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dc.contributor.advisorShieff, Sarah
dc.contributor.authorLaven, Eleni
dc.date.accessioned2014-02-05T03:11:59Z
dc.date.available2014-02-05T03:11:59Z
dc.date.issued2013
dc.identifier.citationLaven, E. (2013). Detection, Desire and Contamination: The Strange Case of Sherlock Holmes (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/8466en
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/10289/8466
dc.description.abstractArthur Conan Doyle’s famous creation, Sherlock Holmes, is often viewed as a fictional embodiment of justice and order in nineteenth-century Britain, a fantasy of epistemological mastery precisely calibrated against the social flux and uncertainty of the fin-de-siècle. Holmes solves perplexing crimes through logic and reason, and affirms a positivist conservative ideology that upholds the status quo. This thesis will challenge this comforting reading of Holmes by arguing, firstly, that he is in fact a highly ambivalent figure - morally problematic, culturally marginalised and sexually ambiguous. Secondly, it will demonstrate how Holmes should be situated within the context of various historical and contemporary discourses, including inquisitorial modes of punishment and surveillance, the discourse of atavism, contemporary anxieties about degeneracy in the upper classes and the cultural problematics of bachelorhood and bohemia in Victorian society. Finally, it will trace a continuum in which Holmes, as an archetype in a discourse of detection extending back to the work of earlier writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, sets the pattern for the legion of brilliant, eccentric and ambiguous detectives who have followed in his wake. Understood in terms of this genealogy, the detective’s characteristic flaws, traits, eccentricities and methodologies can be seen to have a specific relation to their historical moment: indeed, part of the lingering appeal of the eccentric detective lies in the fit between their eccentricities, the nature of the crimes they solve, and their ability to restore order. This thesis will demonstrate the fit in the case of Sherlock Holmes, but will also demonstrate that he is more ambiguous, ambivalent and even subversive than his consoling conservative appeal might suggest.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherUniversity of Waikato
dc.rightsAll items in Research Commons are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectSherlock Holmes
dc.subjectArthur Conan Doyle
dc.subjectdetective fiction
dc.subjectVictorian studies
dc.subjectJack the Ripper
dc.subjectSpanish Inquisition
dc.subjectVictorian doctors
dc.titleDetection, Desire and Contamination: The Strange Case of Sherlock Holmes
dc.typeThesis
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Waikato
thesis.degree.levelMasters
thesis.degree.nameMaster of Arts (MA)
dc.date.updated2013-05-13T23:05:20Z
pubs.place-of-publicationHamilton, New Zealanden_NZ


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