The Hound of the Baskervilles: Another Adventure of Sherlock Holmes

By Arthur Conan Doyle; W. W. Robson | Go to book overview
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I WISH to thank the Librarian and staff of the National Library of Scotland, of Edinburgh University Library, Edinburgh Central Library (especially its Reference Division), and Professor Christopher Ricks.

My debt to Hugh Robson for his pains in preparing this work for the press is very difficult to express with a sufficiency of thanks. My debt to Anne Robson can never receive sufficient acknowledgement. WWR

Some account of W. W. Robson's seminal influence in the making of the present series appears in ACD--the Journal of the Arthur Conan Doyle Society IV ( 1993), pp. 121-7.

Revising without him brings its further sorrow, save that to listen mentally for the principles and ideals he would gently preach retains some hold on him, a process assisted by the posthumous publication of his Critical Enquiries: Essays on Literature ( Athlone Press, 1993) and by the preparation by Anne Robson, Hugh Robson, and Owen Dudley Edwards of his critical selection of G. K. Chesterton Father Brown detective stories for the World's Classics.

He would have added a word on the early Conan Doyle story "The Winning Shot", first published in Bow Bells 11 July 1883, and subsequently in The Unknown Conan Doyle: Uncollected Stories edited by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green, which he so greatly admired: located in Dartmoor, it features an ominous man on a tor, as well as a hound caught up in human use of the preternatural (though as victim rather than symbol).

Pointing as this does to some seeds of The Hound of the Baskervilles germinating very early in ACD's literary imagination, Robson would also have been deeply interested in the story of the Hound of Cramond, a seaside suburb of Edinburgh, with Hound Point nearby. The hound went on the Crusade with its master and its baying on his death in Syria was audible in his native Cramond at the time and subsequently, and the cries, described as 'mournful and dismal wailing' ( Peter Underwood, Gazetteer of Scottish Ghosts ( 1973), 55-6), 'even in day were not pleasant to hear' (in Holmes's words). The knight was called Roger. Or possibly--and the boy ACD would have heard the story rather than read it--Rodger.


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