Sherlock Holmes, the character was born in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s imagination. ACD was a Scottish author and doctor. The world first made acquaintance with Mr. Sherlock Holmes in Doyle’s first story, “A Study in Scarlet.” Sherlock Holmes was actively solving crimes in London, from 1880 to 1914.
Here’s the caricature of Sidney Paget‘s rendition of Arthur Conan Doyle’s hero, Sherlock Holmes.
Sherlock Holmes – A Biography
He was born on January 06, 1854 (the date and the year of his birth have been distilled from different stories.) This makes Holmes a Capricorn, and from whatever I’ve gathered of sun-signs, his personality seems to match the stereotypical Capricorn. Thus, it’s rather obvious that Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock’s literal father, was deeply influenced by Linda Goodman who was born in 1925. It’s once again obvious from this, that Doyle knew how to travel through time and this is how he could meet Ms. Goodman…(or is my reasoning fallacious, Mr. ‘Olmes?)
Did Sherlock Holmes have a family?
Well. Mr. Doyle refrained from staining the personality of his objective, no-nonsense hero by talking about his family. Whether or not he had parents can’t be deduced from the stories (so we’ve got to go by our good old common-sense) but that he had a brother is evident. His brother Mycroft Holmes, according to Sherlock, was equally gifted but he didn’t bother honing his skills up. If he had bothered, we would’ve read Mycroft Holmes mysteries instead.
Did Sherlock Holmes ever fall in love?
He probably did, with Irene Adler, “the woman” who managed to outsmart our detective genius. Otherwise, Sherlock Holmes was interested in women only when they brought him his cases. 100 years on…does it tell us that Holmes was gay?
Sherlock Holmes’ Psychology
I’ve begun to believe that if a perfectly normal person visited a psychologist, he’d come off that couch believing he had at least three major and one minor psychological ailment. Look around. Everyone gets depressed once in a while and the durations vary.
One of my aunts would get very-very angry, throw things around, and then shut herself up in her room shunning food for the entire day, until everyone grew concerned and until she had everybody’s attention. Then she would be the happiest person in the whole house. In those days, you’d call such people temperamental and let them be themselves. The lady spent a perfectly normal life, reared a son, became a grand-mother, and she now continues to harass her grand-daughter-in-laws(?) She’s 82 now, quite healthy, and would live for another 10 years! Her cool-headed practical husband, on the other hand, left for his other-worldly abode twenty years ago! Had she been taken to a psychologist, she’d be diagnosed with some or the other disorder, and she’d possibly have preceded her husband to that other world, worrying why the heck wasn’t she born normal!
But I stray from the point.
The psychologists weren’t happy analyzing and branding real people, and so they decided to determine what was wrong with Sherlock Holmes. Something has to be wrong with everyone whose a celebrity…right? I mean what could be a better way to belittle their achievements? Check out the list of celebs with syndromes here. It makes me wonder whether to become a celebrity you need to buy yourself a syndrome.
So here’s what Holmes was diagnosed with:
Quoting from Wikipedia:
Holmes may have Asperger’s syndrome based on his intense attention to details, lack of interest in friends or a social life and tendency to speak in long monologues.
(I think that I have Asperger’s too… and all this while I thought it was so because I was an introvert! Poor me…never knowing…struggling through my miserable life without knowing what actually is wrong with me!) Also note that “a severe family trauma” could be the reason why he never trusted women. If only Holmes were real…and could defend himself.
Sherlock Holmes – Original Drawings
If I asked you to tell me whether Sherlock Holmes had a nose that was a) spherical b)Hawk-like c)Bulbous d)Snub, then chances are good that you’ll select (b) as the correct option. We have Sidney Paget to thank for visualizing and drawing Sherlock Holmes with such consistency that even photography may fail to achieve. The image that I always carry in my head is not the one that is seen in the Sherlock Holmes movies or TV Shows, but those that are there on the pages of that hefty volume, which despite many readings, remains one of my favorite books!
My caricature of Mr. Holmes takes after Sidney Paget’s visualization.
View the Original Holmes Drawings here.
Dr. John H. Watson
Dr. Watson was Holmes’ flat-mate and friend, and he was the one who compiled and narrated his adventures. However, Holmes believed that Watson were a romantic and so he embellished the truth thus reducing its objectivity. In the stories that involve young and pretty women, Watson could be seen commiserating with them and speaking to them tenderly, much to the chagrin of Mr. Ever-grumpy Holmes.
Sherlock Holmes in Popular Culture
Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 4 novels and 56 stories around Sherlock Holmes.
The novels are as follows:
* A Study in Scarlet – the first work in which Holmes appeared – it was published in 1887
* The Sign of the Four – 1890
* The Hound of the Baskervilles – published as a serial in 1901-02
* The Valley of Fear – published as a serial in 1914-15
Professor Moriarty – the Master Villain in the Sherlock Holmes Mysteries
It’s said that Doyle created Professor Moriarty so that he could “kill” Holmes (possibly because he wanted to write something different.) He is considered (by Holmes himself) a man his equal in mind, yet someone who had turned his phenomenal powers towards evil. In the Final Solution, Holmes and Moriarty both die, yet the public forced Doyle to bring him back, which he did through the Hounds of Baskervilles set in an earlier time. The public still wasn’t happy – they wanted Holmes to be alive and well. Finally Doyle gave in and Holmes was resurrected. Moriarity had exceptional mathematical abilities…imagine that!
Other Characters in the Sherlock Holmes Mysteries:
- Baker Street Irregulars
- Inspector Lestrade
- Mrs. Hudson – the Landlady
- Inspector Stanley Hopkins
Free Downloads – Sherlock Holmes Mysteries
The Books by Arthur Conan Doyle are now in the Public Domain. You can download them from the Project Gutenberg site here.
And…if you are wondering who are the actors who’ve played the part of Sherlock Holmes in TV serials and movies…find your list here.