Sherlock Holmes: A Marxist Deconstruction Essay

Sherlock Holmes: A Marxist Deconstruction Essay

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Mysteries have always held great fascination for the human mind, not least because of the aura that surrounds them and the realm of the Unknown into which they delve. Coupled with the human propensity of being particularly curious about aspects which elude the average mind, the layer of intrigue that glosses over such puzzles makes for a heady combination of the literary and the popular. In the canon of detective fiction worldwide, no detective has tickled the curious reader’s imagination and held it in thrall as much as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. The 221-B, Baker Street, London ‘amateur’ detective combines a rare blend of intellectual prowess and sharp wit to crack a series of baffling riddles.


The aim of this somewhat ambitiously titled paper is to use Marxist literary criticism to understand the literary merits of the Sherlock Holmes series, given its historical location and specificity. The idea is to analyse Holmes’ ‘Victorian-ness’ and place it in the socio-economic framework of that era. Special attention has been paid to character interaction and Holmes’ reaction to the dominant class and vocational ideologies (the word is used here in its Marxist sense) of his day.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), like Holmes’ chronicler, was a doctor by profession. He led a varied and adventurous life. The epitaph on his gravestone in the churchyard at Minstead in New Forest, Hampshire reads: Steel true/ Blade straight/ Arthur Conan Doyle/ Knight/ Patriot, Physician and Man of Letters. Conan Doyle was also a lot more. He was a historian, whaler,
athlete, war correspondent and spiritualist. He was knighted in 1902 for his services in South Africa during the Boer. He wrote four novels an...


... middle of paper ...


...dgrind of Charles Dickens’ Hard Times.

The Sherlock Holmes series, has, like most enduring literary works, both challenged and conformed to the ideals of its age. Today, more than a hundred years after his first adventure, Sherlock Holmes remains one of the most beloved fictional characters of the Victorian era.





BIBLIOGRAPHY

Books

1. Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I, Bantam Classics, 2003.

2. Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume II, Bantam Classics, 2003.


3. Eagleton, Terry. Marxism and Literary Form. Routlege Books, 1984.

4. Mukherjee, Suroopa. Victorian Poets. Worldview Publications, 2007.

Websites

1. www.wikipedia.com , searched for Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle, Detective fiction, Edgar Allan Poe

2. www.thesherlockian.net

3. www.ehow.com

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