Sherlock Holmes brilliance

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Wednesday 9 November 2011

On July 7, 1930, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died at age 71 in Crowborough, Sussex, England. Doyle began his career as a physician after attending the University of Edinburgh, where he had a teacher who astounded students with his powers of deductive reasoning. He gradually turned to writing and in 1887 introduced the world to Sherlock Holmes in "A Study in Scarlet." Additional stories about Holmes soon began appearing to an eager readership in "Strand" Magazine. After a time, Doyle tired of writing about Holmes, killing him off in an 1893 story. A public outcry ensued, forcing Doyle to ingeniously bring the famous detective back in a series of stories a year later. More than any fictional character in history, Holmes has been viewed as a real person. He has developed an almost cult-like following, including thousands of members of the "Baker Street Irregulars" and "The Sherlock Holmes Society." Because of the detective's legendary ability to turn a phrase (referred to as "Sherlocution" by his fans), there are many memorable quotations in the Holmes stories. Below are some favourite Sherlocutions:

"My name is Sherlock Holmes.
It is my business to know what other people don't know."
From "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle"

"Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself,
but talent instantly recognizes genius."
From "The Valley of Fear"

"Depend upon it, there is nothing so unnatural as the commonplace."
From "A Case of Identity"

"It has long been an axiom of mine that
the little things are infinitely the most important."
From "A Case of Identity"

"The lowest and vilest alleys of London do not present a more dreadful
record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside."
From "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches"

"How often have I said to you that
when you have eliminated the impossible,
whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”
From "The Sign of the Four"

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.
Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories,
instead of theories to suit facts."
From "A Scandal in Bohemia"

"My dear Watson, you as a medical man are continually gaining lights
as to the tendencies of a child by the study of the parents.
Don't you see that the converse is equally valid?
I have frequently gained my first real insight
into the character of parents by studying their children."
From "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches"

via Dr Mardy's newsletter


KIM said...

Nicely done! I took a course on Sherlock Holmes at university and am now one of the (very few) members of the Singular Society for Indoor Revolver Practice. However, I must point out that it's not so much "the detective's legendary ability to turn a phrase" but the author's. Doyle was quite distressed that his character continually took credit due to him, which was one of the reasons he killed him off. Also, interestingly, the popular "elementary, my dear Watson" does not actually appear within the Holmesian canon -- so glad you didn't list it!! Your list is great!!

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