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Holmes and the History of Detective Fiction

Burrow, Merrick (2017) Holmes and the History of Detective Fiction. In: The Cambridge Companion to Sherlock Holmes. Cambridge University Press. (Submitted)

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The extent of Holmes’s dominance in our perceptions of late-Victorian detective fiction might lead one to the conclusion that Doyle was the most successful practitioner of detective fiction, even if he did not invent the genre or the scientific method. But even this is not altogether correct. Why, then, does Holmes loom so large in the history of detective fiction? In the first part of this chapter I will examine some of the late-Victorian detective fiction against which Doyle defined his ‘new’ detective, before exploring the influence of Edgar Allan Poe and Émile Gaboriau. I will then survey some of Holmes’s competitors and consider the reasons why he eventually prevailed in shaping the direction that the genre would take. The final part of the chapter traces the course of Holmes’s influence in the development of the whodunit and hardboiled American private eye thrillers as well as the wider field of the crime writing.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
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Depositing User: Merrick Burrow
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2017 13:18
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 12:21


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