How Sherlock Holmes helped me find my True Vocation

This blog post fulfils the assignment How Sherlock Holmes helped me find my true vocation at lazyblog.org. You can rate it here.

As any fule no, the great Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle based his fictional detective creation on his own tutor, Dr Joseph Bell. The stories – starting with “A Study in Scarlet” – were first printed as serials in “The Strand” magazine, only being assembled later into book form. Conan-Doyle came to hate his creation and thought he’d killed him off with “The Final Problem”, but the public raised such a fuss that he wrote more stories.

It’s popularly thought that Holmes was gay: In fact, although he had a marked aversion to women, he claimed to be gay only to avoid the clutches of a ballerina who’d taken a shine to him. He avoided emotional entanglement of any kind, seeing them as a distraction to his work. There’s another popular myth about Holmes – he never, in any of the books written by Conan-Doyle, said “Elementary, my dear Watson”.

The quintessential screen Sherlock was, of course, Basil Rathbone, although few of his films bore more than a passing resemblance to the original books: Filmed and set in wartime Britain, they showed how British brain would always defeat the Nazi guile. Nigel Bruce played a bumbling incompetent Doctor Watson, the first time Holmes’s friend and chronicler had been shown in this way.

But the most amazing thing I’ve discovered about Holmes is that according to this website, in 2002 he received a posthumous honorary fellowhip from the Society of Chemistry, the first fictional character to do so.

The incarnation of Holmes most faithful to Conan-Doyle’s original is that of Jeremy Brett, currently being televised on Saturday afternoons, and watched by me on video later that evening. Thus, in a very real sense, Holmes showed me that my true vocation is to flop in front of the telly eating fudge on Saturday nights.

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