Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Thoughts on Sherlock Holmes

  1. #1
    Novelist
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    54

    Question Thoughts on Sherlock Holmes

    I've just finished the entire body of Sherlock Holmes stories (there are, what, 56 or so?) and I have a few general thoughts:

    For the most part, I am disappointed in how Doyle decided to address Holmes as a character. In fact, I find Watson to be a much more interesting case study. Perhaps it was the audience that he was writing for, though I suspect it has more to do with Doyle's focus on nonfiction and the factual. Very rarely is Holmes treated like a character at all - more often he is a Deus Ex Machina who develops new abilities depending on what the problems he is facing.

    Ash on the ground? No problem, Holmes wrote a paper on that and is an expert. Attacked? No problem, Holmes is an expert boxer - oh, and he learned jujitsu in Japan as well. Cryptographic message? He wrote a paper on that, too.

    The fact that the stories are not written in chronological order doesn't help - it makes it very difficult to think of Holmes as a character who progresses. Indeed, Holmes never progresses and is pretty much always right.

    The mysteries themselves are not really what the stories are about - at least, not to me. Of the Holmes novels, I have to say that The Sign of the Four is my favorite - indeed, probably my favorite of all of his writings. It is one of the few instances where Holmes is addressed as a character, and we can see the motive for his drug addiction and loneliness in a world that only stands as a puzzle to be solved to him. The end (after Doyle's insufferable habit to sneak long historical pieces in the end of his books disguised as explanations of crimes) in which Holmes is left with nothing but his drugs, while Watson finds love and the client is satisfied, was uncommonly poetic when compared to the rest of the work.

    As for the mysteries themselves, they are interesting enough. It's hard for someone my age to compare, as I've grown up watching crime dramas that were inspired by Holmes by have indeed improved upon the formula.

    Watson comes across as a very interesting character, but as Doyle treats both Holmes and Watson primarily as tools to tell the mystery, he isn't developed very well. He devotes most of his life to doing whatever Holmes wants, seeking affection from Holmes, attempting to market the beauty he sees in Holmes to the general public, but never really gets anything in return. It actually seems like Holmes regrets the attention he receives from Watson.

    On a side note, if you want to see a modernized and much better-developed characterization of the Holmes character, watch the television sitcom "House M.D." Dr. House is modeled precisely after Sherlock Holmes, but as a more imperfect being. The focus on drug abuse and loneliness due to genius is much more developed in the television show.

    And don't scoff at me for comparing television to Holmes - the vast majority of Holmes stories were published in magazine periodicals, which were the equivalent of the time.

  2. #2
    Novelist
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    54

    Oh..

    My favorite quote? I forgot what story it is from, but..

    "Crime is common. Logic is rare." Sherlock Holmes.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    7
    I think you're right, Holmes is a kind of Deus Ex Machina - but I actually see this as part of his appeal. If he was an everyday person with average qualities, he probably wouldn't be the most famous classic detective of all time. But I wouldn't go so far as to say this makes him a kind of super-hero, surprising us with this sudden powers. His monograph on cigar/tobacco ash is mentioned consistently throughout the Canon, and his boxing is mentioned first in the Study of Scarlet.
    Although he's eccentric character, he's not unbelievable. His love of music, his occasional waves of emotion and his penchant for flattery , ensure that! As for Watson, I think he regrets the way n which he sensationalises the cases when he writes them up/ But he's got genuine affection for Watson, as shown in the Three Garridebs. I won't go on, but for me the character of Holmes far exceeds the mysteries which he solves. But I guess that's what's so good about literature, there's not just one interpretation!

  4. #4
    VonJuntz vonjuntz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Portland, Maine
    Posts
    7
    That was a really long read to a commercial fu

  5. #5
    thinking.... mosimo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Here and there
    Posts
    124
    What most people fail to realize when reading Sherlock stories is that Holmes is not the main character. Rather Watson is Holmes does serve more like a god who watches over the story to make everything come out all right. But if anyone wishes to write a character analysis on a Sherlock Holmes story the character with the most depth and dimensions is Watson.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    1

    Would You Like to Possess Holmes Power?

    My Fellow Sherlockians,

    I have now officially read the full Sherlock Holmes collection and must say it saddens me that there is no more of his exciting adventures to read. I guess it will be a delight to read over the stories again but this time with a mission…

    Spiderman can swoop through buildings with his web, Superman can fly and see through walls, but what dawned upon me was that if Sherlock Holmes was the first Western Super Hero, what was his power? Obviously his insane skill in deduction and observation. But I realized, can the average human being possess such a gift. Can we really improve our thought process to be able to reason within such logic like the great detective does.

    I have taken it upon myself to research into the science of deduction and cover over the many stories/notes that explains Holmes thought process. From this extensive research, I plan to write a book for all the Holmes fans out there whom may be interested to perhaps acquire or enhance such a talent like his.

    Please feel free to provide your thoughts, opinions on the idea and what you may like to have answered in my book. Your response will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you all.

    Taz Rai

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    4

    Smile Doyle is Doyle

    It is a pity that some members have been maligning the master of detective story writing. There can be no two opinions that Sherlock Holmes is the sort of character every aspiring detective would like to become. One who gets to being at least ten percent of Holmes' abilities would romp home a winner in his career. The critics are either jealous or too carried away by the present generation of crime thrillers.

    It saddens me that people who are more into Grisham have not been able to grasp the way Holmes has been created.

  8. #8
    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    6,499
    Quote Originally Posted by pennashri View Post
    It is a pity that some members have been maligning the master of detective story writing. There can be no two opinions that Sherlock Holmes is the sort of character every aspiring detective would like to become. One who gets to being at least ten percent of Holmes' abilities would romp home a winner in his career. The critics are either jealous or too carried away by the present generation of crime thrillers.

    It saddens me that people who are more into Grisham have not been able to grasp the way Holmes has been created.

    It is a pity that Sherlock Holmes is part of a sub-genre of fiction which has given rise to a great deal of rubbish. However, that is not to say that Conan Doyle's fictional creation isn't infinitely superior to the myriad clones that followed. The inventiveness of the plots, whether in the novels or short stories, are definitely more interesting than what passes for crime thrillers today.
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

  9. #9
    Watcher by Night mtpspur's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Fairborn OH, USA
    Posts
    814
    Blog Entries
    394
    Sherlock Holmes is an icon much like Superman and Tarzan--known the world over in a general sense if not specifically. It has been years since I read any of his tales and I confess I have NOT finsihed them all--for some reason I can't get thru The Valley of Fear. Of the many imitators which sprung up I woud direct readers to August Derleths SolarPons stories (continued by Basil Cooper) as a worthy successor. I really have nothing substantial ot add to the glory of this character except that he is well worth the reading and many hours could be worse spent.

  10. #10
    Registered User naluneabezshapk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Roulettenburg
    Posts
    5
    The only thing I have a qualm with is that Sir Arthur Canon Doyle did not write more episodes!

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    3,890
    Quote Originally Posted by TazRai17 View Post
    My Fellow Sherlockians,

    I have now officially read the full Sherlock Holmes collection and must say it saddens me that there is no more of his exciting adventures to read. I guess it will be a delight to read over the stories again but this time with a mission…

    Spiderman can swoop through buildings with his web, Superman can fly and see through walls, but what dawned upon me was that if Sherlock Holmes was the first Western Super Hero, what was his power? Obviously his insane skill in deduction and observation. But I realized, can the average human being possess such a gift. Can we really improve our thought process to be able to reason within such logic like the great detective does.

    I have taken it upon myself to research into the science of deduction and cover over the many stories/notes that explains Holmes thought process. From this extensive research, I plan to write a book for all the Holmes fans out there whom may be interested to perhaps acquire or enhance such a talent like his.

    Please feel free to provide your thoughts, opinions on the idea and what you may like to have answered in my book. Your response will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you all.

    Taz Rai
    Why did Sherlock get together with 007, inflated a giant King Kong like a Zepellin with a time bomb, made it fly over the river Cam and explode over the Lucasian chair at Cambridge, thus causing the Big Bang?
    Last edited by cafolini; 12-24-2011 at 09:12 PM.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    5
    Quote Originally Posted by vonjuntz View Post
    That was a really long read to a commercial fu
    Hello!

    I think - just the others- the original canon is the best. And I must say: he was a hero without magical power, and magical object. He use his brain when he see a problem.

    I find a good character analysis here: sherlockian-sherlock dot com site

    Happy Sherlock Day!

Similar Threads

  1. Other Books with Sherlock Holmes
    By Literary_Cat in forum Doyle, Arthur Conan
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 07-22-2009, 01:43 PM
  2. Literary Features in Sherlock Holmes
    By cabbagetom in forum The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-11-2007, 03:18 PM
  3. Sherlock Holmes in Ethiopia
    By DoyleElmoCollin in forum The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-26-2005, 04:51 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •