Monday, February 21, 2022

"Sherlock Holmes Interests Us, but No One Either Admires or Hates Him"

WITH THE RECENT restoration to life of Sherlock Holmes as chronicled in the serialization of The Hound of the Baskervilles (1901) and the publication of "The Adventure of the Empty House" (1903), popular attention again returned to the exploits of the Sage of Baker Street. Almost on cue (to capitalize on the sleuth's return, perhaps?), Holmes came under official scrutiny with . . .

"Sherlock Holmes, Detective: As Seen by Scotland Yard."
By Sir Robert Anderson, K.C.B. (1841-1918).
First appearance: T. P.'s Weekly, October 2, 1903.
Article (2 pages).
Online at Hathi Trust (HERE) and below.

Sir Robert takes umbrage at how the police are treated in the Holmes tales, which is perfectly understandable when you learn that Anderson was "the second Assistant Commissioner (Crime) of the London Metropolitan Police, from 1888 to 1901" (Wikipedia HERE). Further augmenting his offenses, Holmes engages in "feats of felony-compounding," displaying "his magnificent contempt for law" in such stories as "The Blue Carbuncle" and "The Beryl Coronet." In the end, though, Sir Robert sees social value in Doyle's stories because they do not "give us pattern cases of crime detection in order to instruct police officers in their duties—some of his best stories, indeed, have no relation whatever to crime—but to promote in all of us the habit of thinking; and to teach us, as he himself expresses it, 'to think analytically'."

Holmes stories that are mentioned: "The Resident Patient," "The Final Problem," "The [sic] Study in Scarlet," "The Man with the Twisted Lip," "The Sign of Four," "The Blue Carbuncle," "The Beryl Coronet," and "The Boscombe Valley Mystery."

Anderson's article prompted this message:
Which provoked this response:
References and resources:
- "Charles Reade, no mean authority": His popularity, like so many authors, waxed and then waned:
  "Reade fell out of fashion by the turn of the century—'it is unusual to meet anyone who has voluntarily read him,' wrote George Orwell in an essay on Reade—but during the 19th century Reade was one of England's most popular novelists. He was not highly regarded by critics" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "Mr. Watts, R.A.": Well known in his time:
  "George Frederic Watts, OM RA (1817–1904) was a British painter and sculptor associated with the Symbolist movement. He said, 'I paint ideas, not things.' Watts became famous in his lifetime for his allegorical works, such as Hope and Love and Life. These paintings were intended to form part of an epic symbolic cycle called the 'House of Life', in which the emotions and aspirations of life would all be represented in a universal symbolic language" (Wikipedia HERE; also see The Royal Academy page HERE).
- The Holmes stories are (HERE; PDF).
- The number of times that Sherlock Holmes has appeared on this weblog would amount to dozens, at the very least; here are just a few:
  - "The Cybernetic Sherlock" (HERE)
  - "The Ted Nickerson-Tom Corbett-Sherlock Holmes Connection" (HERE)
  - "Plum Throws Pies at the Great Detective" (HERE)
  - "Whenever You've Eliminated the Impossible, You're Still Left with the . . . Improbable" (HERE)
  - "Sherlock, Hercule, and Jane — Mental Cases All" (HERE)
  - "They're Brilliant, but They Can Drive You Up the Wall" (HERE). (Note: The Thrilling Detective Website Banacek page is now HERE).
  - "A TV Sherlock You Might Never Have Heard Of" (HERE)
  - "Half a Book of Sherlock Holmes" (HERE)
  - "Resurrecting Holmes" (HERE)
  - "Sherlock's First Theatrical Outing" (HERE)
  - "The Reappearance of Sherlock Holmes" (HERE).

We could go on, but life's too short.

1 comment:

  1. "In nothing, however, Das the author's resourcefulness and art been more manifest than the ease with which we are carried over the very thin ice of extraordinary situations and impossible incidents."

    I really like that quote.