Holmes laid his hand upon him and held it up again with an exclamation of horror.
There is pretty much no psychology at all in them. Gentlemen have a hereditary nobility, ladies are dignified and beautiful, criminals are stunted and coarse, the baddy is a cunning fiend! We are barely dealing with people but ciphers in a game of Cluedo. In the Holmes texts we can see Victorian melodrama, a strand in Dickens and a central concern of Wilkie Collins, giving birth to its offspring, the American dimestore novel which mutates into the pulp fiction of the s and 30s, and in its country of birth gives rise to the Golden Age of Detectives between the wars, Lord Peter Wimsey, Hercules Poirot et al.
As in all the previous stories there is a strong colonial connection: the previous Baskerville, Sir Charles, had made his fortune in South African gold and the new tenant, Sir Henry, has to be recalled from adventures in the States and Canada where he had lived a manly outdoor life. As in the previous two novels and many of the short stories there is a strong sense of the interconnectedness of, the easy travel to and from, the Anglo-Saxon colonies — America, Canada, Australia, South Africa — and that these are places where a man goes off to make his fortune, to forge a new personality, to return transformed.
Though both Conan Doyle and Kipling are concerned at the rise of Germany or our unpreparedness to defend the Empire, neither of them begins to doubt that the ideology is itself fatally flawed, unlike the bitter fatalism of Conrad for whom the entire project is a savage farce. Pure blood versus impure blood.
Nobility and pure breeding versus half-breed mongrel. Sincerity and honesty versus criminal concealment. Anglo-Saxon morals versus low, half-hispanic treachery! Being the second set of a dozen short stories which appeared in The Strand magazine December — November , and took Holmes to still greater fame. Compare Elgar to Mahler. In Freud it is repressed drives and instincts which return in dreams and neurotic symptoms. Abroad is seen as more primitive, primal, a place where men commit crimes and make huge fortunes, a place where more instinctive drives can flourish.
Upon returning to Blighty, names must be changed and past liberties repressed, hushed, silenced. This has the effect of making Holmes seem famous even as his real-life fame increased, a kind of echo. Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes at Project Gutenberg.
From the get-go Conan Doyle deploys the simple strategy of having Dr Watson refer to innumerable cases which Holmes has investigated, most of them never written up in his case notes or stories. In fact this is extensively refuted in the texts themselves where Holmes is very given to sententiously quoting from a wide range of literary sources:. Apart from Watson getting it wrong, I think these literary quotations demonstrate two aspects of the texts:. But he does display plenty of aristocratic disdain for convention, effortless superiority over the laughable bourgeois police detectives, a lordly indifference to how he is perceived, sang-froid and indifference to personal danger.
He suffers from aristocratic ennui which drives the Wildean hero into dangerous moral territory:. These little problems help me to do so.
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And he is much given to paradoxes: all his detective work reveals the strange and telling in the apparently innocent and mundane, and vice versa, and sometimes he summarises his attitude in witty paradoxes worthy of Wilde:. If the chaps are, for the most part, noble Anglo-Saxons, then the women are even more dated, fixed in amber from that period, as saintly, innocent, virginal helpmeets and dutiful daughters and damsels in distress.
The image of the concerned and helpless young lady, flushed and panting, caught in a hapless plight and requiring help from Holmes the Master-Male, repeats again and again. Watson received his Afghan campaign wound in the shoulder in the first novel; in this one the wound has mysteriously moved to his leg as it is in the first BBC TV episodes. Hmmm, inconsistencies. In this one Watson meets young Mary Morstan and they fall instantly in love. Mud-coloured clouds drooped sadly over the muddy streets. Down the Strand the lamps were but misty splotches of diffused light which threw a feeble circular glimmer upon the slimy pavement.
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The yellow glare from the shop-windows streamed out into the steamy, vaporous air and threw a murky, shifting radiance across the crowded thoroughfare. There was, to my mind, something eerie and ghostlike in the endless procession of faces which flitted across these narrow bars of light — sad faces and glad, haggard and merry. Like all humankind, they flitted from the gloom into the light and so back into the gloom once more.
Chapter 4. Lark Hall Lane.
Stockwell Place. Robert Street. Cold Harbour Lane. Our quest does not appear to take us to very fashionable regions. Long lines of dull brick houses were only relieved by the coarse glare and tawdry brilliancy of public-houses at the corner. Then came rows of two-storied villas, each with a fronting of miniature garden, and then again interminable lines of new, staring brick buildings — the monster tentacles which the giant city was throwing out into the country.
The text is itself built from other texts, pretending to be a narrative account created by and in the voice of Dr Watson, which also includes newspaper reports, adverts, scribbled notes and messages, offers of reward and, of course, a True Account or Backstory which explains the bizarre goings-on in the present or foreground of the plot.
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Tells a preliminary backstory: her father, Captain Arthur, disappeared abruptly in ; since she has received a pearl ear-ring in a box once a year. Now she has received an invitation to meet a stranger at the Lyceum. Holmes discovers one Major Sholto knew Morstan out in India and died in He explains his father and Morstan were in cahoots about a treasure from India, Morstan visited Sholto, they had a violent argument and Morstan dropped dead of heart failure.
Sholto buried the body and the treasure. One day he received a letter form abroad and became a bag of nerves. He was about to reveal the whereabouts of the hidden treasure to Thaddeus and his brother Bartholomew when a face appears at the window and Sholto also drops dead. She was seated by the open window, dressed in some sort of white diaphanous material, with a little touch of scarlet at the neck and waist.
The soft light of a shaded lamp fell upon her as she leaned back in the basket chair, playing over her sweet grave face, and tinting with a dull, metallic sparkle the rich coils of her luxuriant hair. One white arm and hand drooped over the side of the chair, and her whole pose and figure spoke of an absorbing melancholy. At the sound of my footfall she sprang to her feet, however, and a bright flush of surprise and of pleasure coloured her pale cheeks.
As I listened to the words and realized what they meant, a great shadow seemed to pass from my soul. I did not know how this Agra treasure had weighed me down until now that it was finally removed. It was selfish, no doubt, disloyal, wrong, but I could realize nothing save that the golden barrier was gone from between us. She looked at me with a quick, questioning smile.
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She did not withdraw it. Because this treasure, these riches, sealed my lips. Now that they are gone I can tell you how I love you. Whoever had lost a treasure, I knew that night that I had gained one. The Sign of Four was commissioned at a dinner hosted by Joseph M. Stoddart wanted to produce an English version of the magazine.
Amazing times! I get a wife out of it, Jones gets the credit, pray what remains for you? Full text of The Sign of Four on the Literature. A Study in Scarlet is the first of the four canonical Sherlock Holmes novels. These stories are collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes This is very much of the period which revelled in intertextuality, enjoying texts made of other texts, from letters, journals, diaries, newspaper accounts etc. At the end of the book, Holmes laughs at the way the incompetent Scotland Yard detectives get the glory of solving the crime in the Press.
I have all the facts in my journal, and the public shall know them.
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