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Thread: Literature Ramble

  1. #181
    The Gnu Normal Pompey Bum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I however think I (we) belong to a generation where we have no option but vallue the printed books over the e-books, only because the social interation caused by e-books have not developed yet to offer options for bookshops, libraries and bibliothecas. I just think my younger sisters, if I didn't had printed books or had the habit to take them out to visit bookshops, so they could get the books, etc. I do not think i would be able to spark the interest for reading. I cannot see e-books having this effect just yet.
    Well, do as you choose, but remember it doesn't have to be an either-or decision. You can always do both, using the money you save on ebooks to fund purchases that support bookstores and the printed page. As for the general trend, well, history is a mighty river that goes where it goes. Sometimes the best you can hope for is a good canoe.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Irene Adler, if I am not mistaken it was just like the first short story and Holmes was exagerating about her wits, but anyways, those are not really women (just like most of the other characters were not really men), most of them were just vessels for the crime/problem and had no personality watsoever. Overall, Holmes's england was dull if we consider who lived there, but rich if we consider what happened. Obviously, we cannot demand that much from Doyle, he was no Dickens and if he had, that would probally chop off his realism.
    Yes, Irene Adler, from the first short story, "A Scandal in Bohemia." It was more of an adventure than a mystery, which is why I didn't like it as a kid. Adler is something between a new woman and a femme fatale--partly a developed character and partly a stock-in-trade figure. The title of the story is significant. The plot involves the supposed King of Bohemia, but the title resonates the Bohemian lifestyle available in London--a place where one might even run into women as intelligent as men. And guess what? Such women turn out to be appealing. Who knew? It's important, too, that "A Scandal in Bohemia" is a very early story, from when Holmes was still being sold as a Bohemian eccentric and not a Victorian superego (which, arguably, he became in some of the later stories).

    I don't agree, though, that most of Doyle's characters were "just vessels for the crime/problem and had no personality watsoever." Doyle was no Dickens to be sure--not as a technical writer and not as a visionary. He was (in the beginning) a young physician who wrote short stories for extra cash. He hit the jackpot with Holmes and Watson and got rich and famous, then he (understandably) wanted to move on. When that couldn't happen, some/many of the later stories became formulaic (since he didn't really want to be writing them). And that's when you start to get the forgettable characters. But in the earlier stories, and some of the later ones, the characters (the males at least) are a strength. Mycroft Holmes and his Diogenes Club--where intellectuals do nothing but sit in silence and think deep thoughts all day--is like something out of Bleak House; as is Jabez Wilson, a London pawnbroker who gets snookered into joining a supposed league of redheaded men paid to spend their days hand copying the Encyclopedia Britannica for no apparent reason. In some ways, the mysteries are secondary to the characters and their situations in the (earlier) stories.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Kipling is another ocean. He is an "upside down Conrad", in the sense his status was bigger and now he seems reduced to adventure/fantasy/children writer and people do not take him much seriously. But he was a great poet, really good. Not talking about the over popular If, but his barracks poems are awesome. His domain of (lets say) soldier dialect gave energy and flow to his poems (and amazingly, his short stories, which were screaming to be oral) and all the white man burden didnt stopped him to understand the humanity of those soldiers.
    Yes, I usually think of Kipling as a children's writer--probably because my mother read me the Just So stories when I was a little boy (and I later read The Jungle Book on my own). I haven't read Kipling's poetry except for "If" and "Gunga Din", but I did read The Man Who Would Be King, which captures some of the soldier dialect. Kipling turned out to be ephemeral, I think, because the British Empire did not last as long as most thought it would. It doesn't bode well for your work if you becomes the mouthpiece of nothing.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I think, he, being a bordeline person (orality/written world, tradition/civilization, myth/history, indian/british)helped a lot to create a sense of magic/mistery mixed with realism that made him a true precussor of latin american magic realism.
    That's an interesting point. I wonder if the experience of European colonialism (the traditions of which Kipling was presumably borrowing) contributed to that in both areas--perhaps through the marriage of Enlightenment rationalism and indigenous traditions of magical thinking. I'm sorry if that is an obvious or ignorant thing to say, by the way. I know little of magic realism and find myself drawn away from it as I get older. I think The Sleeping Giant, for example, would have been better with less. But to each his own.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Unlike Doyle living london (his third best character), Christie society was non-existent. Everything was inside big houses, farms, hotels, etc. I dont know, maybe this was the english desire to be once more an island after they found out the crumbling empire.
    It's a great point about the houses and hotels. As for British island nostalgia, I'm remembering one of Christie's books about ten people stuck on an island being picked off one by one by one of their own--but which one? That was one of the few of hers I liked as a kid. It was suspenseful and explored some interesting ideas about trust and alliances (the original Survivor? ). But I think it betrays more national self-loathing than a desire to return to the mother island. But maybe I'm reading too much into it.

    By the way, I would say that Doyle's London is tied for being his best character. But for all that, it's a pale shadow of Dickens' world.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I can give her some credit when she really iimagine an impossible crime or use more complicated ways to tell the story (having the criminal tells the story, using multiple point of view, or having all characters be the killers), but sometimes it is just too complicated that it is also a non sense to have a clear obvious solution. Despite all this, I barelly remember the characters of her books unless they are the killer (which was a obvious cue, if there is a character in the book as lively as Poirot, it is the killer)...
    I know what you mean. I recognize Murder on the Orient Express as one of the novels you refer to above, and I remember it had many suspects (everyone on the train), but apart from Poirot and Hastings, I can't recall a single character. By contrast, I can remember even very minor characters from Doyle (like Billy, the leader of the Baker Street irregulars and Toby, the bloodhound in The Sign of the Four). And that for books I haven't read in--well, many decades. That clinches the characterization discussion (for me).

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    His teological concerns are there, but really, at his best stories his worries seems to be quite simple: having faith does not make you stupid.
    Sounds like my kind of guy.
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  2. #182
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    Kipling is sometimes reviled as the poet of Colonialism. He romanticized steam and slang in his poems and stories: the steam of the locomotive and the slang of the railroad man. I don't think he revered Colonialism -- or at least not as much as his reputation would suggest. Instead, he lauded professionalism. He had little interest in soldierly valor; his interest was in the soldier's professionalism. He wrote equally well about engineers, journalists, sailors and (even) working elephants and mules. In The Jungle Books, Kipling admires the discipline and professionalism of the animals (and despises its absence among the Bander Log). Riki Tiki Tavi is as professional as the Servants of the Queen.

    He did not, I think, love England or its Colonialism. But he did admire the discipline which led to Colonial success. Thus much, he was a product of his times. The valor of the citizen-soldiers of the past had vanished, replaced by a soldiering caste, for whom it's "Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, 'ow's yer soul? "
    But it's " Thin red line of 'eroes " when the drums begin to roll...."

    Also, "The Jungle Books" are one of the great children's stories, and when I was a child, I thought the last line of the Second Jungle Book immeasurably sad:

    "The stars are thin," said Grey Brother, snuffing at the dawn-wind. Where shall we lair today? For from now on we follow new trails."

    And this is the last of the Mowgli stories.

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    Well, I think we can call Kipling a colonialist without claiming he revered colonialism, because it is a concept we created and Kipling wasn't aware of this, so he couldnt revere it, as you say. I understand what you mean by professionalism, Kipling show a lot of interest for the structure and organization of what we call civilization. Everything had a place, a fuction, etc. even in the jungle (the whole story of Mowgli is about his place in the society, after all), his fables are all about how things come to be and even his exploits with language - the slangs and all - are guided by some sense of order. He wouldnt do the "chaos" Joyce did nor the pessimism of Conrad and Eliot about the structure of modern world and the failure of the civilization enterprise. There is some hints of such danger, but he still optmistic.

    I also agree that his interest for the army may have started as an interest for one of the structures, but Kipling had also an interest for "heroes" and for the common folk. Not as much to be a marxist, not as much to have the ordinary person be representative as XX century would do, but he does sympathize with the plights of the soldiers, even if as a critical attempt at the empire structure (or a hint of disapointment) and we have a very human and lively visions and characters (albeit very generic characters), a bit because his domain of the language is exceptional.

    In the end I think Kipling is stuck in midway between the XIX century and XX century, there is some hints of what modernist would do, there is still a lot of romantic tropes about him. He is way more rich than the jingoist out-spoken poet image people build for him, even if his belief in the civilization and the duty to take order and the culture this civilization implies, but the burden of white man is a damn negative PR disaster...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Yes, Irene Adler, from the first short story, "A Scandal in Bohemia." It was more of an adventure than a mystery, which is why I didn't like it as a kid. Adler is something between an new woman and a femme fatale--partly a developed character and partly stock-in-trade figure. The title of the story is significant, I think. The plot involves the supposed King of Bohemia, but the title resonates with the idea of the Bohemian lifestyle available in London--a place where one might even run into women as intelligent as me. And guess what? Such women turn out to be appealing. Who knew? It's important, too, that "A Scandal in Bohemia" is a very early story, from when Holmes was still being sold as a Bohemian eccentric and not a Victorian superego (which, arguably, he became in some of the later stories).
    Yeah, it was in my opinion, a pretty much dull story. Sometimes I wonder Doyle was trying to impress some girl and since he could not write a sonet, made her a girl smarter than Holmes. Of course, Adler importance grew way beyond her real importance once victorian age was gone and Oscar Wilde self-defense destroyed the good reputation of everyone that had a platonic good friend.

    I mentioned a story by Kipling and in James, in both, we have a writer with a great idea and the whole thing lead to a romantic interest and this romantic interest would kill the writer talent (in kipling, the writer just stops dreaming the greatest story ever told and in james an older writer "steals" the girl from the writer to preserve his talent). There is also Maud Gonne answer to Yeats when he asked her to marry him: that she was saving Yeats for the world (not saying she just had a better motive: she didnt love him at all, just that story was popular enough. There is just this whole motive woman (or sex, or love) would ruin intelectuals and I go on with that, sherlock and his clones were posed in the lineage of Oedipus and had a genetic preucatoin against women and relationships. I recall an essay that as soon Marlowe married, he retired and probally couldnt find out where his socks were anymore.

    I don't agree, though, that most of Doyle's characters were "just vessels for the crime/problem and had no personality watsoever." Doyle was no Dickens to be sure--not as a technical writer and not as a visionary. He was (in the beginning) a young physician who wrote short stories for extra cash. He hit the jackpot with Holmes and Watson and got rich and famous, then he (understandably) wanted to move on. When that couldn't happen, some/many of the later stories became formulaic (since he didn't really want to be writing them). And that's when you start to get the forgettable characters. But in the earlier stories, and some of the later ones, the characters (the males at least) are a strength. Mycroft Holmes and his Diogenes Club--where intellectuals do nothing but sit in silence and think deep thoughts all day--is like something out of Bleak House; as is Jabez Wilson, a London pawnbroker who gets snookered into joining a supposed league of redheaded men paid to spend their days hand copying the Encyclopedia Britannica for no apparent reason. In some ways, the mysteries are secondary to the characters and their situations in the (earlier) stories.
    Yeah, I can recall Mycroft well. More because Doyle found a small pearl there, I dunno if over there it is usual, but here, Pele always said his father was a better player than he if wasnt for the injuries, then another great player Zico, had a older brother who would be much better than him, if he had more lucky, etc. The idea that a genius have a relative that is superior to him, but something just kept him from being so was great, but except this, what we have about Mycroft? Holmes-Watson interaction (even if they are rather unchanged even by death) shows a lot of insights of the characters. Mycroft I think talks more about the Diogenes club. It is like, after Dickens explained the city to everyone, the shrinks had come and reveal the subconcious and the public needed to find those fantastic yet mundane things lurking in the corners to feel the city was real. Chesterton would claim the belief in magic wasnt destroyed by the chimes, but it seems like no urbarn setting is complete and real without a alley mercant with a magical ring to sell. Stevenson of course felt that way and inspired by a similar setting in 1001 nights (the Bagdah where Haroon Al-Rachid visited disguised every night) came with Suicide Club (and the following adventures of the characters) and Mr Hyde. Lovecraft would be less creative and come with Cthutulus. This way, I think Mycroft is more a local color to Doyle's London.


    Yes, I usually think of Kipling as a children's writer--probably because my mother read me the Just So stories when I was a little boy (and I later read The Jungle Book on my own). I haven't read Kipling's poetry except for "If" and "Gunga Din", but I did read The Man Who Would Be King, which captures some of the soldier dialect. Kipling turned out to be ephemeral, I think, because the British Empire did not last as long as most thought it would. It doesn't bode well for your work if you becomes the mouthpiece of nothing.
    As I said to Ecurd, I think that verse about the white man burden is quite destructive. Kipling is more universal (even his passion for the heroics is something anyone would understand) and honestly, all those "real vision of war and the soldiers suffering without any romantic heroic vision" has a pint of Kipling behind. The funny thing, I think his best tale in Just so stories is about a cat. That should have make him quite popular by now, but mowgli seems to be something not meant to be read. (Albeit, i recal la few years, a research showed If to be the most popular english poem in the internet, just ahead of Wordsworth daffodils.).

    [QUOTE]That's an interesting point. I wonder if the experience of European colonialism (the traditions of which Kipling was presumably borrowing) contributed to that in both areas--perhaps through the marriage of Enlightenment rationalism and indigenous traditions of magical thinking. I'm sorry if that is an obvious or ignorant thing to say, by the way. I know little of magic realism and find myself drawn away from it as I get older. I think The Sleeping Giant, for example, would have been better with less. But to each his own. [quote]

    I am sure that did. He has plenty of stories which shows the "confliict" (it is not a conflicts like a one against another, it is more, both happening at sametime) of "white man" actions and the "traditions" of the locals. Hindu gods discussing a flood because a damp build by english soldiers, for example. Kipling loved both the product of progress and the magic of tradition.

    Now, Sleeping Giant has no even a dot of Magic Realism. Some may use magic realism for Rushide or Kadare, but really, magic realism is a post-colonial latin american movement. The usual style has more to do with Melville,Gogol, Poe, Kafka or Conrad. It mixes their sense of realism/fantastic with the sittuation around here: the european culture mixing with the local and african culture, creating contraditory views where reason and magic must live close by. There is an usual realistic modern setting paralel with traditional views, a lot of use of parodoxes and time manipulation. If you compare with surrealism, the idea of magic realism is that the fantastic is real and not psychological. It is not straight out or medieval fantasy, but modern fantastic approaches. Of course, not every "writer" of magic realism bothered to follow rules, etc.



    It's a great point about the houses and hotels. As for British island nostalgia, I'm remembering one of Christie's books about ten people stuck on an island being picked off one by one by one of their own--but which one? That was one of the few of hers I liked as a kid. It was suspenseful and explored some interesting ideas about trust and alliances (the original Survivor? ). But I think it betrays more national self-loathing than a desire to return to the mother island. But maybe I'm reading too much into it.
    The infamous 10 little niggers book. Yeah, not a detective story at all, a mystery story, more fantastic, yes. I do not think it is much reading. It is rather convenient to be a island when self loathing makes you want to sulk in a corner.


    By the way, I would say that Doyle's London is tied for being his best character. But for all that, it's a pale shadow of Dickens' world.
    Yeah, I would say, his London is only possible because Dickens London came first. They kind complete each other.


    I know what you mean. I recognize Murder on the Orient Express as one of the novels you refer to above, and I remember it had many suspects (everyone on the train), but apart from Poirot and Hastings, I can't recall a single character. By contrast, I can remember even very minor characters from Doyle (like Billy, the leader of the Baker Street irregulars and Toby, the bloodhound in The Sign of the Four). And that for books I haven't read in--well, many decades. That clinches the characterization discussion (for me).
    Hastings is not even there. He is replaced by a generic brit militar that showed (or would show) in some other stories. I think the only thing to remember is that each character was defined by a job/nation. It was the italian driver, the american PI, etc. It is Colonel Mustard all over. Of course, the entire mistery is kind amazing to pull out, but for real? The level of complexity for such plan would make Spectre confused. At last Christie had some sense of humor and once wrote a book that the due used a pin, a line, a rubber ballon with pig blood, etc to kill someone in a book (which of course, has no memorable characters on it).
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  5. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    a place where one might even run into women as intelligent as me.
    That's a type-o. It should have said more "more intelligent than men" not "more intelligent than me".
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

  6. #186
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Of course, Adler importance grew way beyond her real importance once victorian age was gone and Oscar Wilde self-defense destroyed the good reputation of everyone that had a platonic good friend.
    Yes, and for much of the 20th century Irene Adler was Holmes' lifeline to heterosexuality (although he really only admired her intellectually). But to give the lady her fictional due, I remember girls who liked Adler and thought it was cool that she'd outwitted Holmes. And as a character she had some potential. One of Doyle's weaknesses is that he didn't know which characters should come back. Irene Adler is gone after the first story. Mycroft, who deserves to be a regular, only turns up in two stories. Professor Moriarty is described in brief flashbacks in three stories, but he appears in the flesh only once, momentarily and from a distance, when Holmes points him out in a crowd (and if you follow the story closely, it couldn't really have been him). Of the characters that did repeat frequently, only Lestrade of Scotland Yard is interesting--and that is just because he develops over time. At first he projects a (reciprocated) contempt for Holmes, but after some years he apologizes, and eventually they become respectful colleagues. There is another repeating police character named Gregson, indistinguishable from the early Lestrade (even when they appear together). And there is a frequently returning policeman in the later stories--young Hopkins or something--who plays Jimmy Olsen to Holmes' Victorian Superman (he's a sort of bellwether for how bad things had gotten by then).

    And the women, of course, get nothing. As I said earlier, Mary Morstan was a fully developed character until she married Watson, but afterwards she was barely a ghost (she can't even get her husband's name right). And Mrs Hudson, the 221-B Baker Street landlady, could have been a great repeat character. But in fact she is hardly there at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I mentioned a story by Kipling and in James, in both, we have a writer with a great idea and the whole thing lead to a romantic interest and this romantic interest would kill the writer talent (in kipling, the writer just stops dreaming the greatest story ever told and in james an older writer "steals" the girl from the writer to preserve his talent). There is also Maud Gonne answer to Yeats when he asked her to marry him: that she was saving Yeats for the world (not saying she just had a better motive: she didnt love him at all, just that story was popular enough. There is just this whole motive woman (or sex, or love) would ruin intelectuals and I go on with that, sherlock and his clones were posed in the lineage of Oedipus and had a genetic preucatoin against women and relationships. I recall an essay that as soon Marlowe married, he retired and probally couldnt find out where his socks were anymore.
    Well, I know that happened to me.

    What you are talking about really is celibacy--not just refraining from sex (which is technically only continence) but separating oneself from what Maude Gonne would have thought of as the world: the mundane responsibilities and limitations that make one narrowly self interested and tediously normal and everything a poet (or, in the case of Holmes, a genius) is not. Kazanzakolos was getting at the same thing in The Last Temptation of Christ. The temptation was to be normal--to marry and have a few kids and die and be done with it, and not to live in good existential faith and be what he was--the Suffering Servant to bear the sins of humanity.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Yeah, I can recall Mycroft well. More because Doyle found a small pearl there, I dunno if over there it is usual, but here, Pele always said his father was a better player than he if wasnt for the injuries, then another great player Zico, had a older brother who would be much better than him, if he had more lucky, etc. The idea that a genius have a relative that is superior to him, but something just kept him from being so was great, but except this, what we have about Mycroft? Holmes-Watson interaction (even if they are rather unchanged even by death) shows a lot of insights of the characters. Mycroft I think talks more about the Diogenes club. It is like, after Dickens explained the city to everyone, the shrinks had come and reveal the subconcious and the public needed to find those fantastic yet mundane things lurking in the corners to feel the city was real. Chesterton would claim the belief in magic wasnt destroyed by the chimes, but it seems like no urbarn setting is complete and real without a alley mercant with a magical ring to sell. Stevenson of course felt that way and inspired by a similar setting in 1001 nights (the Bagdah where Haroon Al-Rachid visited disguised every night) came with Suicide Club (and the following adventures of the characters) and Mr Hyde. Lovecraft would be less creative and come with Cthutulus. This way, I think Mycroft is more a local color to Doyle's London.
    You are right that Doyle doesn't do nearly as much as he should with Mycroft (he doesn't with the other characters I mentioned either). But as you said, we can't expect as much from Doyle as we can from Dickens. Doyle is virtually an amateur writer (or was when he did his best work). In fact, I think of him as a kind of Dickens wannabe, both in his vivid evocation of London and the eccentric characters he aspires to create. Mycroft even seems a little like a Dickensian satire. His Diogenes Club reminds me of Mr Turveydrop's deportment studio--where students do nothing but deport themselves well. But if Doyle was not Dickens (and he wasn't), he was at least Doyle. I will always feel grateful to him for turning me on to literature.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    As I said to Ecurd, I think that verse about the white man burden is quite destructive. Kipling is more universal (even his passion for the heroics is something anyone would understand) and honestly, all those "real vision of war and the soldiers suffering without any romantic heroic vision" has a pint of Kipling behind. The funny thing, I think his best tale in Just so stories is about a cat. That should have make him quite popular by now, but mowgli seems to be something not meant to be read. (Albeit, i recal la few years, a research showed If to be the most popular english poem in the internet, just ahead of Wordsworth daffodils.).
    Over here, "If" gets printed on graduation cards (the sort your uncle sends you). People who don't even know who Kipling was have read the poem. And now that I think of it, I have read "The White Man's Burden". In fact, I remember seeing a kind of apologia about it claiming that the poem was deeply ironic. It was written in response to the American acquisition of the Philippines, and (so claimed the writer) its sense was something like: Oh, think you're taking up the white man's burden, do you? Yeah, that's what we thought, too, and it brought us nothing but trouble. But even if that interpretation is correct, the poem is still a little dodgy (just read it) and not particularly honest: the colonized people's suffered far worse than those who were bleeding them of revenues. But it does remove the cliche of the white man's burden as Kipling's ideological credo.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Now, Sleeping Giant has no even a dot of Magic Realism. Some may use magic realism for Rushide or Kadare, but really, magic realism is a post-colonial latin american movement. The usual style has more to do with Melville,Gogol, Poe, Kafka or Conrad. It mixes their sense of realism/fantastic with the sittuation around here: the european culture mixing with the local and african culture, creating contraditory views where reason and magic must live close by. There is an usual realistic modern setting paralel with traditional views, a lot of use of parodoxes and time manipulation. If you compare with surrealism, the idea of magic realism is that the fantastic is real and not psychological. It is not straight out or medieval fantasy, but modern fantastic approaches. Of course, not every "writer" of magic realism bothered to follow rules, etc.
    Okay, thank you for teaching me that. I read One Hundred Years of Solitude more years ago than I care to admit (in the remote African bush, as it transpired). I remember liking it at the time, but as I get older I prefer a narrower sort of realism. If you've followed any of my religious thought on the site, I tend to be a little dualistic (surprise, surprise) and see the world as a stark and nasty place in contrast to the purity and love of God. Maybe magic realism just blurs lines for me that I prefer to keep distinct. I don't think it's my thing in any case.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    The level of complexity for such plan would make Spectre confused.
    Heh. Have you ever read Ian Fleming? I haven't. I only saw the Sean Connery movies back in the day. They are a good example of how something that is originally fresh and fun can be choked to death by formula. But I don't think the movies had much in common with the books.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 06-11-2018 at 10:12 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Yes, and for much of the 20th century Irene Adler was Holmes' lifeline to heterosexuality (although he really only admired her intellectually). But to give the lady her fictional due, I remember girls who liked Adler and thought it was cool that she'd outwitted Holmes. And as a character she had some potential. One of Doyle's weaknesses is that he didn't know which characters should come back. Irene Adler is gone after the first story. Mycroft, who deserves to be a regular, only turns up in two stories. Professor Moriarty is described in brief flashbacks in three stories, but he appears in the flesh only once, momentarily and from a distance, when Holmes points him out in a crowd (and if you follow the story closely, it couldn't really have been him). Of the characters that did repeat frequently, only Lestrade of Scotland Yard is interesting--and that is just because he develops over time. At first he projects a (reciprocated) contempt for Holmes, but after some years he apologizes, and eventually they become respectful colleagues. There is another repeating police character named Gregson, indistinguishable from the early Lestrade (even when they appear together). And there is a frequently returning policeman in the later stories--young Hopkins or something--who plays Jimmy Olsen to Holmes' Victorian Superman (he's a sort of bellwether for how bad things had gotten by then).
    If I recall well, Lestrade was more Dickensiean, working as a comic relief and kind like the representantion and mistrust of the average joe reading the stories for the police competence. The other guys, while always behind Holmes witts, were more or less "respectable", unlike Lestrade who would do some dumb thing or be played by Holmes completely due his wrong conclusions. Obviously, this side of Lestrade became a trademark afterwards, either in detective stories or just burt reynolds movies.

    What you are talking about really is celicibacy--not just refraining from sex (which technically only continence) but separating oneself from what Maude Gonne would have thought of as the world: the mundane responsibilities and limitations that make one narrowly self interested and tediously normal and everything a poet (or, in the case of Holmes, a genius) is not. Kazanzakolos was getting at the same thing in The Last Temptation of Christ. The temptation was to be normal--to marry and have a few kids and die and be done with it, and not to live in good existential faith and be what he was--the Suffering Servant to bear the sins of humanity.
    It may take the form of celibacy, or even just having a love interest that has the personality and importance of a doorknob. Introspective Genius always have problem with women, be them Oedipus, Batman or Hamlet. Last Temptation is a good example, albeit it may have to do more with the effect of having a normal life than showing any interest in women (and all monastic consequences), after all, narrative wise, Jesus is more like a mix between the Truth and the Mistery than the guy who is seeking the truth and solving misteries like Oedipus, albeit both are a bit like introspective genius. Probally first cousins.


    You are right that Doyle doesn't do nearly as much as he should with Mycroft (he doesn't with the other characters I mentioned either). But as you said, we can't expect as much from Doyle as we can from Dickens. Doyle is virtually an amateur writer (or was when he did his best work). In fact, I think of him as a kind of Dickens wannabe, both in his vivid evocation of London and the eccentric characters he aspires to create. Mycroft even seems a little like a Dickensian satire. His Diogenes Club reminds me of Mr Turveydrop's deportment studio--where students do nothing but deport themselves well. But if Doyle was not Dickens (and he wasn't), he was at least Doyle. I will always feel grateful to him for turning me on to literature.
    It is funny to think as an amateur someone who wrote for money only (Well, both wrote for money, anyways).

    Well, he did better than most of penny dreadfulls that were struggling to use the same leftovers of Dickens and Poe. Today, people would complain about Doyle publishing for free for Amazon or something...


    Over here, "If" gets printed on graduation cards (the sort your uncle sends you). People who don't even know who Kipling was have read the poem. And now that I think of it, I have read "The White Man's Burden". In fact, I remember seeing a kind of apologia about it claiming that the poem was deeply ironic. It was written in response to the American acquisition of the Philippines, and (so claimed the writer) its sense was something like: Oh, think you're taking up the white man's burden, do you? Yeah, that's what we thought, too, and it brought us nothing but trouble. But even if that interpretation is correct, the poem is still a little dodgy (just read it) and not particularly honest: the colonized people's suffered far worse than those who were bleeding them of revenues. But it does remove the cliche of the white man's burden as Kipling's ideological credo.
    Yeah, the White man Burden poem was about the Philipines, Kipling was parternalzing in a way the Americans, those new kids thinking they know how to be an empire, but we brits know better, way. The point, which could be used to "save" him, would be if he was mocking the overall trouble of the empire and being sympathetic towards the colonies. Mind you, he was sympathetic towards the colonies, but he did tought they would be better under the guidance of the empire (not atypical, he is not a monster or anything like this, he is just a XIX century dude that happened to live a little bit too far in the XX century). The thing is sometimes Kipling was quite able to see those bleeding on the streets and be critical of the process, but this poem screws it all. When you are good with words, you must remember people will read them for centuries, after all. I however think Kipling still worthwhile, a complex writer with a lot of quality and he does not need to be one of the few to pay for being a product of his time. One of the funniest part of Henry James and Stevenson correspondence is their enthusiasm with the young Kipling. Those two know a thing or two about quality storytelling. (And it always be interesting to contrast Stevenson and Kipling, because Stevenson starts as a full part of the empire, no middle term and slowly moves to that bordelaine, without even finding any "Horror, horror", but then, his approach was humanitarian to an extreme.


    Okay, thank you for teaching me that. I read One Hundred Years of Solitude more years ago than I care to admit (in the remote African bush, as it transpired). I remember liking it at the time, but as I get older I prefer a narrower sort of realism. If you've followed any of my religious thought on the site, I tend to be a little dualistic (surprise, surprise) and see the world as a stark and nasty place in contrast to the purity and love of God. Maybe magic realism just blurs lines for me that I prefer to keep distinct. I don't think it's my thing in any case.
    The thing about Magic Realism is that it was not even close to a homogeneous modernist movement (if that thing ever came to be). It was an idea that a very different group of writers in latin american followed sort like a identidy (and identidy was a great deal for a latin american in the XX century). Just like the Latin American Boom, it was used in the north hemisphere to identify a large group of writers from the region, but some didnt even knew they were part of it. So, you mixed Nicaragua, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay (and later Brazil), generations such as Borges/Neruda and Marquez/Cortazar and complete different ideas and approaches. 100 years is of course a experiment about time (if you are writing about a family genealogy, it is about time) were Marquez mix his local storytelling tradition with some Faulkner like style. He have some more conventional works (albeit he will always trying to write the stories he used to heard by his grandmother) and it is completely different from the political Vargas Llosa or Cortazar that was more Kafka/Poe like. You can find anything and duality is sometimes a important theme due to Borges experience, albeit many of them are not very moralists.


    Heh. Have you ever read Ian Fleming? I haven't. I only saw the Sean Connery movies back in the day. They are a good example of how something that is originally fresh and fun can be choked to death by formula. But I don't think the movies had much in common with the books.
    I read one of those chapters playboy used to publish long ago. Not my style. I was thinking the movie, but even them are not exactly my cup of tea, while sometimes they are funny. It did seem that the movies exagerated the sittuations and Bond character, but that was probally for better, kind like reckogning how not serious that could be.
    #foratemer

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    If I recall well, Lestrade was more Dickensiean, working as a comic relief and kind like the representantion and mistrust of the average joe reading the stories for the police competence. The other guys, while always behind Holmes witts, were more or less "respectable", unlike Lestrade who would do some dumb thing or be played by Holmes completely due his wrong conclusions.
    Lestrade wasn't much different than Gregson at first. Now that I think of it there was another repeating police character named Jones who was more or less of the same model. The only real difference was that Lestrade and to a lesser extent Jones (who was only in two stories) made peace with Holmes while Gregson just dropped
    out of the series with the same pissy attitude he always had. And Hopkins (who turns up in the later stories) is something like a wide-eyed novice who looks up to Holmes. So the movement over time was away from conflict. And in my opinion this is an example of the series declining.

    I wouldn't say the conflict with Scotland Yard was done for comic relief, although it is sometimes played that way in the movies. In the stories, it's more a reversal of reader expectations. Holmes fights crime so he must be more or less in the police orbit, but no, the police actually don't like him--they just need his brains. And he is quite derisive of them, at least to Watson. It's another example of Holmes' eccentricity in the early stories. But it is muted and eventually extinguished, presumably as Doyle became older and more stodgy.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Obviously, this side of Lestrade became a trademark afterwards, either in detective stories or just burt reynolds movies.
    Yes, it becomes a common feature of detective stories, especially the hard boiled "LA noir" type in which the clever detective has to keep a step ahead of the dumb (sometimes brutal) cops. That came from Doyle ultimately. He may not have been a Dickens, but he was hugely influential as a genre writer. He didn't invent the detective story, but rendered it in his image.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    It may take the form of celibacy, or even just having a love interest that has the personality and importance of a doorknob.
    Right, so we can understand Maude Gonne's position: I wouldn't be a doorknob and I wouldn't be unimportant; you would have to be my husband and accept all the contending with the world that implies; and that would necessarily prevent you from being the poet you are; and I'm not going to let that happen.

    Or as Byron put it:

    Think you, if Laura had been Petrarch's wife
    He would have written sonnets all his life?

    Heh heh.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Introspective Genius always have problem with women, be them Oedipus, Batman or Hamlet. Last Temptation is a good example, albeit it may have to do more with the effect of having a normal life than showing any interest in women (and all monastic consequences), after all, narrative wise, Jesus is more like a mix between the Truth and the Mistery than the guy who is seeking the truth and solving misteries like Oedipus, albeit both are a bit like introspective genius. Probally first cousins.
    Yes, I suppose the last temptation of Batman would have been to bang Batgirl.

    But I think Kazantzakis was being more an existentialist than a Christian (or perhaps he was being both). Good faith (as Sartre would have understood it) meant Jesus going to the Cross (and Yeats being a poet) despite temptations of domesticity. It also means Alyosha Karamazov remains a Christian despite his immovable doubts and that the Underground Man remains a mess despite his transient ones. He was who he was.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    It is funny to think as an amateur someone who wrote for money only (Well, both wrote for money, anyways).
    Yes, the irony was intended. Doyle was a better writer as a virtual amateur (perhaps a paid dilettante would be more accurate) than as an established writer cranking out formula. It's probably significant that Holmes is repeatedly referred to as an "unofficial" detective in the earlier stories.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Today, people would complain about Doyle publishing for free for Amazon or something...
    I was about to say the same thing. Or more likely he'd be posting stories on LitNet.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Yeah, the White man Burden poem was about the Philipines, Kipling was parternalzing in a way the Americans, those new kids thinking they know how to be an empire, but we brits know better, way. The point, which could be used to "save" him, would be if he was mocking the overall trouble of the empire and being sympathetic towards the colonies. Mind you, he was sympathetic towards the colonies, but he did tought they would be better under the guidance of the empire (not atypical, he is not a monster or anything like this, he is just a XIX century dude that happened to live a little bit too far in the XX century). The thing is sometimes Kipling was quite able to see those bleeding on the streets and be critical of the process, but this poem screws it all. When you are good with words, you must remember people will read them for centuries, after all. I however think Kipling still worthwhile, a complex writer with a lot of quality and he does not need to be one of the few to pay for being a product of his time. One of the funniest part of Henry James and Stevenson correspondence is their enthusiasm with the young Kipling. Those two know a thing or two about quality storytelling. (And it always be interesting to contrast Stevenson and Kipling, because Stevenson starts as a full part of the empire, no middle term and slowly moves to that bordelaine, without even finding any "Horror, horror", but then, his approach was humanitarian to an extreme.
    The sadder but wiser Englishman versus fledgling American imperialists is interesting. Graham Greene tried a similar theme in The Quiet American. But I think Greene (an heir to literary British anti-Americanism) was being a little self-deceiving. After WWII, the British were pretty much kidding themselves about their continued significance abroad. And after Suez, even they figured it out. It was sad in a way but in a way it wasn't. Like Kipling is likable in a certain way. But...

    I've just started reading The Innocent by the British author Ian McEwan. It is set in Cold War Berlin and reverses Kipling/Greene's equation. The newly powerful Americans are the jaded and cynical ones. A young Englishman attached to American Intelligence is (apparently) the innocent of the title. Losing real power, lethal power, will do that to you--that seems to be McEwan's point.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    The thing about Magic Realism is that it was not even close to a homogeneous modernist movement (if that thing ever came to be). It was an idea that a very different group of writers in latin american followed sort like a identidy (and identidy was a great deal for a latin american in the XX century). Just like the Latin American Boom, it was used in the north hemisphere to identify a large group of writers from the region, but some didnt even knew they were part of it. So, you mixed Nicaragua, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay (and later Brazil), generations such as Borges/Neruda and Marquez/Cortazar and complete different ideas and approaches. 100 years is of course a experiment about time (if you are writing about a family genealogy, it is about time) were Marquez mix his local storytelling tradition with some Faulkner like style. He have some more conventional works (albeit he will always trying to write the stories he used to heard by his grandmother) and it is completely different from the political Vargas Llosa or Cortazar that was more Kafka/Poe like. You can find anything and duality is sometimes a important theme due to Borges experience, albeit many of them are not very moralists.
    I should reread 100 Years. I remember Marquez describing a remote river bed with stones rounded by flowing water. He compares them to the eggs of ancient reptiles, suggesting a vaster antiquity than is usually thought of for the Americas. He was projecting the story of the family back into unfathomable time, but it worked for the whole hemisphere, too. Our world is an ancient world. But I don't remember much else (I hardly remember the 23 year old I was in those days). I liked the patriarch who destroyed the gold by melting it, and I remember the girl who ate dirt. But it's been some time.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I read one of those chapters playboy used to publish long ago. Not my style. I was thinking the movie, but even them are not exactly my cup of tea, while sometimes they are funny. It did seem that the movies exagerated the sittuations and Bond character, but that was probally for better, kind like reckogning how not serious that could be.
    The movies are only good as camp. And they stopped being funny when they became formula. Or when any sane person was asked to take them seriously.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 06-13-2018 at 09:45 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Lestrade wasn't much different than Gregson at first. Now that I think of it there was another repeating police character named Jones who was more or less of the same model. The only real difference was that Lestrade and to a lesser extent Jones (who was only in two stories) made peace with Holmes while Gregson just dropped
    out of the series with the same pissy attitude he always had. And Hopkins (who turns up in the later stories) is something like a wide-eyed novice who looks up to Holmes. So the movement over time was away from conflict. And in my opinion this is an example of the series declining.
    Yeah, that must be correct. Perhaps an attempt to engange younger readers, but when you place a character which function is to idolize Holmes you can either imagine Doyle was tired of Watson or trying to get a few points with the cops. The early cops (I recall one that was more "friendly with Holmes" in a sense he didnt want to prove Holmes wrong like Lestrade and I think Gregson did) at least had that function to negatively or not represent the cops existense and in many stories, move the plot foward freeing Holmes from more mundane tasks and serving the reader with clues (misleading or not).

    I wouldn't say the conflict with Scotland Yard was done for comic relief, although it is sometimes played that way in the movies. In the stories, it's more a reversal of reader expectations. Holmes fights crime so he must be more or less in the police orbit, but no, the police actually don't like him--they just need his brains. And he is quite derisive of them, at least to Watson. It's another example of Holmes' eccentricity in the early stories. But it is muted and eventually extinguished, presumably as Doyle became older and more stodgy.
    I think the conflict was both to represent some mistrust to the method used by Yard (either because Doyle tought he knew better or just because those methods were new, so the Yard had a lot of failures in their path of learning or just because it was what sold more papers, after all, Jack is a tale about the Yard failure) and of course, show how exceptional Holmes is (an individual worth the entire police force still quite a liberal tale), but Lestrade was played in a way you smirk a bit of his arrogance and mistakes (since we knew Holmes would never fail and only Lestrade expected such thing), he was foolish in many of his reactions and Holmes abuse the man a bit (but then... who he didnt?). Considering Watson was the author of the stories, we could make a case of Watson jealousy: Holmes should abuse only me!

    Yes, it becomes a common feature of detective stories, especially the hard boiled "LA noir" type in which the clever detective has to keep a step ahead of the dumb (sometimes brutal) cops. That came from Doyle ultimately. He may not have been a Dickens, but he was hugely influential as a genre writer. He didn't invent the detective story, but rendered it in his image.
    Yes, no doubt, beyond the genre even. We have what, 3,4 kind of characters just in this conversation that was behind his pen.


    Right, so we can understand Maude Gonne's position: I wouldn't be a doorknob and I wouldn't be unimportant; you would have to be my husband and accept all the contending with the world that implies; and that would necessarily prevent you from being the poet you are; and I'm not going to let that happen.

    Or as Byron put it:

    Think you, if Laura had been Petrarch's wife
    He would have written sonnets all his life?

    Heh heh.
    Of course, the real story is another. There is the appeal - romantic in a way - to see Yeats that rejected (I do not know if you recall, in the first Superman movie, Lois Lane goes for a similar path: Superman is for everyone, if She had him, she would be stealing him from the world and in the second movie, He can have her as long he was no longer powerful), but the real story is probally more complex with Maud political position way more extreme than Yeats and all.


    Yes, I suppose the last temptation of Batman would have been to bang Batgirl.

    But I think Kazanzakolos was being more an existentialist than a Christian (or perhaps he was being both). Good faith (as Sartre would have understood it) meant Jesus going to the Cross (and Yeats being a poet) despite temptations of domesticity. It also means Alyosha Karamazov remains a Christian despite his immovable doubts and that the Underground Man remains a mess despite his transient ones. He was who he was.
    I suspect Kazanzakolos considered himself more christian just for thinking of Christ more than Christiany. Of course, it is his christ and his ideas rather the christ that came out of the religious discussions about the gospels, so it is fair for him to be existential about it.




    The sadder but wiser Englishman versus fledgling American imperialists is interesting. Graham Greene tried a similar theme in The Quiet American. But I think Greene (an heir to literary British anti-Americanism) was being a little self-deceiving. After WWII, the British were pretty much kidding themselves about their continued significance abroad. And after Suez, even they figured it out. It was sad in a way but in a way it wasn't. Like Kipling is likable in a certain way. But...

    I've just started reading The Innocent by the British Ian McEwan. It is set in Cold War Berlin and reverses Kipling/Greene's equation. The newly powerful Americans are the jaded and cynical ones. A young Englishman attached to American Intelligence is (apparently) the innocent of the title. Loosing real power--lethal power, will do that to you--that seems to be McEwan's point.
    Would be interesting to see if the brits also saw the americans as a cultural decline. We had mad kings, but they still liked Shakespeare kind of attitude.

    Anyways, the thing about Kipling is that he lasted long time and had ups and downs, so we see him moving around the genres and approaches. That of course make him a lot human (easier to like humans). Greene I confess to not know much (I got his Quixote book once from someone throwing away books, but still didnt read).



    The movies are only good as camp. And they stopped being funny when they became formula. Or when any sane person was asked to take them seriously.
    I guess it is when they became the wrong formula, after all Bond is one of thise brit heroes (and villains) born out of genre fiction that have exagerated traits of personality, flaws and boons, pretty much like Holmes. Once Dickens taught how to create characters that can navigate in any plot, it became easy.
    #foratemer

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Yeah, that must be correct. Perhaps an attempt to engange younger readers, but when you place a character which function is to idolize Holmes you can either imagine Doyle was tired of Watson or trying to get a few points with the cops. The early cops (I recall one that was more "friendly with Holmes" in a sense he didnt want to prove Holmes wrong like Lestrade and I think Gregson did) at least had that function to negatively or not represent the cops existense and in many stories, move the plot foward freeing Holmes from more mundane tasks and serving the reader with clues (misleading or not).
    Yes, I think he was trying to replenish his supply of readers, the first wave of which would have been getting older. He was probably looking for more young men just starting out rather than teenagers (the target readers now). Holmes stories (believe it or not) were strong-stomached "men's literature" because they involved violence, sometimes adultery, and the occasional lady getting her face torn off by a lion ("The Veiled Lodger"--great story! ). So Hopkins is more for rookie stockbrokers than public schoolboys.

    The friendly (or at least friendlier) cop you're thinking of is probably Jones. He's in the second novel. It's been an awfully long time since I've read it, but I think there was the usual friction at first, giving way to a more cooperative relationship by the end. Then Jones turns up in The Redheaded League (another great story and a fairly early one) all buddy-buddy with Holmes and Watson. But he's out of the series after that. Typical Doyle.

    Another thing that's typical of the early, amateurish Doyle (and a bit charming if you're a fan) is that Jones' first name changes between stories. He's Athelney Jones in The Sign of the Four but Peter Jones in The Redheaded League. Same guy though--same job, same description, he even reminisces briefly about the earlier case. More famously, Watson's first name changes, too. He's John Watson for most of the series, but his wife calls him James in one of the earlier stories (The Speckled Band, I believe). And Watson's war wound moves around, too. He's shot in the shoulder during the Second Afghan War at the start of the first novel, but the bullet ends up in his leg after that. Heh heh. Go Doyle!

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I think the conflict was both to represent some mistrust to the method used by Yard (either because Doyle tought he knew better or just because those methods were new, so the Yard had a lot of failures in their path of learning or just because it was what sold more papers, after all, Jack is a tale about the Yard failure) and of course, show how exceptional Holmes is (an individual worth the entire police force still quite a liberal tale), but Lestrade was played in a way you smirk a bit of his arrogance and mistakes (since we knew Holmes would never fail and only Lestrade expected such thing), he was foolish in many of his reactions and Holmes abuse the man a bit (but then... who he didnt?). Considering Watson was the author of the stories, we could make a case of Watson jealousy: Holmes should abuse only me!
    Yes, Lestrade's arrogance and ineptitude are pretty cringe-worthy (as the kids say). Holmes represents new thinking and new technology. But even when Lestrade attempts to use these he screws things up. In one case (The Norwood Builder), he tries to outdo Holmes using (then cutting-edge) fingerprint evidence. But Holmes shows him the print in question is bogus --it was imprinted on a piece of wax and introduced into the crime scene to try to frame the man the dumb cop arrested. Poor Lestrade!

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Of course, the real story is another. There is the appeal - romantic in a way - to see Yeats that rejected (I do not know if you recall, in the first Superman movie, Lois Lane goes for a similar path: Superman is for everyone, if She had him, she would be stealing him from the world and in the second movie, He can have her as long he was no longer powerful), but the real story is probally more complex with Maud political position way more extreme than Yeats and all.
    Well, I don't see that it's all that different. "I won't have a poet for a husband!" does not exclude "The world deserves you as a poet and, trust me, your not going to be one if you marry me." She was saving him from the dirty world and giving him back to the same world--which needed (and still needs) him more than she did. But okay, maybe we see this differently.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I suspect Kazanzakolos considered himself more christian just for thinking of Christ more than Christiany. Of course, it is his christ and his ideas rather the christ that came out of the religious discussions about the gospels, so it is fair for him to be existential about it.
    Well, from what he says in the book, it's based on tension in dual nature of Christ--fully human and fully divine. That discussion belongs to the Council of Chalcedon in 451, so technically it does have to do with "religious discussions about the gospels". But I have no problem with most existentialist Christian views. Dostoyevsky had one (even if he didn't know he was an existentialist at the time). So did Kierkegaard, Kazantzakis (sorry, my IPad keeps giving me Kazanzakolos for some reason) and even Ingmar Bergman--although he later turned to atheism and bitterly renounced his earlier thinking). Nietzsche, too, although obviously a professed anti-Christian, does not show bad faith when struggling with these issues. The nice thing about existentialism is that it's really not a philosophical system--just an approach to life that manages to make everyone miserable.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Would be interesting to see if the brits also saw the americans as a cultural decline. We had mad kings, but they still liked Shakespeare kind of attitude.
    Well, to speak in unpardonable generalities (and to leave the Scots and Welsh out of it for now), the English see us as feral Englishmen and we see them as Americans with funny names and prissy accents. The older I get the more I appreciate how profoundly different our cultures are.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Anyways, the thing about Kipling is that he lasted long time and had ups and downs, so we see him moving around the genres and approaches. That of course make him a lot human (easier to like humans). Greene I confess to not know much (I got his Quixote book once from someone throwing away books, but still didnt read).
    Kev just posted a great Kipling poem here on LitNet called "The Young British Soldier"--funny and moving and a little upsetting. It reminded me in a weird way of another fallen idol, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Not that Kipling and Longfellow had much in common on the surface but both aspired to be poets of the common man, and both were beloved for at least a time by the extra-academic world. Perhaps it's a damn shame that their popular style is no longer much valued or perhaps I am being condescending by suggesting such a thing. Maybe pop music is the heir to popular poetry, and somehow that does strike me as a damn shame. But people want what they want.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I guess it is when they became the wrong formula, after all Bond is one of thise brit heroes (and villains) born out of genre fiction that have exagerated traits of personality, flaws and boons, pretty much like Holmes. Once Dickens taught how to create characters that can navigate in any plot, it became easy.
    Yes, Conan Doyle had a hand in that, too, I suppose. I can see Bond sort of coming from Holmes, Blofeld certainly from Moriarty, and even Q as a Mycroftish figure in a way (he knew more than Bond after all). Irene Adler doesn't deserve Pussy Galore by any means, but I think most of the "Bond girls" were just Watson substitutes. Irene Adler is more like Bond's dead wife--an idealized woman who leaves him wounded but obsessed.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 06-13-2018 at 01:52 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Yes, I think he was trying to replenish his supply of readers, the first wave of which would have been getting older. He was probably looking for more young men just starting out rather than teenagers (the target readers now). Holmes stories (believe it or not) were strong-stomached "men's literature" because they involved violence, sometimes adultery, and the occasional lady getting her face torn off by a lion ("The Veiled Lodger"--great story! ). So Hopkins is more for rookie stockbrokers than public schoolboys.

    The friendly (or at least friendlier) cop you're thinking of is probably Jones. He's in the second novel. It's been an awfully long time since I've read it, but I think there was the usual friction at first, giving way to a more cooperative relationship by the end. Then Jones turns up in The Redheaded League (another great story and a fairly early one) all buddy-buddy with Holmes and Watson. But he's out of the series after that. Typical Doyle.
    I suppose Doyle was no different than professional script-writers for soap operas today, that have to make adjustments according the readers reaction. "That guy is annoying" or "Why this guy returns" may reflect this.

    Yes, Lestrade's arrogance and ineptitude are pretty cringe-worthy (as the kids say). Holmes represents new thinking and new technology. But even when Lestrade attempts to use these he screws things up. In one case (The Norwood Builder), he tries to outdo Holmes using (then cutting-edge) fingerprint evidence. But Holmes shows him the print in question is bogus --it was imprinted on a piece of wax and introduced into the crime scene to try to frame the man the dumb cop arrested. Poor Lestrade!
    Yeah, which is a bit of "historical materialism" on detectives. Holmes mocked the old school cops, then Christie Mocked the PIs like Holmes (even going to the length to create a carborn copy of Holmes (but with Lestrade spirit) just for Poirot to make fun off the fascination with fingerprints and cigar's ashes. Then Chandler went on mocking the english intelectual PI (despite Marlowe being a guy able to quote out of the thin air Shakespeare) for the more action hero american detective. Funny enough, it was Batman that gave the Lestrade character some decency with Gordon, who is often portraied as a highly efficiency and have the admiration of the obviously superhuman Batman.


    Well, I don't see that it's all that different. "I won't have a poet for a husband!" does not exclude "The world deserves you as a poet and, trust me, your not going to be one if you marry me." She was saving him from the dirty world and giving him back to the same world--which needed (and still needs) him more than she did. But okay, maybe we see this differently.
    Yeah, it could be, but she was a bit too radical and Yeats not. She would probally burn turn quickly from Helen to Clytemnestra.



    Well, from what he says in the book, it's based on tension in dual nature of Christ--fully human and fully divine. That discussion belongs to the Council of Chalcedon in 451, so technically it does have to do with "religious discussions about the gospels". But I have no problem with most existentialist Christian views. Dostoyevsky had one (even if he didn't know he was an existentialist at the time). So did Kierkegaard, Kazantzakis (sorry, my IPad keeps giving me Kazanzakolos for some reason) and even Ingmar Bergman--although he later turned to atheism and bitterly renounced his earlier thinking). Nietzsche, too, although obviously a professed anti-Christian, does not show bad faith when struggling with these issues. The nice thing about existentialism is that it's really not a philosophical system--just an approach to life that manages to make everyone miserable.
    Ah, i see no problem with that. The guy who plays as centerfoward for Greece NT in my opinion was more interessed in the character (as most of the existential authors past Dostoievisky were thin on the religious side, I guess) than the dogmas. I think mostly than wanting to discuss the possibility of the duality, the last temptation (of course, the final part, the "dream" of normal life is the entire book objective) tries to build up something very human to make the doubt credidible (perhaps, very mortal, because it is hard to say Jesus is not human) and the choices Jesus do as human are interesting. He could have other options, but that worked for building a modern novel.The council discussions could have been if he was human/divine or not, but never who was that human.


    Well, to speak in unpardonable generalities (and to leave the Scots and Welsh out of it for now), the English see us as feral Englishmen and we see them as Americans with funny names and prissy accents. The older I get the more I appreciate how profoundly different our cultures are.
    Well, that is normal. We do see Portuguese in no bright light often (it is a comic genre here the portuguese shown as dumb), etc. But I mean in general representation. D.H.Lawrence (i think it is a great work of literature) in his analyse of american literature shows some contempt for americans (and admiration) but Lawrence is a hard case, the guy has such bitterness. He would be a case of thinking such thing, but of course, you can have Eliot walks the other direction.



    Kev just posted a great Kipling poem here on LitNet called "The Young British Soldier"--funny and moving and a little upsetting. It reminded me in a weird way of another fallen idol, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Not that Kipling and Longfellow had much in common on the surface but both aspired to be poets of the common man, and both were beloved for at least a time by the extra-academic world. Perhaps it's a damn shame that their popular style is no longer much valued or perhaps I am being condescending by suggesting such a thing. Maybe pop music is the heir to popular poetry, and somehow that does strike me as a damn shame. But people want what they want.
    Yeah, I think however Longfellow fall is more to do with the outdated style (Kipling has no such problem, his style is moving foward modern poetry) than a political mistep (he is a bit on the feenimore cooper rousseau like side too, no?, this thing even if a bit odd those days never went out of the rail that much). Correct if I am wrong, with the exception of Emily Dickinson, most of great names of american poetry of XIX century like Longfellow, Poe, Whitman or even Emerson had interest for the commun folk... It was a bit of identidy building and not much far from the novelists who were trying to build heroes out of new. Of course, for Longfellow it was probally harder to sustain popularity once Whitman started to be more relevant (oh, captain my captain is too me a very longfellow poem). I thin pop music has a lot to do with poetry (dylan is there of course for this, and well, rock and roll lyrics owns a lot to american modern poetry), but I see more like the jiggling Poe with his love for funny sounds or Whitman - a natural rapper - more like the models. They didnt went to Mallarmé like obscurity. But all respect to Longfellow, he has good poems and I still regret that I didnt choose to buy his translation of Dante in one of those crocodille huntings last year...



    Yes, Conan Doyle had a hand in that, too, I suppose. I can see Bond sort of coming from Holmes, Blofeld certainly from Moriarty, and even Q as a Mycroftish figure in a way (he knew more than Bond after all). Irene Adler doesn't deserve Pussy Galore by any means, but I think most of the "Bond girls" were just Watson substitutes. Irene Adler is more like Bond's dead wife--an idealized woman who leaves him wounded but obsessed.[/QUOTE]

    Moneypenny maybe. She is the one with undying admiration for Bond. Well, bond girls in movies are alternativa for playboy covers most of time, some were just dame in distress , some female fatals, but the lack of women in Doyle was turned upside down, girls were everywhere to enhance Bond masculity, something Doyle wouldnt dare too do. But they had no personality - movie wise - most of time. We remember more the actress and the funny (obviously, naughty dickensean) names.
    #foratemer

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I suppose Doyle was no different than professional script-writers for soap operas today, that have to make adjustments according the readers reaction. "That guy is annoying" or "Why this guy returns" may reflect this.
    Except that Doyle didn't have the same kind of market research we have today. All he knew in the beginning was that his stories were selling like hot cakes and later on that his sales remained steady as long as he kept writing about Holmes. I think the real reason Holmes became less eccentric and the police less of a problem over time was that the money he'd made allowed him to move into a higher social stratum (including a big estate). Besides being nouveau riche, he was an ethnic Irishman born in Scotland. So he needed to show that he was also a pillar of British society, trumped keeping the Holmes stories from getting boring.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Funny enough, it was Batman that gave the Lestrade character some decency with Gordon, who is often portraied as a highly efficiency and have the admiration of the obviously superhuman Batman.
    I must admit my sole brush with the Caped Crusader was watching the 1960s TV show "Batman" as a little boy. In those days, Commissioner Gordon wasn't much like Lestrade. He acted more like Gotham City's mayor. There was a an Irish cop who worked for him (Sergeant O'Hara?) who was a real ethnic stereotype--dumb but honest. He was vaguely Lestrade-like, but only because Batman was smarter than he was. And he was more like Hopkins because he fawned over Batman. But O'Hara was dumber than either Lestrade or Hopkins. It was sort of an ethnic joke how useless he was.

    I think the attention some comic books of that time gave to civic society was a reaction to their reputation for being an unhealthy influence on kids (largely because of their violence but also because of the skintight costumes everyone wore). Many superheroes were given a strong sense of honor and civic responsibility to boost their somewhat seedy reputations. In a way, it's similar to what happened to Holmes. The hero needed to be a bulwark of society. He could be smarter than the police, but he couldn't be at odds with them--not the honest ones in any case. No more Gregsons. O'Hara's were bad enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Well, that is normal. We do see Portuguese in no bright light often (it is a comic genre here the portuguese shown as dumb), etc. But I mean in general representation. D.H.Lawrence (i think it is a great work of literature) in his analyse of american literature shows some contempt for americans (and admiration) but Lawrence is a hard case, the guy has such bitterness. He would be a case of thinking such thing, but of course, you can have Eliot walks the other direction.
    Well, I'm a pretty patriotic guy. I believe in the American vision, and I have a profound respect for the sacrifices and efforts of my ancestors. If anyone was to make a case for American literature being superior to English it would be me. But I don't. It's not. It's not even close. As far as D.H. Lawrence goes, I haven't read his literary criticism so I don't know if his contempt is literary/theoretical or personal/prejudicial (or both). I usually find educated British Anti-Americanism amusing if somewhat repulsive. But my respect for the better parts of British culture, especially English literature, is unaffected.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Yeah, I think however Longfellow fall is more to do with the outdated style (Kipling has no such problem, his style is moving foward modern poetry) than a political mistep (he is a bit on the feenimore cooper rousseau like side too, no?, this thing even if a bit odd those days never went out of the rail that much). Correct if I am wrong, with the exception of Emily Dickinson, most of great names of american poetry of XIX century like Longfellow, Poe, Whitman or even Emerson had interest for the commun folk... It was a bit of identidy building and not much far from the novelists who were trying to build heroes out of new. Of course, for Longfellow it was probally harder to sustain popularity once Whitman started to be more relevant (oh, captain my captain is too me a very longfellow poem). I thin pop music has a lot to do with poetry (dylan is there of course for this, and well, rock and roll lyrics owns a lot to american modern poetry), but I see more like the jiggling Poe with his love for funny sounds or Whitman - a natural rapper - more like the models. They didnt went to Mallarmé like obscurity. But all respect to Longfellow, he has good poems and I still regret that I didnt choose to buy his translation of Dante in one of those crocodille huntings last year...
    Well, if it's any consolation, it's not that good. Longfellow isn't an especially gifted technical poet in my opinion. But his effect on American culture was profound. He was like our Livy--he gathered half-forgotten bits of history and turned them into a national mythology. Paul Revere, the man who rode from Boston to Lexington to warn residents that British regulars was headed their way (so that the town militia was waiting for them at dawn--touching off the American Revolution). When Revere died in 1818, he was a famous industrialist and silversmith, but his wartime heroism was an obscure matter of family history. Yet I can recite vast swathes of Longfellow's "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" as can many of my generation. And Revere's name stands beside Franklin's in our national consciousness. That's all Longfellow's mythmaking. He told the story in a way that mattered.

    So it doesn't matter that Whitman superseded Longfellow or that he was a much better poet. I mean, it matters to people like you and me, but it didn't matter to members of my father's working class congregation when I was growing up, many of whom--I remember well--knew Longfellow poems by heart. He was a people's poet in that way. It didn't require a college degree to understand or embrace what he was saying. And for a few generations held onto his laurels.

    One more Longfellow story, mostly to show how things have changed since then. I've said already I'm a genealogist. The purpose of my research is not to find famous ancestors but obscure ones and to rescue their stories. But you find who you find. Last year I was startled to learn that five of my relatives, including four direct ancestors (two pairs of great grandparents, x11 and x12) had come to America on the Mayflower. All died the first winter (see above: sacrifice) except for a teenage girl, Priscilla Mullins, my 11th great grandmother. According to a legend, Priscilla was courted by a the rough soldier Miles Standish, but she rejected him for his better looking roommate John Alden (my 11th great grandfather), whom Standish had awkwardly sent to do his courting for him.

    As you may know, these minutely obscure events (if the story is even true) were the subject of Longfellow's narrative poem, "The Courtship of Miles Standish". Everyone knew this story when I was a little boy--again, thanks to Longfellow's mythmaking. Priscilla Mullins is supposed to have encouraged John Alden--in effect, to have proposed marriage to him--with the words: "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?" (Longfellow's version); or: "Speak for yourself, John Alden" (the living tradition I learned as a boy). This became a kind of didactic proverb meaning: take responsibility for your own affairs; be confident in who you are; and tell don't be too shy to tell a lady how you feel about her--and of course never trust a roommate. I can remember people using "Speak for yourself, John Alden" as a kind of friendly or playful criticism. But it was expressive of a value popularized by Longfellow's storytelling. It was part of the people's culture.

    Last year, during a Thanksgiving dinner no less, I told my nieces about their famous Pilgrim ancestors. Both are college students. Neither had heard of John Alden or Priscilla Mullins or Miles Standish. They had heard of Longfellow but couldn't name a poem by him. And that, I think, is a damn shame. It's not that Longfellow was a particularly good poet. It's that an important cultural mythos and a legacy paid for in part in our family's blood is being washed down the kitchen disposal like so much mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. But I digress.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Moneypenny maybe. She is the one with undying admiration for Bond. Well, bond girls in movies are alternativa for playboy covers most of time, some were just dame in distress , some female fatals, but the lack of women in Doyle was turned upside down, girls were everywhere to enhance Bond masculity, something Doyle wouldnt dare too do. But they had no personality - movie wise - most of time. We remember more the actress and the funny (obviously, naughty dickensean) names.
    I just wrote an offcolor comment specifying what I remember, then I erased it for the sake of probity. So perhaps I'm becoming a pillar of society, too.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 06-15-2018 at 12:12 PM.
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Except that Doyle didn't have the same kind of market research we have today. All he knew in the beginning was that his stories were selling like hot cakes and later on that his sales remained steady as long as he kept writing about Holmes. I think the real reason Holmes became less eccentric and the police less of a problem over time was that the money he'd made allowed him to move into a higher social stratum (including a big estate). Besides being nouveau riche, he was an ethnic Irishman born in Scotland. So he needed to show that he was also a pillar of British society, trumped keeping the Holmes stories from getting boring.
    Ah, but guys like Dickens or Dumas already reacted to fan's mail. They were using papers to publish their chapters already and Sherlock is alive thanks to them. I am pretty sure he got a good amount of letters (and does not matter if it was a small sample of his reading public, it was the sample he have and 100 letters can do a lot of difference), it is not hard to imagine cops writing to him and some even claiming I wanted to be a detective because of your story kind of stuff. In fact, coincidence or not, I found out Doyle receive letters of people who had "misteries" for him to solve and he actually took interest to solve two (both seemed not to be that big mistery in first place, but funny enough, to be just police's messing up). Of course, his new status probally had influence too (this also come with the trying to please the public more also) and, well, it is hard to be a good writer for stories and characters you wanted dead.

    I must admit my sole brush with the Caped Crusader was watching the 1960s TV show "Batman" as a little boy. In those days, Commissioner Gordon wasn't much like Lestrade. He acted more like Gotham City's mayor. There was a an Irish cop who worked for him (Sergeant O'Hara?) who was a real ethnic stereotype--dumb but honest. He was vaguely Lestrade-like, but only because Batman was smarter than he was. And he was more like Hopkins because he fawned over Batman. But O'Hara was dumber than either Lestrade or Hopkins. It was sort of an ethnic joke how useless he was.
    Yeah, O'Hara. I think he is a lestrade grandgrandgrand son mixed with the kind of irish cop that came out of Untouchables and other similar shows and stories born after the mafia stories. Italians evil, Irish good, no? Anyways, yeah, you can say the entire show is filled with lestrades, no sherlocks, it is more comic than not and batman is more a crime fighter and a detective (he is of course, not a pure lestrade, with all the super-hero stuff. You often know about the villain, there is puzzles but not often misteries, even if his earlies stories wayne was more an excentric millionaire holmes like than a playboy. Of course, the detective story in USA took a different turn, justice is quite important for them, so solving a crime is not as important as taking the criminals to court - or watever form of justice it is possible to deliever - for the brits, there was stories Holmes was even bored to chase the criminal and it ended in Father Brown more concerned with the soul salvation than justice itself).

    I think the attention some comic books of that time gave to civic society was a reaction to their reputation for being an unhealthy influence on kids (largely because of their violence but also because of the skintight costumes everyone wore). Many superheroes were given a strong sense of honor and civic responsibility to boost their somewhat seedy reputations. In a way, it's similar to what happened to Holmes. The hero needed to be a bulwark of society. He could be smarter than the police, but he couldn't be at odds with them--not the honest ones in any case. No more Gregsons. O'Hara's were bad enough.
    Well, it seems more like the comic from the marcarthy age, that lead superman to stories where he flies with kids and threaten to drop them if they keep doing mischief like skipping class... The early comic characters are more simple representation of heroic virtues under the influence of pulp fiction and magazine and, of course, stuff like H.G.Wells, Hagard, Kipling, etc. A fantasy (the funny outfit mostly coming from circus outfits) for teenagers. Of course, it became a vehicle for moralization, but, by the lack of status, being low brown culture like all the sword & scorcery, sci-fic tales, etc it was a vehicle for counter-culture since there was little control. This lead, as anything else, of 99% of garbage.



    Well, I'm a pretty patriotic guy. I believe in the American vision, and I have a profound respect for the sacrifices and efforts of my ancestors. If anyone was to make a case for American literature being superior to English it would be me. But I don't. It's not. It's not even close. As far as D.H. Lawrence goes, I haven't read his literary criticism so I don't know if his contempt is literary/theoretical or personal/prejudicial (or both). I usually find educated British Anti-Americanism amusing if somewhat repulsive. But my respect for the better parts of British culture, especially English literature, is unaffected.
    Oh, he is bitter, no doubt. But he is genial in his bitterness. A bit like, if Kipling still paternal, Lawrence seems to dwell in decandecy. He is more like "all is dead here, it is not you americans that will do better, all you do will go wrong, because I know the story and what you call new is just the same old story, let me teach you why". But he knows his stuff, so, it is not only interesting because of what he says about the books, but also his character. Humanity is also made of some douchebags after all.

    Well, if it's any consolation, it's not that good. Longfellow isn't an especially gifted technical poet in my opinion. But his effect on American culture was profound. He was like our Livy--he gathered half-forgotten bits of history and turned them into a national mythology. Paul Revere, the man who rode from Boston to Lexington to warn residents that British regulars was headed their way (so that the town militia was waiting for them at dawn--touching off the American Revolution). When Revere died in 1818, he was a famous industrialist and silversmith, but his wartime heroism was an obscure matter of family history. Yet I can recite vast swathes of Longfellow's "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" as can many of my generation. And Revere's name stands beside Franklin's in our national consciousness. That's all Longfellow's mythmaking. He told the story in a way that mattered.

    So it doesn't matter that Whitman superseded Longfellow or that he was a much better poet. I mean, it matters to people like you and me, but it didn't matter to members of my father's working class congregation when I was growing up, many of whom--I remember well--knew Longfellow poems by heart. He was a people's poet in that way. It didn't require a college degree to understand or embrace what he was saying. And for a few generations held onto his laurels.
    Yeah, i know. An official textbook poet (which is fine, whitman, dickson style are going to be mislead if someone do not have contact with a more formulaic or tradional poetry), poe is just something apart, emerson perhaps too complicated. I think we are more luck here, our textbook poet, Gonçalves Dias, a typical romantic poet, but overall, many links with Longfellow (for example, narrative poems with indians theme and stories, looking to build up a national identidy) is a more technically gifted poet with a wider range of style. One of his poems, Canção do Exílio is the poem that everyone knows, recite, reads without even knowing why, but still representative of something very brazilian - not a character but a feeling.

    One more Longfellow story, mostly to show how things have changed since then. I've said already I'm a genealogist. The purpose of my research is not to find famous ancestors but obscure ones and to rescue their stories. But you find who you find. Last year I was startled to learn that five of my relatives, including four direct ancestors (two pairs of great grandparents, x11 and x12) had come to America on the Mayflower. All died the first winter (see above: sacrifice) except for a teenage girl, Priscilla Mullins, my 11th great grandmother. According to a legend, Priscilla was courted by a the rough soldier Miles Standish, but she rejected him for his better looking roommate John Alden (my 11th great grandfather), whom Standish had awkwardly sent to do his courting for him.

    As you may know, these minutely obscure events (if the story is even true) were the subject of Longfellow's narrative poem, "The Courtship of Miles Standish". Everyone knew this story when I was a little boy--again, thanks to Longfellow's mythmaking. Priscilla Mullins is supposed to have encouraged John Alden--in effect, to have proposed marriage to him--with the words: "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?" (Longfellow's version); or: "Speak for yourself, John Alden" (the living tradition I learned as a boy). This became a kind of didactic proverb meaning: take responsibility for your own affairs; be confident in who you are; and tell don't be too shy to tell a lady how you feel about her--and of course never trust a roommate. I can remember people using "Speak for yourself, John Alden" as a kind of friendly or playful criticism. But it was expressive of a value popularized by Longfellow's storytelling. It was part of the people's culture.

    Last year, during a Thanksgiving dinner no less, I told my nieces about their famous Pilgrim ancestors. Both are college students. Neither had heard of John Alden or Priscilla Mullins or Miles Standish. They had heard of Longfellow but couldn't name a poem by him. And that, I think, is a damn shame. It's not that Longfellow was a particularly good poet. It's that an important cultural mythos and a legacy paid for in part in our family's blood is being washed down the kitchen disposal like so much mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. But I digress.
    I guess that shows her was particulary good. Perhaps not great, but I suppose those themes and stories are not unusual when he wrote, but he manage to be the one that did better and good enough to stuck on. It would be too weird if you americans would know by heart poems about multicolored brooms, bumblebees, bogs and such...
    #foratemer

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Ah, but guys like Dickens or Dumas already reacted to fan's mail. They were using papers to publish their chapters already and Sherlock is alive thanks to them. I am pretty sure he got a good amount of letters (and does not matter if it was a small sample of his reading public, it was the sample he have and 100 letters can do a lot of difference), it is not hard to imagine cops writing to him and some even claiming I wanted to be a detective because of your story kind of stuff. In fact, coincidence or not, I found out Doyle receive letters of people who had "misteries" for him to solve and he actually took interest to solve two (both seemed not to be that big mistery in first place, but funny enough, to be just police's messing up). Of course, his new status probally had influence too (this also come with the trying to please the public more also) and, well, it is hard to be a good writer for stories and characters you wanted dead.
    It's a good point about fan mail. He wrote something, I remember, about the public clamoring for more Holmes stories after he killed him off (or maybe the British clamour, I'm not sure). He was probably getting that from mail. As far as Doyle's involvement with real-life mysteries goes, I think most of that that was later in his life when Holmes was pretty much on auto-pilot. I could be wrong, but I get the feeling that the change in Holmes' relations with the police was mostly just Doyle getting with the program. He did work to reform the the process of legal appeal, though, so perhaps he bucked the system in his own way.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Yeah, O'Hara. I think he is a lestrade grandgrandgrand son mixed with the kind of irish cop that came out of Untouchables and other similar shows and stories born after the mafia stories. Italians evil, Irish good, no?
    Well, it's a little more complicated than that. When the comic was first made (and even the TV show) an large number of American cops were ethnically Irish. In fact, America didn't have much in the way of police before the waves of immigrants in the 19th century. There were sheriffs and constables and even soldiers before that, depending on where you went, but big municipal police forces were an urban response to mass immigration and soaring crime rates/gangland activities. People focus on Italian gangs now, as you say because of visual media, but there was also an Irish mob (there still was a formidable one in Boston way into the 1980s) and even a Jewish one for a while. The new police were drawn from the immigrants themselves. No one else wanted the dangerous work and the immigrants already knew who the trouble makers were. I don't know why the Irish became over represented in police work, but it wasn't because of an "Irish good, Italians bad" prejudice by any means. Those in power (or many of them) didn't discriminate about those whom they discriminated against. They looked down on the lot of 'em.

    That's how O'Hara became an ethnic joke. By the mid-20th century, police work had become a point of pride in the Irish-American subculture (the old trick of using the inner city to police the inner city had yet to be reintroduced). Most Americans respected the police, but when they became the recipients of minor fines or tickets, discrepancies in education and cultural sophistication were muttered along with ethnic slurs. O'Hara (in the TV show anyway) reflects the state of the stereotype by the 1960s. He is one of the good guys but dumb as a box of rocks. I found this video that illustrates the point. I don't know if you can hear it (as a non-native English speaker) but the actor playing O'Hara is affecting an exaggerated Irish accent along with his slack jawed, bovine facial expressions. Note, though, that the whole thing is being played for laughs. No one took that sort of thing very seriously anymore. But ethnic jokes were still considered funny.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pMnwzlwM1qs

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Of course, the detective story in USA took a different turn, justice is quite important for them, so solving a crime is not as important as taking the criminals to court - or watever form of justice it is possible to deliever - for the brits, there was stories Holmes was even bored to chase the criminal and it ended in Father Brown more concerned with the soul salvation than justice itself).
    I think American detectives like Mike Hammer were more interested in justice at any price. If it took a court, so be it. If it took a bullet to the head, so much the better. But justice/vengeance uber alles was by no means the rule. Remember that Sam Spade turns the Fat Man's gang loose at the end of The Maltese Falcon and sends his own girlfriend to the gallows. That's the way novel the book ends, anyway. It was too shocking for Hollywood, so John Huston/Humphrey Bogart's Spade had to have the baddies arrested in the movie. But in the book they took off for Istanbul, presumably to kill the guy who had sold them the black falcon.

    But you are right about Sherlock Holmes caring more about the puzzle than the consequences (though in fairness, exonerating the innocent is sometimes his motive for his taking a case). But as for the guilty--there is a great Holmes story called The Blue Carbuncle in which Holmes frees the culprit at the end. It's a Christmas story, the closest thing Doyle came to A Christmas Carol, and the crime was committed more from weakness than malice. A rather ordinary Londoner had stolen a fabulous jewel when fate unexpectedly gave him a chance. Holmes gets the stone back, then throws the thief out of 221-B Baker Street, later telling Watson that it is the season of forgiveness after all. I just don't see Mike Hammer doing that.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    the funny outfit mostly coming from circus outfits
    Yes, especially Superman's costume--with the big S you can see from the back benches. But I heard that Batman's outfit and general look was inspired by Zorro, who was all the rage at the time. So the fox became a bat.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    One of his poems, Canção do Exílio is the poem that everyone knows, recite, reads without even knowing why, but still representative of something very brazilian - not a character but a feeling.
    I know what you mean. One wonders which goes first--the poem or the feeling.
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    It's a good point about fan mail. He wrote something, I remember, about the public clamoring for more Holmes stories after he killed him off (or maybe the British clamour, I'm not sure). He was probably getting that from mail. As far as Doyle's involvement with real-life mysteries goes, I think most of that that was later in his life when Holmes was pretty much on auto-pilot. I could be wrong, but I get the feeling that the change in Holmes' relations with the police was mostly just Doyle getting with the program. He did work to reform the the process of legal appeal, though, so perhaps he bucked the system in his own way.
    Oh, sure, it was when he was already famous, but my intent was not to suggest those "cases" made him change the treatment of police, rather than ironically, he found his group of Lestrades when he changed this treatment. This probally shows how closer to the cops he eventually became, part of his status of course. Something just occured to me (i was zapping yesterday the channels waiting the next world cup game start and one channel had that Young Sherlock Holmes movie. Well, if the readers of Holmes became the teenager/young group, then the clumbsy police task also served as a "incompentent addults/parents" figures. A bit of lucky by Doyle, but certainly helped the indentification of his lasting audience.

    Well, it's a little more complicated than that. When the comic was first made (and even the TV show) an large number of American cops were ethnically Irish. In fact, America didn't have much in the way of police before the waves of immigrants in the 19th century. There were sheriffs and constables and even soldiers before that, depending on where you went, but big municipal police forces were an urban response to mass immigration and soaring crime rates/gangland activities. People focus on Italian gangs now, as you say because of visual media, but there was also an Irish mob (there still was a formidable one in Boston way into the 1980s) and even a Jewish one for a while. The new police were drawn from the immigrants themselves. No one else wanted the dangerous work and the immigrants already knew who the trouble makers were. I don't know why the Irish became over represented in police work, but it wasn't because of an "Irish good, Italians bad" prejudice by any means. Those in power (or many of them) didn't discriminate about those whom they discriminated against. They looked down on the lot of 'em.

    That's how O'Hara became an ethnic joke. By the mid-20th century, police work had become a point of pride in the Irish-American subculture (the old trick of using the inner city to police the inner city had yet to be reintroduced). Most Americans respected the police, but when they became the recipients of minor fines or tickets, discrepancies in education and cultural sophistication were muttered along with ethnic slurs. O'Hara (in the TV show anyway) reflects the state of the stereotype by the 1960s. He is one of the good guys but dumb as a box of rocks. I found this video that illustrates the point. I don't know if you can hear it (as a non-native English speaker) but the actor playing O'Hara is affecting an exaggerated Irish accent along with his slack jawed, bovine facial expressions. Note, though, that the whole thing is being played for laughs. No one took that sort of thing very seriously anymore. But ethnic jokes were still considered funny.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pMnwzlwM1qs
    I am sure there must be way more motives for the Irishmen became the good guys in the ned, the italians the bad guys (perhaps the whole Cosa Nostra thing was too heterodox/cultlike to be ever trusted, perhaps was the italian success) and I have no doubt, there was ethnical mobs everywhere there is any group settlements. Today for example, are the chinese and their cheap products. But I recall the irish good guy working out earlier (or later, I was thinking begining of XX century, you seem to be thinking a little before, so we are not even in the same time zone ), I mean, early hollywood movies already have the italian mobster image on, the irish cop (or good guy). I also recall plenty of irish descendents having sucess in Hollywood or irish seen in good light (heck, Scarlet O'Hara was irish). Perhaps Italy siding with the Axis helped to make them look badly, perhaps the identification with Catholic Church was worst, perhaps italians are just more sucessful, so they were just better enemies. But, yeah, in the 60's, O'Hara was already a walking steritype (he would be drunken sometimes, but they wouldn't allow this. The same thing with him not showing much catholic traits, because, often super-heroes in comics do not touch/mention any religion). He was just a tv character (in the comics, the cops were either build from Dick Tracy/Spirit cops) or the latter Dirty Harry style (with the corrupts or the honest - usually also the worst looking and unpleasant cops).


    I think American detectives like Mike Hammer were more interested in justice at any price. If it took a court, so be it. If it took a bullet to the head, so much the better. But justice/vengeance uber alles was by no means the rule. Remember that Sam Spade turns the Fat Man's gang loose at the end of The Maltese Falcon and sends his own girlfriend to the gallows. That's the way novel the book ends, anyway. It was too shocking for Hollywood, so John Huston/Humphrey Bogart's Spade had to have the baddies arrested in the movie. But in the book they took off for Istanbul, presumably to kill the guy who had sold them the black falcon.
    Yes, justice at any price was the western hero justification, was the super-heroes, the cop show ala dirty harry, etc. While we can go on about how this can be the very american idea that society works, either institutions work or not or the power of the individual, etc. this ended being something stylistic. Raymond Chandler openly wrote against the excess of puzzles for a crime, saying in real world crimes are often more simple. I recall some of the crazy examples (Like one that someone was killed by a arrow made of ice, so when people got inside the room, there was no signal of what killed the person and except the open window, which was unreachable from outsiders, there was nothing else open in the room) in english stories. Of course, Poe created this and he was american as you can get, but you americans have some kind of defense mechanism against Poe :P

    But you are right about Sherlock Holmes caring more about the puzzle than the consequences (though in fairness, exonerating the innocent is sometimes his motive for his taking a case). But as for the guilty--there is a great Holmes story called The Blue Carbuncle in which Holmes frees the culprit at the end. It's a Christmas story, the closest thing Doyle came to A Christmas Carol, and the crime was committed more from weakness than malice. A rather ordinary Londoner had stolen a fabulous jewel when fate unexpectedly gave him a chance. Holmes gets the stone back, then throws the thief out of 221-B Baker Street, later telling Watson that it is the season of forgiveness after all. I just don't see Mike Hammer doing that.
    Well, Irene walks free too. I think the most notable example about this (I think it was rather lazy writing from Doyle) is that one of some misterious treasure, Holmes solves each piece of the puzzle (looked more like scooby doo, but then, scooby doo is a comic childish sherlock) and he finishes he just tell Watson how the crime (to get the treasure) was made, but he was just satified with the resolution. (I am recalling the dancing human figurines, but not sure if it was this one).


    Yes, especially Superman's costume--with the big S you can see from the back benches. But I heard that Batman's outfit and general look was inspired by Zorro, who was all the rage at the time. So the fox became a bat.
    The cape and mask yes. But underneath, Batman is an acrobat (Robin was one literaly). And if you check well, despite some other influence, his villains seem to came from a circus show, a clown, a enimga trickster, some with big cats...

    I know what you mean. One wonders which goes first--the poem or the feeling.
    Well, Gonçalves Dias died in his travel back from Portugal to here (he was sick, the ship sinked, everyone left, but they forgot him in his room) and the feeling is quite a national feeling for both portugal and brazil. So, the feeling is always there, but the poem may work as both chicken and egg.

    Side story, Borges traveled to live in europe when he was 5 years old and the ship stopped in Santos. Decades latter, a Brazilian poet visited him (Borges is not very found of brazilian literature at all, but he was always polite with fellow writers) and when the poet was asking about what Borges knew in portuguese, he started to recite verses of the Canção do Exílio. He had list to sailors singing it and thought it was a popular song and seemed to evoke him some feeling about leaving home that he never forgot, even not quite understand the words
    #foratemer

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