The Gestalt Shift in Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes Stories

  • Michael J. Crowe

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Michael J. Crowe
    Pages 1-35
  3. Michael J. Crowe
    Pages 37-52
  4. Michael J. Crowe
    Pages 53-80
  5. Michael J. Crowe
    Pages 81-108
  6. Michael J. Crowe
    Pages 109-141
  7. Michael J. Crowe
    Pages 143-162
  8. Michael J. Crowe
    Pages 163-185
  9. Michael J. Crowe
    Pages 187-196
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 197-229

About this book


This book analyzes the four novels and fifty-six stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle describing the adventures and discoveries of Sherlock Holmes. Michael J. Crowe suggests that nearly all the Holmes stories exhibit the pattern known as a Gestalt shift, in which suddenly Holmes’s efforts reveal a new perspective on the case, typically identifying the culprit(s) and resolving the case. Drawing on ideas presented by Thomas S. Kuhn in his famous Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), Crowe argues that similar to the way that Kuhn applied the idea of a Gestalt shift to the history of science, this approach can be used to reveal the structure of the Holmes stories and possibly be applied to some other areas of fiction.


Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Gestalt shift Thomas Kuhn history of science history of philosophy crime fiction detective fiction paradigm shift

Authors and affiliations

  • Michael J. Crowe
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Notre DameNotre Dame, INUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Literature, Cultural and Media Studies
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-98290-8
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-98291-5
  • Buy this book on publisher's site