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Why was Conan Doyle's "the hound of the Baskervilles" such a success in Victorian times as well as today?

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Introduction

Why was Conan Doyle's "the hound of the Baskervilles" such a success in Victorian times as well as today? Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles was such a success in Victorian times because it was a new and fresh type of writing. The intrigue into crime was starting to be studied in more depth as to find out what compelled people to commit offences. The way Conan Doyle wrote was also a new technique, such depth and description was portrayed in his novels. The wisdom and knowledge of logical beliefs that he used were held in high regards. Never had a book been so deep, so descriptive and well thought out until Conan Doyle's era. 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' was published in 1901 which was fortunate as a law had been passed in 1870 that there had to be a school built in every town/village. This then meant children had to attend school and only a select few before hand had had an education. So by the time Conan's novel had been released people had been prominently reading for 30 years which meant many people would be able to enjoy the literature which he produced. Sherlock Holmes has got to be one of his most famous characters, as he in himself was and still is today a different detective to most past and present. Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes was said to have been based on Dr Joseph Bell, one of the teachers at the medical school at which Doyle attended. Arthur Conan Doyle was 17 when he first met him and it was said that he left an 'indelible impression' upon the young student. This is how Conan Doyle described him much later: a 'thin wiry, dark man, with a high nosed acute face, penetrating eyes and angular shoulders' Dr Bell ' would sit in his receiving room with a face like a red Indian, and diagnose the people as they came in, before they even opened their mouths. ...read more.

Middle

In chapter 7 we meet the Stapletons who announce themselves as brother and sister. But Watson suspects otherwise and talks with the faithful housekeeper, Barrymore but he also looks like he's hiding something. There are very distinct descriptions of bogs on the moor which have claimed more than a few lives, but at the present is harbouring an escaped convict which adds to the unease of the surroundings. While again chatting to the Stapletons it becomes clear that Mr Stapleton is an expert in travelling around the moor, as he has a little cabin in the centre of a bog. While having this chat it also becomes apparent that that Miss Stapleton and Mr Stapleton are nothing alike which adds to their suspicious profile. Suspicion also falls on several other characters through out the novel such as the Barrymore's. The attraction between Sir Henry and Miss Stapleton is growing more obvious and Mr Stapleton seems to be growing jealous. Their attraction comes to a climax when Mr Stapleton catches them alone together, when he drags her away it is the last we hear of her for a couple of chapters. Barrymore's behaviour is becoming increasingly odd as at one point he is waving a light out on to the moor, but even more stranger a light shines back at him. Watson and Henry have it out with Barrymore and they find out that the person he was communicating with was Seldon, the escaped convict but not only that he also Mrs Barrymore's brother, this links with family secrets which every family has, past and present this shows us a side of the characters that we can relate with. It might not be as riveting as harbouring an escaped convict but it is something that we feel if everyone discerns will degrade the stature of the family. Barrymore though, is harbouring even more than he lets on, as he produces the initials of the person that Sir Charles was meeting with on the night of his death. ...read more.

Conclusion

It would therefore be presumptuous to try and define him, as many admirers may each have very different views about this legendary character. But you can compare Sherlock Holmes to many of the nowadays detectives as they have their personality shown through before we even get to know them, that is true for Holmes because the first we see of him is his sharp attitude and judgemental ways. For example, we can now see Dalziel and Pascoe on our screens. Dalziel being the Detective Superintendent is obviously the superior to his young sidekick Detective Inspector Pascoe, his mentor even. Dalziel is blunt-talking, politically incorrect and can be very intense at times. Compared to his subordinate Pascoe who is university educated and well mannered, they are complete opposites. A bit like Watson and Holmes, Holmes is more educated and has been in the trade longer, he also cuts straight to the point even if he does draw it out slightly. Watson is from a different era of education and treats people with a bit more respect, he is more compatible with other people, while Holmes is recluse from others. The reasons that we find detective stories so enthralling are that we enjoy playing the detective as well as watching the real one. It gives us a sense of power and a feeling that we are above others. It also gives us a chance to step into someone else's shoes. We find enrapturement for a while but then reality consumes us again and makes us realise that it will never happen, but it also gives us a small comfort that another offender has been caught although it is only a story, it gives us hope that people are out there helping others and protecting us from criminals. Those same beliefs have been carried from Victorian times to our time. And the fact that good almost always triumphs over evil. This makes Detective novels such as 'the Hound of the Baskervilles' so enjoyable to read. ...read more.

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