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The Case of Sherlock HolmesSecrets and Lies in Conan Doyle's Detective Fiction$
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Andrew Glazzard

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474431293

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474431293.001.0001

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The Discreetly Shadowed Corners

The Discreetly Shadowed Corners

Chapter:
(p.91) Chapter 9 The Discreetly Shadowed Corners
Source:
The Case of Sherlock Holmes
Author(s):

Andrew Glazzard

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474431293.003.0010

In a famous passage at the beginning of ‘A Case of Identity’, Holmes imagines surveying the inner workings of the households of London from the air: If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs, and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the planning, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generations, and leading to the most outré results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable. (Adventures, 30) Besides the clear reference to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this passage alludes to a French reinterpretation of an ancient myth which, as Anthea Trodd and others have shown, fascinated Victorian writers: Alain-René Lesage’s Le Diable boiteux (1707) takes the figure of Asmodeus from Hebrew myth and turns him into a satirical figure who leads ‘a favoured human companion on a roof-top excursion of Madrid, and lifts the roofs of the houses to expose the secret crimes habitually being enacted beneath’.

Keywords:   London, Victorian, Kidnapping, Aristocratic, Rucastle

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