Detection & Its Designs: Narrative & Power in 19th-Century Detective Fiction

By Peter Thoms | Go to book overview

F I V E


A "Paralysing Spectacle
Authority and Submission in The Hound of the Baskervilles

IN THE SECOND CHAPTER of Arthur Conan Doyle The Hound of the Baskervilles ( 1902), Dr. Mortimer reads to Holmes and Watson a narrative explaining " 'the coming of the hound which is said to have plagued the family so sorely ever since' " (14). 1 This account of the origin of the curse begins by describing how Hugo Baskerville and his companions kidnap a maiden, how she escapes by climbing down the ivy that covers the south wall of Baskerville Hall, and how Hugo and his hounds pursue her as she flees homeward over the moor. In its unfolding, however, the story undergoes a sudden ironic reversal whereby the supposed hunter becomes the hunted; like Actaeon who is torn apart by his own hounds, Hugo is chased down and destroyed by " 'a great, black beast, shaped like a hound, yet larger than any hound that ever mortal eye has rested upon' " (13). In the introduction to this tale, the

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Detection & Its Designs: Narrative & Power in 19th-Century Detective Fiction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • O N E - Narrative and Power in Caleb Williams 13
  • T W 0 the Stories of Poe's Dupin 44
  • T H R E E "The Narrow Track of Blood" - Detection and Storytelling in Bleak House 71
  • F 0 U R the Detection of Innocence in the Moonstone 93
  • F I V E - Authority and Submission in the Hound of the Baskervilles 121
  • Notes 151
  • Works Cited 169
  • Index 175
  • Note About the Author 177
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