Our Fascination with Sherlock Holmes

The literary renditions inspired by the character of Sherlock Holmes require an alphabetical Wikipedia list just to cover them all. The numerous movie versions about Holmes, right from the first film interpretations in the 1930’s, have secured the imagination of new generations of watchers who have become devout Holmes’ fans over the years. What is it about this creation by Arthur Conan Doyle that has produced such an intense and prolonged fascination with the character of Sherlock Holmes? How does such a character become larger than his original beginnings and what keeps his popularity growing?

  • While looking into the fascination with Sherlock Holmes, you could also consider mentioning the character of Watson and his different renditions. The side kick has also taken on some interesting popularity among people as well. You could explore this. – amandajarrell 7 years ago
  • I believe one reason Sherlock Holmes has reached such a wide audience is its pertinence to so many topics. Literary it is well written, Doyle develops his characters well and the sentence structure varies nicely. The theme is interesting to readers who are simply looking for a book to get lost in. The novels have also been turned into movies which increases the fan base widely. – bethanycoates 7 years ago
  • The Sherlock Holmes series lends itself to modern adaptations. The themes—crime, curiosity, justice—are equally as relevant and captivating today as they were when the books were first penned. I stumbled upon a recent adaptation, the series Elementary (from 2014 I believe) that I found interesting because it casts women in traditionally male roles, such as Watson and Moriarty (particularly interesting is Lucy Liu as Watson). It's interesting to see how this changes the dynamic between characters, but also how it doesn't change the attitude of the series all that that much. Maybe that says something about how relevant Doyle's books are to everyone, not just white men who can directly relate to the main characters. If the same basic premise can be executed by a wide variety of people, there's probably some universal elements that make it appealing to everyone. – Ali Van Houten 7 years ago
  • I think a lot of it has to do with the universal appeal of logic. Sherlock Holmes was written at a time when Gothic fiction, and the related obsessions with mysticism and the unknown, were very prominent. Arthur Conan Doyle himself had an obsession with the mystical, and a completely illogical belief that magicians like Harry Houdini were real. It could be interesting to incorporate elements of his biography into this piece, and discuss how Holmes was logical and even-tempered in a way that Doyle and, for that matter, most readers, will never be -- hence his appeal. – agombar 7 years ago
  • An interesting viewpoint of this would be the implications of the different Holmes incarnations over time; for example, just in recent years, we have the adventure hero Sherlock Holmes portrayed by Robert Downey, Jr., and the "austistic genius" archetype detective played by Benedict Cumberbatch. What do the many interpretations of Conan Doyle's story say about the times they were made? What keeps these reinterpretations fresh? – lilbengt 7 years ago
  • "Sherlock Holmes's War of the Worlds," an early cross-over before the dawn of endless movie reboots, highlights a great reason why the character is revered since his logic can save planets. Superman is too unattainable, but Holmes is only a mental breakthrough or moment of enlightenment away. – Michael J. Berntsen 7 years ago

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