Monday, October 10, 2022

Sherlock Holmes as an eccentric defender of the imperial center against the colonial margins

In Arthur Conan Doyle's "A Study in Scarlet" (1887) and "The Sign of the Four" (1890), Sherlock Holmes may be an outsider, eccentric both in his lifestyle and in his detective methods, but he also serves as the final defense against violence returning from former and current colonies to the home country. In "A Study in Scarlet", the Mormon settlement of  desolate nineteenth-century Utah provides the background for the murder; in "The Sign of the Four", the Indian back story even brings a "savage" back from the Andaman Islands to commit murder with a poison dart. With his eccentric detection, Holmes defends the British center against backlash from the colonial margins. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 10 October 2022)

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