Doyle, A. Conan: The Hound of the Baskervilles
(researched by Devan Polley)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
A. Conan Doyle. The Hound of the Baskervilles: Another Adventure of Sherlock Holmes. Published by George Newnes, Limited, London, Southampton Street, Strand 1902 Copyright 1901, 1902 A. Conan Doyle Copyright 1901, 1902 George Newnes, LTD. Parallel first edition: American, New York, McClure, Phillips & Co., 1902 sources: British and American first editions, and A bibliographical catalogue of the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, M. D., LL. D., 1879-1928 by Harold Locke.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The first edition was published in trade cloth binding. source: British 1st edition
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
202 leaves, pp. [12] 1-24 [2] 25-58 [2] 59-76 [2] 77-84 [2] 85-118 [2] 119-160 [2] 161-164 [2] 165-204 [2] 205-208 [2] 209-250 [2] 251-260 [2] 261-310 [2] 261-310 [2] 311-318 [2] 319-322 [2] 323-328 [2] 329-358 [4] source: British 1st edition
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
The first edition is neither edited nor introduced. source: British 1st edition
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
Black and white drawings on glossy paper stock plates facing pages: title page, 24, 58, 76, 84, 118, 160, 164, 204, 208, 260, 310, and 322. All illustrations are by Sydney Paget and his name or initials are in every illustration. A legend accompanies each illustration and all of them are listed on the unnumbered page facing page 1. source: British 1st edition
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The text is very readable due to its large size and clear printing The verso of the title page and the colophon presented no description of the type. Measurements: page: 7 º" x 4 æ" text: 5 º" x 3 º" margins: sides: æ" top & bottom: 1" Type style: serif Type size: 110R Chapters have headings that correspond to their number followed by the chapter title on the next line in smaller, uppercased letters and the first letter of the word is in larger, bold type. source: British 1st edition
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The first edition was printed on wove paper that has an even, granulated texture. It has yellowed slightly with age but is overall in excellent condition. The illustrations are on glossy paper stock. source: British 1st edition
11 Description of binding(s)
Material: Calico-texture cloth, not embossed. Color: Red. Stamping: Gilt stamping of words and illustrations on front cover spine. The initials "A.G.I." are stamped in the lower right corner of the front cover. Illustrations: A gilt stamped design appears on the front cover as well as on the spine. An illustration of a hound on a hill in black appears on the front cover as well. Endpapers: Plain white paper glued to the inside of the front and back of the cover as well as two plain leaves at the beginning and end of the book. Transcription of the cover and spine: Front cover: THE HOUND | OF THE | BASKERVILLES | CONAN DOYLE Spine: THE | HOUND | OF | THE | BASKER- | -VILLES | CONAN | DOYLE | GEORGE | NEWNES | LTD. Back cover is plain. source: British 1st edition
12 Transcription of title page
Recto: THE HOUND OF THE | BASKERVILLES | ANOTHER ADVENTURE OF | SHERLOCK HOLMES | BY | A. CONAN DOYLE | AUTHOR OF | "MICAH CLARK," "THE WHITE COMPANY," "RODNEY STONE," | "UNCLE BERNAC," ETC. | LONDON | GEORGE NEWNES, LIMITED | SOUTHAMPTON STREET, STRAND | 1902 Verso: [BOXED] [GOTHIC] BY THE SAME AUTHOR. | [ROMAN] MICAH CLARKE. | THE WHITE COMPANY. | RODNEY STONE. | UNCLE BERNAC: A Memory of the Empire.| THE TRAGEDY OF THE KOROSKO. | THE REFUGEED. | THE GREAT SHADOW | ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES. | MEMOIRS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES. | THE SIGN OF FOUR. | A STUDY IN SCARLET. | THE FIRM OF GIRDLESTONE. | THE PARASITE. | EXPLOITES OF BRIGARDIER GERARD. | CAPTAIN OF THE "POLESTAR." | ROUND THE RED LAMP. | THE STARK MUNRO LETTERS. | THE DOINGS OF RAFFLES HAW. source: British 1st edition
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
Chapter XI of The Hound of the Baskervilles is part of the Berg Collection, New York Public Library. Various other owners own other sections of the work. source: www.zinezone.com
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
Verso of the front cover has a nameplate with a black and white illustration of a unicorn in a crown. Beneath the unicorn is a ribbon with the words "loyal en tout" imprinted on it. Under the illustration is the name "FRANKLIN PIERCE ABBOTT." The recto of the front page has another nameplate which states that the book is part of the Sadlier-Black collection in the University of Virginia's Special Collections. On the unnumbered page 359 in small print at the bottom it states "Printed by William Clowes and sons, limited, London and Beccles." In a letter to Herbert Greenough Smith in 1901, Doyle wrote: "At the beginning of Chap IV I should like to convey that Sir Henry Baskerville wore a 'ruddy-tinted tweed suit.' It is not essential - but I should be glad if it could be inserted. A.C.D." The dedication on the seventh unnumbered page is as follows: MY DEAR ROBINSON, | It was to your account of a West- | Country legend that this tale owes its incep- | tion. For this and for your help in the | details all thanks. | Yours most truly, | A. CONAN DOYLE. source: The McGregor Autograph Collection at the University of Virginia's Special Collections and the British 1st edition.
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
After extensive research, information regarding other editions printed by George Newnes, LTD. was not located. New York, McClure, Phillips & Co. printed another edition along with the American 1st edition in 1902 that does not contain a letter from the editor as in the 1st edition. New York, The McClure Co. also published a subsequent edition in 1908. Sources: WorldCat (Virgo), FirstSearch, National Union Catalog Pre-1956 Imprints
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
Information regarding printings and impressions of the first edition were not located at this time(1999). Sources: National Union Catalog Pre-1956 Imprints, WorldCat, Bibliofind, Bookwire, Publisher's Weekly British Library Catalogue, RLIN, Eureka
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
Editions from other publishers include: New York: Belmont Tower Books, 1901 New York: The American News Company, 1902, special edition Toronto: G.N. Morang 1902 New York: W.R. Caldwell, 1902 N.Y.: Collier, 1902 Garden City, New York, Doubleday, Page & Company, 1902, 1912, 1926, 1977 Leipzig, Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1902 New York: Grosset & Dunlap 1902, 1921 London: Smith, Elder & co. 1908 Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1937 London: J. Murray, 1941 New York: Bantam Books, 1949 Chicago: Regnery, 1959 New York: Random House, 1961 New York: Dodd, Mead, 1968 London: Pan Books, 1975 New York: Dell, 1975 New York: Dale Books, 1978 London: Sparrow, 1982 Boston: Little, Brown, c1984 (pbk) San Francisco: Arion Press, 1985, limited edition London: Folio, 1987 New York: Crown, 1988 South Yarmouth, Ma: J. Curley, 1988, large print (pbk) London: Grafton, 1988 New York: Gallery Books, 1991 Pale Dale, RI: North Books, 1993, large print Bath: Chivers Large Print, 1994 Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994 (pbk) New York: Dover, 1994 London: Andre Deutsch Classics, 1996 London: Virgin, 1998, 80th anniversary edition Sources: WorldCat, The Library of Congress Online Catalog, National Union Catalog Pre-1956 Imprints
6 Last date in print?
The Hound of the Baskervilles is still in print as of 1999. Source: Books in Print with Book Reviews database
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
An advertisement in Publisher's Weekly, April 26, 1902, states "we have sold [at least] fifty thousand" when referring to how many copies were sold soon after publication. The book was originally sold for $1.25. Sources: Publisher's Weekly, Bowker's Annual, Tebbel's A History of American Publishing, Mott's Golden Multitudes, Hackett's 80 years of Best Sellers, Hackett's 50 Years of Best Sellers
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
Information regarding sales by year was not found at this time (1999). However, in Mott's Golden Multitude, it states: "In 1902, The Hound of the Baskervilles attained high popularity and the best seller lists, but its total did not place it in the topmost bracket." Sources: Hackett's 80 Years of Best Sellers, 50 Years of Best Sellers, Bibliofind, Bibliocity, Publisher's Weekly, Mott's Golden Multitudes
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
There were many advertisements printed in Publisher's Weekly. On May 10th, 1902 the advertisement put out by McClure, Phillips & Co. read as follows: " We don't assert that this novel marks a turning point in English literature. We hardly think that it will cause Thackeray and Dickens and Stevenson to totter on their pedestals . . . If we live until 2002 we shall hardly expect to find Mr. Carnegie's libraries of that date crowded with it . . . But we do say this: The new Sherlock Holmes novel may be dead one hundred years from now, but it is very much alive to-day. It is the high-water mark of detective fiction." The ad was about Ω a page. Another ad placed by McClure, Phillips & Co. on March 15th, 1902 (before the release) read as follows: "Sherlock Holmes is without question the most popular character in contemporary fiction. His is the name that will attract most attention in a display headline. His is the name that will make a book a 'best selling book.' For the first time A. CONAN DOYLE has placed Sherlock Holmes in a novel 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'" The ad was about Ω a page. Source: Publisher's Weekly April 5th, 26th, March 10th, 15th, 1902
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
There were many posters created for the movies that sprung from the book. Although not specific promotions for the book itself, they may have had an impact on sales. Source: Amazon.com *see "supplementary materials" for a sample image
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Movies include: Movie, 1931, The Hound of the Baskervilles, dir: Gareth Gundrey, Sherlock Holmes: Robert Rendel, U.K. Black and White Movie, 1959, The Hound of the Baskervilles, dir: Terence Fisher, Sherlock Holmes: Peter Cushing, color, U.K. Movie, 1939, The Hound of the Baskervilles, dir: Sidney Lanfield, Sherlock Holmes: Richard Greene (1), black and white, U.S.A. Movie, 1978, The Hound of the Baskervilles, dir: Paul Morrissey, Sherlock Holmes: Peter Cook, color, U.K. Movie, 1914, The Hound of the Baskervilles, dir: Rudolf Meinert, Sherlock Holmes: Alwin Neufl, black and white, silent, Germany Movie, 1920, The Hound of the Baskervilles, dir: Maurice Elvey, black and white, silent, U.K. Movie, 1936, The Hound of the Baskervilles, dir: Carl Lamac, black and white, U.S.A./Germany Movie, 1915, Das Dunkle Schlofl, dir: Willy Zehn, Sherlock Holmes: Eugen Burg, black and white, silent, Germany T.V.-Movies, 1972, The Hound of the Baskervilles, dir: Barry Crane, Sherlock Holmes: Stewart Granger, U.S.A. T.V.-Movies, 1983, The Hound of the Baskervilles, dir: Douglas Hickox, Sherlock Holmes: Ian Richardson, U.K. T.V.-Movie, 1988, The Hound of the Baskervilles, dir: Brian Mills (I), Sherlock Holmes: Jeremy Brett, U.K. T.V.-Movie, 1981, Priklyucheniya Sherloka Kholmsa i doktora Vatsona: Sobaka Baskervilei, dir: Igor Maslennikov, Sherlock Holmes: Vasili Livanov, Russian, Soviet Union T.V.-Series, 1982, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes: Tom Baker, U.K. T.V., The slobbery hound, New York, N.Y: Polygram Video, alt title Wishbone, 1995, videocassette N.B.-Many of the movies mentioned here have also been made into videocassettes. Books on Tape include: The Hound of the Baskervilles, Cassette Classics by Jabberworthy, 1975, 1 cassette, 1 booklet The Hound of the Baskervilles, West Haven, CT: Pendulum Press, 1977, 1 cassette The hounds [sic] of the Baskervilles, Clinton, MD: Recorded Books, Inc., 1980, 4 cassettes The Hound of the Baskervilles, Pasedena, CA: Cassette Book Company, 1984, 6 sound cassettes The Hound of the Baskervilles, Salt Lake City, Utah: Audio Books on Cassette, 1988, 4 sound cassettes The Hound of the Baskervilles, Onatario, Canada: Listen for Pleasure: Audio Language Studies, 1990, 2 sound cassettes, read-along The Hound of the Baskervilles, Newport Beach, CA: Books on Tape, 1993, 6 sound cassettes (6 hrs.) The Hound of the Baskervilles, England: Castle Communications, 1994, 2 sound cassettes (ca.120 min.) The Hound of the Baskervilles, Okemos, MI: Literature on Tape, 1995, 4 sound cassettes The Hound of the Baskervilles, Navato, CA: Soundelux Audio, 1996, 1 sound cassette The Hound of the Baskervilles, Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, 1998, 5 sound cassettes Musical performances: Roger Baskerville's Lonely Hound from Hell: a rock opera Florida: Pleasant Places of Florida, 1997, written by: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison The adventures of Sherlock Holmes (The Hound of the Baskervilles), contrabass/narrator, New York: C. Fischer, 1984 Musical Score Theatrical Works include: The Hound of the Baskervilles: an entertainment Macclesfield: New Playwrights' Network, 1991 Source: Library of Congress Online Catalog; WorldCat; FirstSearch; us.imdb.com; T.V. Movies and Video Guide 1988 ed. Leonard, Mattins; WorldCat; Eureka; Amazon.com
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Translations include: L'anah al-barun, Bayrut: Dar al-Bisat lil-Nashar, 1983, Arabic Pa-ssu-k'o-wei-erh ti lieh ch'i¸an, Hsiang-kang: Li wen ch'u pan she: Fa hsing Li y¸an shu pao she, 1998, Chinese Baskervilles hund Aarhus [Denmark]: Det Jydske Forlag, 1902, Danish Chien des Baskerville [France?]: Grands ?crivains, 1985, French Der Hund von Baskerville: Krimialroman, G¸tersloh: Sigbert Mohn Verlag,1964, German To skyli ton Baskervil, Athena: Ekdoseis Ermeias, 1981, Greek Sikari kutta, Dilli: Navaprabhata Sahitya, 1995, Hindi Egy csal?d rÈme: regÈny Budapest: Magyar Kereskedelmi K?zl?ny Kiadasa, 1905, Hungarian Baskerville-hundurinn : n˝ saga um Sherlock Holmes, ReykjavÌk: Prentsmiojan Gutenburg, 1911, Icelandic Il Mastino dei Baskerville, [Milano]: A. Mondadori, 1976, Italian Basukaviru-ke no inu, Tokyo: Gatsuyo Shobo, 1951, Japanese Basuk`abil-ka ui kae, Soul, Mun'gongsa, 1990, Korean Hunden fra Baskerville, Kristiana [Norway]: H. Aschehoug; W. Nygaard, 1911, Norwegian Sag-I Khanivadih-I Baskirvil, Tihran: Intisharat-I Tus, 1993, Persian Pies Baskerville'Ûw, Chicago, Ill.: Nakladem I Dziennika Nardowego, 1911, Polish O c?o dos Baskervilles, Portugal: PublicaÁıes Europa- AmÈrica, 19uu, Portuguese C?inele din Baskerville, Bucuresti: Edidtura Artfil, 1995, Romanian Baskervilski pas, Zagreb: Alfa, 1978, Serbo-Croatian El sabueso de los Baskerville, Barcelona: Editorial Molino, 1950, Spanish Khwamlo'klap khong thung rang "BÊtkúwin", Krungthep Ö : Rongphim Nangso'phim Thai, 1950, Thai Sobaka Baskerviliv : povist? ta opovidannia KyÔv: "Dnipro", 1992, Ukranian Sources: Library of Congress Online Catalog, WorldCat
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
The Strand magazine. New York, etc., v.22-23 1901. 25.5cm, in case 26.5cm. vol.22,no.128, p.[123]-132; no.129, p.[243]-254; no.130, p.[363]-373; no.131, p.[495]-506; no.132, p.[603]-612; vol.23, no.133, p.[3]-15; no.134, p.[123]-130; no.135, p.[243]-252, no.136, p.[363]-372. Illus. Plates. Illustrated by Sidney Paget. Source: National Union Catalog Pre-1956 Imprints
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
The Hound of the Baskervilles was not published as a sequel/prequel. However, it has been published in many series. Series include: A study in Scarlet ; The hound of the Baskervilles, Pleasantville, N.Y.: Reader's Digest Association, c1986 Sherlock Holmes: A study in Scarlet; The sign of four; The Hound of the Baskervilles; The valley of fear; the complete long stories, London: J. Murray, 1929 The illustrated adventures of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, 100th anniversary edition, Glendale, CA: CB Publications, c1987 Sources: The Whole Story: 3000 years of sequels and sequences John E. Simkin, American Catalog 1900-1905 Peter Smith, The Library of Congress Online Catalog
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
On May 22, 1859, at Picardy Place, Edinburgh, Scotland, the eldest son of Mary Foley Doyle and Charles Altimont Doyle was born. Arthur Conan Doyle was the first of ten children in the Doyle family. Doyle's father was a civil servant and his family had to live off of his meager earnings. In 1869 Doyle began his formal education at Hodder Preparatory, a Jesuit school located in Lancashire. After Hodder Preparatory, Doyle attended Soneyhurst School in Lancashire and the Feldkirch School in Austria before being admitted to Edinburgh University. There Doyle began to study medicine. Before receiving his Bachelor of Medicine degree, Doyle published his first short story entitled "The Mystery of Sasassa Valley." Doyle then went on to receive a Master of Surgery degree and attempted to maintain a private practice in Southsea, Portsmouth. On August 6, 1885 he married Louise "Touie" Hawkins, who gave birth to Doyle's first two children, Mary Louise Conan and Alleyne Kingsley. In 1906, "Touie" died of tuberculosis that had plagued her since 1893. While Doyle was trying to support a family and run a private practice he was also beginning a writing career. In 1886 he completed The Firm of Girdlestone, his first novel and immediately afterwards he published A Study in Scarlet. This second novel provided the public with its first glimpse of Sherlock Holmes. Micah Clarke, The Sign of Four, and The White Company all soon followed. Doyle began publishing the Holmes stories in The Strand magazine from July to August in 1891. Greenhough Smith edited The Strand and its proprietor was George Newnes, and it was through Doyle's partnership with the magazine that Sherlock Holmes came to life in the illustrations of Sidney Paget. Correspondence between Doyle and Smith can be found in the University of Virginia's Special Collections as well as the University of London Library. Doyle published two more series about Holmes and then published "The Final Problem" in 1893 in which Professor James Moriarty kills Sherlock Holmes. Between the death of Holmes and the publication of The Hound of the Baskervilles (which provided an explanation for Holmes's reappearance in "The Adventure of the Empty House" in 1903), Doyle published many other works including: The Stark Munro Letters, The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard, Uncle Bernac, and The Great Boer War. In 1901, The Hound of the Baskervilles was published in The Strand. On September 18, 1907, Arthur Conan Doyle married Jean Leckie, and they had three more children. Soon after his second marriage, Doyle began some Spiritualist writings, and he published Through the Veil in 1911. He also embarked on some detective work. The first of the cases that he investigated concerned George Edalji, who was accused of animal mutilations where he lived. The second involved Oscar Slater who was accused of murdering an elderly woman. During this time he was still writing, and the various works that he published from 1909 up to his death included a mix of Spiritualist works, his autobiography, and the Holmes stories. In 1918, Kingsley (his son) died of influenza after being wounded in World War I, his death was then followed by the death of Doyle's brother, Innes, in 1919, and his mother in 1921. He published Memories and Adventures, his autobiography, in 1924. "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place," the final Sherlock Holmes story, was published in 1927. In 1929, after returning to his home from travelling around Scandinavia and Holland, Doyle suffered a heart attack. He died months later in his home in Surrey, Windlesham, on July 7, 1930. Sources: Jaffe, Jacqueline A. Arthur Conan Doyle. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1987. Nown, Graham. Elementary My Dear Watson. London: Ward Lock Limited, 1986. The Sherlock Holmes Museum. Home Page. The Sherlock Holmes Museum. 03 Nov. 1999 http://www.sherlock-holmes.co.uk/ The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Society. Home Page. The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Society. 08 Aug. 1999 http://www.ash-tree.bc.ca/acdsocy.html
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
He may not be a creation of Poe, but Sherlock Holmes is a permanent fixture in American culture. In 1902, with the release of The Hound of Baskervilles, the vigilant detective had already established his fame. His creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, had killed him off years before but Holmes's followers wanted a resurrection. In answer to the public's demands, Doyle wrote and published The Hound of the Baskervilles as an explanation of the death of his legendary character. The criticisms of the day abounded with comparisons to Poe, observations on Holmes's impact on American culture, and praise for being the best Holmes novel yet. A critical essay in the New York Times on May 3, 1902, compared The Hound of the Baskervilles to a short work by Mark Twain entitled "A Double-Barrelled Detective Story" that mocks the infamous detective. Twain's plot centers around a woman who eventually give's birth to a son who possesses the scent of a hound and decides that she will punish the father - and it is Sherlock Holmes who embarks upon the case. "The pitiable thing about it is that the crime is not even artistically committed" states the article, which goes further on to remark,
It is a curious fact that the story of which Mark Twain attempts to give a humorous solution, together with a caricature of its chief character, is really the best literary setting that Dr. Doyle has yet given to the indomitable Holmes. "The Hound of the Baskervilles" in construction, movement, and finish is a fine piece of work.
G.K. Chesterton examined the cultural fame of Holmes and his ties to Poe in an essay published in the "Daily News" in 1902. He states "[Sherlock Homes] had emerged out of the unreality of literature into the glowing reality of legend . . . [Holmes] is probably the only literary creation since the creations of Dickens which has really passed into the life and language of the people." Chesterton complained only of Doyle's allusions to Poe, "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle certainly weakened his excellent series of stories by being occasionally serious, especially he weakened it by introducing a sort of sneer at Edgar Allan Poe's Dupin, with whom he sustained no comparison." Other critics held these views as well. An essay published in "The Athenaeum" incorporates these ideas when it states, "[Sherlock Holmes] is now generally known, imitated from Poe, [and he is] an ineffaceable part of the English language." The criticisms formed contemporaneously with the publication of The Hound of the Baskervilles did not focus on the literary quality of the Holmes canon, but more on it's effects on society. The consensus of the time generally agreed that, while Arthur Conan Doyle is not on the same level as Poe, his creation of Homes branded itself on society. Sources: Hall, Sharon K. ed. et al. Gale Research Company, Book Tower Detroit, Michigan. 1982 Orel, Harold. ed. Critical Essays on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. New York: G.K. Hall and Co. 1992
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
He may not be a creation of Poe, but Sherlock Holmes is a permanent fixture in American culture. In 1902, with the release of The Hound of Baskervilles, the vigilant detective had already established his fame. His creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, had killed him off years before but Holmes's followers wanted a resurrection. In answer to the public's demands, Doyle wrote and published The Hound of the Baskervilles as an explanation of the death of his legendary character. The criticisms of the day abounded with comparisons to Poe, observations on Holmes's impact on American culture, and praise for being the best Holmes novel yet. A critical essay in the New York Times on May 3, 1902, compared The Hound of the Baskervilles to a short work by Mark Twain entitled "A Double-Barrelled Detective Story" that mocks the infamous detective. Twain's plot centers around a woman who eventually give's birth to a son who possesses the scent of a hound and decides that she will punish the father - and it is Sherlock Holmes who embarks upon the case. "The pitiable thing about it is that the crime is not even artistically committed" states the article, which goes further on to remark,
It is a curious fact that the story of which Mark Twain attempts to give a humorous solution, together with a caricature of its chief character, is really the best literary setting that Dr. Doyle has yet given to the indomitable Holmes. "The Hound of the Baskervilles" in construction, movement, and finish is a fine piece of work.
G.K. Chesterton examined the cultural fame of Holmes and his ties to Poe in an essay published in the "Daily News" in 1902. He states "[Sherlock Homes] had emerged out of the unreality of literature into the glowing reality of legend . . . [Holmes] is probably the only literary creation since the creations of Dickens which has really passed into the life and language of the people." Chesterton complained only of Doyle's allusions to Poe, "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle certainly weakened his excellent series of stories by being occasionally serious, especially he weakened it by introducing a sort of sneer at Edgar Allan Poe's Dupin, with whom he sustained no comparison." Other critics held these views as well. An essay published in "The Athenaeum" incorporates these ideas when it states, "[Sherlock Holmes] is now generally known, imitated from Poe, [and he is] an ineffaceable part of the English language." The criticisms formed contemporaneously with the publication of The Hound of the Baskervilles did not focus on the literary quality of the Holmes canon, but more on it's effects on society. The consensus of the time generally agreed that, while Arthur Conan Doyle is not on the same level as Poe, his creation of Homes branded itself on society. Sources: Hall, Sharon K. ed. et al. Gale Research Company, Book Tower Detroit, Michigan. 1982 Orel, Harold. ed. Critical Essays on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. New York: G.K. Hall and Co. 1992
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Critical Essay: Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles "Holmes is a man! Holmes is a great man! ? Sherlock Holmes lived, Dr. Watson lived?" (Shreffler 22). Since his very first appearance in A Study in Scarlet, the fame of Sherlock Holmes combined not only that of the literary character, but also that of the actual man. At almost the exact instant Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's literary creation became public it also became a phenomenon. Doyle then released another work and then another - all featuring the beloved Holmes. No one expected such reception. The detective genre was relatively unexplored since the days of Edgar Allen Poe's Monsieur Dupin. This success became an even bigger shock to Holmes' creator. By 1902, Arthur Conan Doyle had moved on to other works such as, The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard (1896) The Tragedy of Korosko (1898), and The Great Boer War (1900). History novels became his focus and, therefore, Doyle decided to end the literary existence of the character that generated his fame. In The Final Problem (1893), Holmes battles death and loses as he falls off a cliff with his arch nemesis Professor Moriarty. However, Doyle could not end his most famous character' public existence. Doyle's fans became outraged. His other works found nothing of the success he had seen with the Sherlock stories. To some, Sherlock Holmes was more real than his literary creator and, therefore, they could not reconcile how Doyle could end the life of their Great Detective. Holmes' fame had turned him from a literary figure to a living being, a permanent fixture of culture, and this metamorphosis caused the public to push Doyle into writing The Hound of the Baskervilles. The Hound of the Baskervillles itself blurred the line between reality and fiction and, although it did not resurrect the already infamous Holmes, it did quench the relentless thirst of the public as it became the most beloved and best selling story created by Arthur Conan Doyle. Sheockmania began almost immediately. A Study in Scarlet was the beginning of what, for some, would border on obsession. Although part of the literary genre created by Edgar Allen Poe, as T.S. Elliot remarked Sherlock Holmes did "not seem to be descended from either Sargeant Cuff or Monsier Dupin" (Shreffler 17). "Beeton's Christmas Annual" published A Study in Scarlet in December 1887. From that point on, Doyle's readers anxiously awaited future stories starring their now favorite detective. Over the next few years after the publication of A Study in Scarlet Sherlock Holmes became a phenomenon. In 1892, Doyle published The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes followed by The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes in 1893. At this time Doyle also developed a relationship with The Strand - the magazine in which he first released The Hound of the Baskervilles. Just the name "Sherlock Holmes" became part of the English dictionary, along with its rapidly developing cognates (i.e. - "Sherlockian," "Holmesian," etc.). "What Conan Doyle did was simply tremendous; he made his principal character, Sherlock Holmes, into that extraordinary thing, a household word" (Haining 7). However "tremendous" this creation became he still was, to Doyle, a creation. Thus, in 1893, Doyle decided to separate from the shadow of Sherlock's fame by throwing him over the Reichenbach Falls. Holmes' fans did not appreciate this action of Doyle and he became "assaulted with such a barrage of complaints that he was forced to restore him [Sherlock Holmes] back to life" (Haining 7). Thus, in 1901, the Great Detective yet again entranced Doyle's readers as they turned the pages of Sherlock Holmes latest expliots in The Strand. The Hound of the Baskervilles quickly became a success. Sales of The Strand rose rapidly. Doyle's new story provided no resurrection of Holmes, but it did supply a new tale that rapidly became one of the favorites of the Holmes canon. In it, an apparently supernatural hound disturbs the residents of Devonshire by fulfilling a curse on the Baskerville family. The beginning presents a familiar scene to Sherlockians (fans of Sherlock Holmes) as Holmes and his assistant, the dependable Dr. Watson, ponder a mysterious object left behind by a recent visitor they did not have the good fortune to meet. It appears to be a cane, somewhat worn, possibly belonging to a physician of some sort. Watson presents his hypotheses first which, in turn, stimulates Holmes' own thoughts on the matter. This is a familiar part of the basic format of a Holmesian story - Watson first, then Holmes who presents his ideas as he negates those of his companion. This can be seen in The Hound of the Baskervilles when Holmes states in reference to Dr. Watson, "It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it. I confess, my dear fellow, that I am very much in your debt" (3). The above phrase may also act as a parallel to the relationship between Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle in 1901. The public fervor for a re-emergence of the famous detective forced Doyle to abandon his original plan of moving on to other genres and laying Holmes to rest. Doyle's audience could recall Holmes' name as if it had been part of their language as far as memory would allow them to look back. However, they could not necessarily be able to tell you who Doyle was, or the fact that Sherlock Holmes was a product of the overshadowed writer's imagination. "It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light" does not simply refer to Dr. Watson - it also points to Doyle himself. Being Sherlock's creator makes him the "conductor," but that does not mean that he was able to stand in the light that he conducted. By the time of the publication in novel form of The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1902, Holmes and Doyle had traded places - Doyle had faded from the foreground of the public's memory whereas Holmes had transformed into a real person. People began to approach Doyle and relate to him the latest experiences they had with the talented detective and some even wrote letters requesting Holmes' services. Doyle once related a story about a Holmes' fan whom,
? is said to have consulted Sherlock. "I am greatly puzzled, sir. In one week I have lost a motor horn, a brush, a box of golf balls, a dictionary, and a bootjack. Can you explain it?" "Nothing simpler, madame," said Sherlock. "It is clear that your neighbour keeps a goat." (Shreffler 14)
The most obvious form of this new perception of Sherlock Holmes became the fan club. Holmes' fan clubs, aside from heralding him as the Great Detective of all time, quickly began to deny the existence of Doyle by such things as not allowing his name to be spoken during meetings, asserting that Doyle never existed, etc. One such group is the Baker Street Irregulars (B.S.I.). At one point during a radio discussion one of the B.S.I. stated,
We're paying Doyle (I'm sorry I mentioned his name) the supreme literary compliment: we are believing his creations, assuming them to be much more important than he is and willing to read any story he tells us about them. (Shreffler 24)
The Baker Street Irregulars, as with many of the Sherlockian fan clubs, saw Sherlock Holmes as being a living, breathing, human, made of flesh and bone not words and ink. Whenever they are asked questions such as why is Sherlock not at 221B Baker Street when one visits, they reply with such answers as "he was out on a case" (Shreffler 26) instead of validating any belief that Holmes himself is a work of fiction. One of the most famous people who the Baker Street Irregulars could lay claim to as being a member was President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1942 he accepted an honoris causa membership into the society, "I am glad to have a part of any movement whose purpose is to keep green the memory of Sherlock Holmes" (Shreffler 197) he wrote in his acceptance letter to the Baker Street Irregulars. Five letters written by F.D.R from August 5, 1942 to March 19, 1945 survive from his time with the B.S.I. and show his particular interest in the genealogical history of the Great Detective. In one he describes a place where he goes to relax, "In that spot the group of little cabins that shelter the Secret Service men is known as Baker Street" (197). The Hound of the Baskervilles helped to blur the distinction between Holmes the literary creation and the belief in Holmes the real person. It is a story based upon an old legend of a real family by the name of Baskerville in England. Baskerville Hall, the setting throughout most of the book and the home in which Watson stays as he gathers information on the other characters and the curse of the Baskervilles, is also an actual building located in England,
Arthur Conan Doyle was a family friend who often came to stay here [Baskerville Hall]. During his many visits he learnt of the local legend of the hounds [sic] of the Baskervilles. It is reputed that on nearby Hergest Ridge he translated this into probably the most famous case for his celebrated detective Sherlock Holmes. However, at the request of his friends he set the book in Devon "to ward off tourists." (Baskerville Hall, see "supplementary materials")
By the year that The Hound of the Baskervilles was released Sherlock Holmes fame was enough to boost the novel into best seller stardom. People did not buy the book because Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote it, or because of praise by literary circles. They bought it because it presented another opportunity for them to see the master detective at work, a master detective who had died a few years before. Sherlock had entered into the American conciousness at a time when,
? the reading of fiction in America [had become] something of a mania. Novels were devoured as much as read, and the public appetite appeared to be insatiable. . . . The fiction that was most read and most extensively discussed in the [eighteen] nineties came from British authors, it was generally agreed, and much of it was the sensational kind of novel that was not even reviewed. (Redmond 12)
Doyle wrote the most famous of his works when both the desire for British literature was in demand in America and the fame of Holmes had reached a peak making Holmes an immortal character and his death in The Final Problem irrelevant. Another factor that at the time of the publication of The Hound of the Baskervilles became a debated topic was whether it was well written or not. Negative criticism of Sherlock Holmes' literary value, in particular The Hound of the Baskervilles, arose. One such critic wrote, "Conan Doyle's favorite stories, The Speckled Band and The Hound of the Baskervilles, are not merely implausible, they are impossible, and the Sherlockian societies have had immense fun correcting and accounting with heavy scholarship for their [the novels'] errors" (Shreffler 43). Those faithful to Holmes praised and continue to praise The Hound of the Baskervilles as being one of the better-written Holmes tales in its presentation of a complex monkey-puzzle that the famous detective must solve. When one of the B.S.I. was asked which one of the Holmes stories he enjoyed the most he replied, " 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' - it's simply marvelous" (Shreffler 28). Although there is no strong evidence as to whether or not this debate promoted the novel to the best seller lists, Holmes' fans continue to praise it as one of their favorite tales as seen above. One way of reconciling these two different points of view was the following,
It is of course, the dramatic ability, rather than the pure detective ability, that does it. But it is a dramatic ability applied with great cunning and concentration; it is not split about. The content of the story may be poor; but the form is nearly always perfect. (Shreffler 18)
This dramatic ability transformed Sherlock Holmes into a real being from a literary creation which, in combination with the strong desire for his resurrection by the public, propelled The Hound of the Baskervilles to become a best seller in 1902. The story of the extraordinary hound and its role in the curse of the Baskervilles aided in the growing myth of the real Holmes with the subject matter on which it focused. Upon its release, The Hound of the Baskervilles did not receive acclaim for being the amazingly well written novel of its day. It was, however, what the public had wanted so badly and had forced Doyle into creating -another adventure with their favorite detective. Although The Hound of the Baskervilles had made its first appearance in "The Strand" where many read its Devonshire tale, although many pirated editions had been printed previous to its official release, The Hound of the Baskervilles still received its own spot on the best seller lists of 1902 thanks to the myth of the existence of its celebrated detective. As an ad placed by McClure, Phillips & Co. on March 15th, 1902 (before the release of The Hound of the Baskervilles stated: "Sherlock Holmes is without question the most popular character in contemporary fiction. His is the name that will attract most attention in a display headline. His is the name that will make a book a 'best selling book.'" The name of Sherlock Holmes is what boosted The Hound of the Baskervilles into the best seller charts not the novel's literary accomplishments, not the fame of its author, but the renown of the ever-popular detective. Modern critics continue to debate the literary value of The Hound of the Baskervilles, but Sherlock Holmes' continuing fame remains very apparent. Arthur Conan Doyle continued to create new adventures for the "famous detective" (Doyle 57) including The Last Bow (1917) and The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (1927). Other authors continued the Holmes adventures after Doyle's death on July 7, 1930. Many different tales, plays, musicals, movies, television series, etc. all starring the now immortal Holmes continue to be created. His transformation from literary character to cultural legend provided not only the basis behind best selling popularity of The Hound of the Baskervilles, but also his continuing popularity almost an hundred years later. Works Cited Baskerville Hall Hotel. Home Page. 19 July. 1999. Baskerville Hall Hotel. http://www.baskervillehall.co.uk/info.htm . Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. The Hound of The Baskervilles. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1902. Haining, Peter. ed. The Sherlock Holmes Scrapbook. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1974. Publisher's Weekly 15 March 1902. Redmond, Donald A. Sherlock Holmes Among the Pirates. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990. Shreffler, Phillip A. ed. The Baker Street Reader. Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1984.
Supplemental Material
This is the image on the frontispiece
This is an image of Baskerville Hall (from the Baskerville Hall Hotel Home Page).
This is a sample image of a poster printed for the movie version of <u>The Hound of the Baskervilles</u>.
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