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Sherlock in the Multiverse

ENGL 1056.401
also offered as: CIMS 1056
TR 3:30-4:59pm

When Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes in the 1893 short story “The Final Problem,” some readers donned black crepe for mourning. Others canceled their subscriptions to The Strand Magazine. Perhaps for the first time in history, fandom mobilized. And eventually, Conan Doyle brought Holmes back, writing 3 more collections of short stories and “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” In the interim, he permitted the actor William Gillette to revise the persona in a stage script, saying "You may marry him, murder him, or do anything you like to him." Since then, we have taken Conan Doyle at his word—revisiting and revising Sherlock in countless ways. This course will consider the phenomenon of Sherlock Holmes. We will begin with his antecedents in the detectives of the 19th century. Then, we’ll dive into Conan Doyle’s Sherlock, considering how the figure spoke to the late Victorian moment. Finally, we will explore Sherlock’s contemporary life in new novels, short stories, screenplays, tv series and computer games. In addition to a collection of the original Sherlock stories, our readings may include Edgar Allan Poe’s “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone, Jamyang Norbu’s The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes, Neil Gaiman’s “A Study in Emerald,” and Michael Chabon’s “The Final Solution.” Transmedia works to include the BBC’s Sherlock and CBS’s Elementary and a smattering of Holmes on film starting with the legendary Basil Rathbone.  

English Major Requirements
  • Sector 5 19th Century (AE19)
  • Sector 6 20th & 21st Centuries (AE20)
English Concentration Attributes
  • 20th-21st Century Concentration (AE21)
  • Theory & Cultural Studies Concentration (AETC)
College Attributes
Additional Attributes