Date of Award

7-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

English (M.A.)

Department

English

Abstract

Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes is infamous for his uncanny ability to detect and capture criminals from minimal clues. Doyle’s inclusion of Victorian England’s fascination with and fear of foreign elements within his detective stories made Holmes an instant success. By including Holmes’s stories in The Strand, circulation doubled, resulting in the public’s adoration of this eccentric hero spanning across decades. Doyle’s inclusion of developments in science at the time captivated the audience even further. The character became timeless because of his dual nature; he, like his readers, had personal flaws and unhealthy habits, but was able to redeem himself by utilizing his extensive knowledge of racial anatomy, fingerprints, phrenology, and poisons to defeat threats against the empire. Ultimately, Sherlock Holmes was Doyle’s greatest achievement. The character embodied the fascination with foreign entities masses of Victorians experienced and combated the aecompanying fears so successfully he reassured the nation, single-handedly, that London could remain uneontaminated by colonial enterprises if enough precaution was used. Today, readers are still fascinated with the character, foreign in his own way, Doyle so brilliantly created.

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