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The Best of Sherlock Holmes
Which are the most quotable Sherlock Holmes stories?
There are many ways to judge this, so it's important to clarify the question. To be the "most quotable," a story must contain quotations that are well-known to the general public. Fame and popularity are thus more important in this case than critical Sherlockian opinion.
Quotations can go in and out of style. By considering public opinion at many points in time, we can determine the most quotable stories of all time. Judging public opinion is a subjective process. Fortunately, we can look to general quotation experts for guidance.
Our sources then are the editions of Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett or The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations that contain passages from the Sherlock Holmes stories. They provide data for the period from 1891 to 1992 and are the acknowledged leaders in their field.
While it's clear that a story with more cited quotations should be ranked higher, there are several different ways to measure overall popularity. Each approach has its strengths, so you are invited to compare them:
The simplest approach, it counts the total number of quotations appearing in any edition.
Adjusts #1 by the length of the story so that no advantage is given to longer stories.
Weights #1 by the number of editions a quotation appears in, so that it better reflects continuing popularity over the years.
Adjusts #3 by the length of the story so that no advantage is given to longer stories.