Sherlock Holmes: A Secret History

Sherlock Holmes: A Secret History

Sherlock Holmes: A Secret History

Sherlock Holmes: A Secret History

Synopsis

Broad in range and scope, this book delves into the mind and milieu of Arthur Conan Doyle, exploring the context in which he developed the beloved character Sherlock Holmes and the stories, the world, in which he comes to life.Many readers have been fascinated by the complex and cunning mind of Arthur Conan Doyle, inventor of the personality of Sherlock Holmes. Hennessy offers readers a deeper understanding of how one great mind goes about creating another great mind. The author notes and deciphers a wealth of symbols and references from philosophy, religion, literature, history and contemporary events that enrich the plots and the morals of Doyle's clever tales, showing them to be more than merely entertaining.Of all the books exploring the subject of Sherlock Holmes, this is the only one that reaches into the philosophical and psychological depths of the work and uses these findings to present a new understanding of the writer's motives and aesthetic goals.

Excerpt

The aspiration of this work is to analyze the origins and ambitions of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and the individuals involved in them, and to build a foundation of conditions of possibility regarding Arthur Conan Doyle’s intentions for creating these stories and these people in the forms we have them in. in an effort to find the design behind Sherlock Holmes’ animation, what amounts to an industry has sprung up, involving writers of every bent and description in each country in which the stories are read. Holmes puts me in mind of the observation G. K. Chesterton made about one of his own characters in his short story “A Picture of Tuesday”: “But, like all the works of God, you have to see him twenty times before you see him for the first time.” This study hopes to provide new insights, quite a few actually, for seeing this work of God, and his creator, at least fractionally, for the first time. the Holmes Canon and the absorbing life of their author have been so thoroughly investigated already as to make many other justifications for such a project untenable.

Past writers have approached the hyper-complex nature of the Holmes stories but none seems to have fully grasped them in their entirety, and I realize I have not done so myself. Every year Holmes’ imprint on fiction literature grows deeper and wider, like a footprint in the melting snow, and imitation is still the greatest compliment. Doyle’s writings in general, and these stories in particular, have gained the distinction of being the most pirated works of modern fiction. Even Hamlet, whose influences colored the greater part of European literature and led it indirectly to the modern “anti-hero,” which Sherlock himself epitomizes from time to time, left no such widespread emotional impression. the drama of Hamlet reaches psychological levels Holmes readers would not feel to be completely unfamiliar ground, a testimonial in itself to the fact that these stories possess unexplored depths. I doubt if any other character, real or unreal, has had so many films made of his exploits, and there are even modern dance dramas, plays, and ballets, dealing with his adventures. Only religious leaders such as . . .

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