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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Other Sherlock Holmes: Postcolonialism in Victorian Holmes and 21st Century Sherlock
by Robinson, Sarah E., M.A., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2018, 62; 10808581
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis examines Sherlock Holmes texts (1886–1927) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and their recreations in the television series Sherlock (2010) and Elementary (2012) through a postcolonial lens. Through an in-depth textual analysis of Doyle’s mysteries, my thesis will show that his stories were intended to be propaganda discouraging the British Empire from becoming tainted, ill, and dirty through immersing themselves in the “Orient” or the East. The ideal Imperial body, gender roles, and national landscape are feminized, covered in darkness, and infected when in contact for too long with the “Other” people of the East and their cultures. Sherlock Holmes cleanses society of the darkness, becoming a hero for the Empire and an example of the perfect British man created out of logic and British law. And yet, Sherlock Holmes’ very identity relies on the existence of the Other and the mystery he or she creates. The detective’s obsession with solving mysteries, drug addiction, depression, and the art of deduction demonstrate that, without the Other, Holmes has no identity. As the body politic, Holmes craves more mystery to unravel, examine, and know. Without it, he feels useless and dissatisfied with life. The satisfaction with pinpointing every detail, in order to solve a mystery continues today in all media versions. Bringing Sherlock Holmes to life for television and updating him to appeal to today's culture only make sense. Though society has the insight offered by postcolonial theory, evidence of an imperial mindset is still present in the most popular reproductions of Sherlock Holmes Sherlock and Elementary.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ramaswamy, Anushiya
Commitee: DeSpain, Jessica, Pendergast, John
School: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Department: English Language & Literature
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 57/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: British and Irish literature
Publication Number: 10808581
ISBN: 978-0-438-04512-5
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