you of the amusement- and also the amazement- with which I read your article on Sherlock Holmes. That anyone should spend such pains on such material was what surprised me. Certainly you know a great deal more about it than I
do, for the stories have been written in a disconnected (and careless) way without referring back to what had gone before. I am only pleased that you have not found more discrepancies, especially as to dates. Of course, as you seem to have observed, Holmes changed entirely as the stories went on. In the first one "The Study in Scarlet" he was a mere calculating machine, but I had to make him more of an educated human being as I went on with him. He never shows heart- save in the play- which one of your learned commentators condemned truly as a false note. One point which has not been remarked by the learned Sauwosch. . . is that in a considerable proportion of the stories- I daresay a quarter- no legal crime has been committed at all. Another point-one of the few in which I feel satisfaction but which I have never seen mentioned is that Watson never for one instant as chorus and chronicler transcends his own limitations. Never once does a flash of wit or wisdom come from him. All is remorsely eliminated so that he may be Watson." (from The Knox Brothers, 1977, Penelope Fitzgerald. Thanks to Birdy Edwards!)

In 1929 he wrote a set of rules for the writing of detective fiction as a set of bylaws for the famous Detection Club, of which G. K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers, Anthony Cox and he were members.  The Detection Club used these Ten Commandments as their bylaws.  Father Knox was also known for his spiritual writings, including a translation of the Holy Bible and was a welcomed speaker at Trinity College, Oxford. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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