Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories about the fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes have been popular since they first appeared in 1886. Explore the reasons behind this enduring popularity. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle produced a detective in Sherlock Holmes who was perfect in almost every way. His stories have become known across the globe since they first appeared in 1887 with ‘A Study in Scarlet which was published in ‘Beetons Christmas Annual’. i i0 Despite the changing times Sherlock Holmes has survived and is as popular today as it was then.
There are many reasons for this enduring popularity; I am going to explore just a few. par In the nineteenth century there was a crisis in religious faith when Charles Darwin came up with the idea that humans evolved from a “lesser species”, the apes. This frightened many people who had been very religious throughout their lives. The idea undermined the whole religious background and challenged people’s faith in God. This left a place like London in turmoil, people did not know what to do or who to believe.
Conan Doyle refers to it as a “Dense swarm of humanity”. With London being such ani i0 uncontrollable place at the time, many people turned to Sherlock Holmes’ stories as a person who could restore order to this place which had no order. This contributed at the time and nowadays to his popularity in an enormous way. par In Victorian times people became very intrigued by the new science of psyco-analysis which was then practised by Sigmund Freud. This was coincidently one of Sherlock Holmes’ many characteristics. Holmes was a bit like “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”.
On one side there was a very respectable west-end bachelor of high intelligence and a refined taste, he is a perfect gentleman. There is an example of this in, “The Speckled Bands” when he is speaking to Helen Stoner, he refers to her as “madam” and then invites her to “draw up to the fire and have a hot cup of coffee”. However, Holmes only this one side to him then that would to unbelievable and the majority of people wouldn’t accept him. He does flirt with the dark side every now and again like he does in “The Man With the Twisted Lip”.
Here, he is found in an opium den by Watson: “And there sitting by the fire was none other than Sherlock Holmes”. He is disguised as an old opium addict and he is very deceptive as he tricked Watson. Holmes states that he is not an opium addict but reveals to the reader that he has cocaine injections on p. 189, “You imagine that I have added opium smoking to my cucaine injections”. This shows that this is what he expects Watson to think as he knows him so well. This flaw tells you that Sherlock Holmes is human and that he is not perfect. This lets the reader relate to him.