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Practical vs. Supernatural in The Hound of the Baskervilles

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The novel The Hound of the Baskervilles is written by a British author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1859. Following “nine years in Jesuit schools, he went to Edinburgh University, where he received a degree in medicine in 1881. He then became an eye specialist in Southsea, with a distressing lack of success” (Doyle 1). Doyle’s financial letdown in Southsea created a need for an alternative way for him to generate profit, so he became an author. In the first of his many stories A Study in Scarlet, Doyle brings Sherlock Holmes to life; he is a detective and the protagonist of the story. Doyle’s inspiration and idea for an observant detective came from Dr. Joseph Bell of the Edinburgh Infirmary. Dr. Bell had brilliant powers of observation, analysis, and inference. Doyle’s story was rejected several times before a British publisher bought it for £25 (Doyle 1). “From early on, the worldwide popularity of Holmes annoyed his creator, and with a cause: the detective’s adventures, wonderful as they are, tended to overshadow everything else Conan Doyle wrote” (Dirda 42). Doyle eventually becomes so weary of Sherlock Holmes that he chose to kill off his character. However, Doyle had to later resurrect Holmes’s character due to popular demand for additional stories (Doyle 1). It was while playing golf one day, Robinson told Doyle a story of an ancient tale about a hound that haunted Dartmoor; “he was so inspired by this local legend that he resurrected Holmes, whom he’d killed off eight years earlier, in The Final Problem, at Switzerland’s Reichenbach Falls” (Cook). According to a 1996 article from New Statesman, “For well over 100 years, the great sleuth of Baker Street has been a staple of our imaginati...

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