‘… a great blue triumphant cloud—The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
No literary figure has a stronger hold on the public imagination than Sherlock Holmes. The name is a synonym for a detective; he has been parodied, imitated and recreated in all media with great success. The triumph of the figure made Conan Doyle wealthy, but forced him to keep writing Holmes’s adventures and discuss him in public when he much preferred other topics. These pressures are irresistible proof of real social meaning in the stories. The embarrassing success depended on the hero’s power to assuage the anxieties of a respectable, London-based, middle-class audience. The captivated readers had faith in modern systems of scientific and rational enquiry to order an uncertain and troubling world, but feeling they lacked these powers themselves they, like many audiences before them, needed a suitably equipped hero to mediate psychic protection.
KeywordsClay Depression Quicksilver Amid Influenza
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