“Come through the magic door with me, and sit here on the green settee, where you can see the old oak case with its untidy lines of volumes. Smoking is not forbidden. Would you care to hear me talk of them? Well, I ask nothing better, for there is no volume there which is not a dear, personal friend, and what can a man talk of more pleasantly than that?” — Through the Magic Door (1907)
Sheldon Goldfarb is the Archivist for the Alma Mater Society of the University of British Columbia Vancouver. He is the editor of the 1999 scholarly edition of William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel, Catherine (University of Michigan Press), soon to be reissued in a much expanded COVE electronic version. He has written articles on Edward FitzGerald and Harrison Ainsworth for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and on Mary Augusta Ward and Ellen Wood for the Palgrave Encyclopedia of Victorian Women’s Writing.
In 2019 he published a collection of essays on Conan Doyle’s best known series: Sherlockian Musings: Thoughts on the Sherlock Holmes Stories. He also contributed an article on ‘The Copper Beeches’ to Nils Clausson’s collection of essays, entitled Re-examining Arthur Conan Doyle, and presented a paper on “Thematic Richness in the Sherlock Holmes Stories” to the Edinburgh Conan Doyle conference on Conan Doyle and Storytelling in 2021, which is what led him to become the editor of the volume on Through the Magic Door for the Edinburgh Conan Doyle project.
Through the Magic Door appealed to him because of its amiable tone of camaraderie amidst the books Conan Doyle especially wanted to recommend and for its interesting presentation of Conan Doyle’s views on life, literature, and history, all lovingly supported by a host of misquotations. Tracking down quotations, allusions, and similar references is something that Dr. Goldfarb enjoyed doing for his work on Thackeray’s Catherine and it is work he is enjoying again on Conan Doyle.