|Reviews for On the Psychology of Sherlock Holmes|
| swordwhale chapter 2 . 4/5/2013
This is an idea that needs to go even farther! Love it!
While writers like Conan Doyle didn't have the psychological lingo of today (stuff that hadn't been "invented yet", like bipolar disorder), he lived in a world which has always had mental wiring variations...since the Dawn of Time. He might not have understood autism or asbergers or bipolar etc, but he must have been nearly as fine an observer as Holmes himself. He would have written from instinctive knowledge, from observation of people around him. It is now that we can read the clues and psychoanalyze our hero. (I'm thinking Holmes must have been somewhere on the autism spectrum). (possibly OCD as well).
Has anyone investigated how much Batman owes to Sherlock Holmes? I mean, same archetype...
| Sherlocked chapter 1 . 4/5/2013
I read the books back in high school (early 1970s) and have revisited this favorite of my youth several times, most recently in the excellent BBC production with "Smauglock and Bilbo".
This is the iconic character which spawned a genre. The Archetype of Archetypes. I've only scratched the surface of writers psychoanalyzing him online, and this was one of the first that came up.
Neatly done. Nice insights. Need more.
Oh, wait... there is more!
Thanks for keeping it "non-textbook", some of the other articles I scanned were papers written for PhDs or something. I'm sure one could write volumes on Holmes and Watson.
| BakerStreetIsLastRefugeOfHope chapter 2 . 2/5/2012
| BakerStreetIsLastRefugeOfHope chapter 1 . 2/5/2012
Very interesting thoughts.
| Isis the Sphinx chapter 2 . 1/29/2010
Who boy. Did you write a paper on this, because WOW.
I took a psych class in high school, and got pretty much everything here. I liked your dissection of Holmes, and I agreed with a lot of it.
| MamzelleCombeferre chapter 1 . 9/29/2009
| Mam'zelleCombeferre chapter 1 . 7/6/2009
Very interesting, very very interesting. *strokes non exsistent beard seeing as I am female* I like your idea of Holmes being bipolar. As for Holmes's attractiveness? I have always found that I am more attracted to Watson than Holmes. I guess this is because I can relate to Watson more because he is more human. Watson is like luke warm water whereas Holmes is an extreme. He is either extremely giddy or very low. And as for the excellant question you raised, I think we all find Holmes so attractive because he never changes. No matter what was or is going on, Holmes is always Holmes. The methodical and sometimes sarcastic detective we have all come to love. I have just recently been introduced to the master and I fell in love immediatly. So now that I have bored you to death, I will leave you with this. Well done and keep writing.
| friendly cuttlefish chapter 2 . 6/6/2006
This was certainly interesting to read. It gave me some things to think about. I watched the Hound of the Baskervilles starring Richard Roxburgh or whatever his name is, and I started reading the cannon to find out what he was injecting himself with. i started with a scandal in Bohemia and was hooked straight away, (it was in a book called The Best of Sherlock Holmes). I didn't read a Study in Scarlett until later but I still really liked the Holmes character.
I think he says that he takes cocaine to deal with boredom in the second novel.
Holmes presents as this genius character with just enough insanity to make him seem quirky and appealing. Have you noticed how many popular fictional characters are like that?
Nice job :)
| Igiveup chapter 2 . 3/22/2006
| Lady Estelle chapter 1 . 1/6/2006
I know nothing about psychology, but the points presented here are excellent, especially about the four positive points. It's true that, as a reader, one tends to gloss over Holmes's negative points as minor faults. A believable, sympathetic character has to have faults, and it's even good to see that Holmes himself is not above error.
By the way, have you read "The Seven Percent Solution" by Nicholas Meyer? It's an excellent novel that creatively explains how Holmes got over his cocaine addiction (thanks to Sigmund Freud himself!), and briefly delves into his troubled past to explain why he became a detective. Anyway, great writing!
| Olive Hue chapter 2 . 11/14/2005
Wow, I really enjoyed this. There were a lot of insightful tidbits that I never really thought about before. Although I have thought about the possibility of Holmes being bipolar, or at least having depression problems, you presented the theory in an entirely new way. And about the question of Holmes being genuinely attractive, or just in our minds: it is true that if we meet a person who has good qualities, they start appearing more attractive. But I honestly think if I saw Holmes on the street and didn't know who the heck he was, I would find it hard to take my eyes off him. But that's just me; I like the tall, lanky type. :)
Anyway, I'm rambling. But this is an excellent little essay you have here. Also, I read your profile, and no I did NOT see the new Masterpiece Theater movie with Rupert Everett. His IS rather good-looking, but if it's as disappointing as 'Case of Evil', I'm not sure I would care to see it. That was total garbage.
| HoVis chapter 2 . 10/16/2005
Fascinating discussion. I just have a few (perhaps not exactly connected) points:
When Holmes *does* mention his family he says that "art in the blood is liable to take the strangest of forms" (or something along those lines). I think that Holmes could be described as an artist in his own line, and just like any artist he has his times when the creative well dries up, or when he becomes disillusioned with his own work. Take a writer, for example - you may find on this sit alone a thousand complaints of 'writer's block'. What is this? Is it when the imagination refuses to give? If so, then why does it do so? Art is one of the trickiest 'skills' to define. A mathematician can always figure out a problem - he never loses the ability to untangle the numbers before him, and he can always move onto further problmes when one is finished. But a painter, for example, may not be able to move straight onto another masterpiece when one is finished - not if the ideas refuse to come. So is Holmes a mathematician or an artist, or a misxture of the two? It is true that he is often a cold logician, but he also displays some of the arrogance, superiority, and lack of constancy of an artist.
And why is Holmes so intriguing to readers? Well, I'm not sure if it has anything to do with him being a "model" individual, for as you have said he is certainly not this. But perhaps is is because, for all his flaws, he is still ane ssentially good character? Readers become bored with a perfect goody-two-shoes (I'm sure you've noted the hatred of Mary-Sues on this website), and even a villain can make an interesting read - as long as there is some deeper level, some spark of goodness, within that character. Holmes is a character you can forever learn more about - he is the true mystery. I believe that is where the appeal lies. And, yes, the attractive man drawn up by the imagination helps a little too...
Well, there you go. Sorry if I have bored you with my naive opinions on this character! I 'met' Holmes only a few weeks ago, in "The Speckled Band", and I have yet to finish reading the "Complete Collection". He is a fascinating character...
Just as an aside, perhaps you could write a similar sort of reflection upon Holmes's relationship with Watson? Though Holmes claims it is through no from of sentimentality that he takes Watson with him on so many of his cases, I am certain there is more to it, especially in the earlier stories. If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it still make a noise? If Sherlock Holmes solves a mystery and no one knows it, does it matter? Is Watson the thing that "defines" Holmes?
Wonderful piece. Probably not permitted under guidelines... but who's telling? ;-)
| kiwi fruit or bird chapter 2 . 7/23/2005
Well... I have to agree with you that the physical appearances of Sherlock Holmes have always been vaguely described by ACD. However seemingly, Doyle would always emphasize on Holmes eyes. Being grey and oftenly full of energy when he's on a case. There's a saying that eyes are oftenly described as windows to our soul. In a sense to a certain extent, it indicates that Doyle is a man of spiritual sense.
And to relate back to Holmes, it's his piercing grey eyes and hawk-like nose which best describes the sleuth.
Though frankly to say, the hawk-like nose is sort of a flaw to the attractiveness of Holmes. I guess Doyle was sort of aware of it but he's intention was to make Sherlock Holmes as realistic as possible and by including the flaws, the character is made almost perfect.
Wow... It's the first time I had written a review this long...
Well, go ahead with the other essays, I really won't mind reading them. They're great stuff. Pretty strange for a teenager like me but I won't care a damm. Ahem...
| Dark Gotham chapter 2 . 7/16/2005
I've wondered the same thing about Sherlock's emotional dilemmas and you once again make some wonderful points. I was wondering a while a go (while reading some Holmes Fan Fiction.) The cocaine habit is all so a great point.
Why it is that fans find him so attractive? I think 'cause it's just so fun to imagine him. I mean come on. Thinking about him playing on his violin and etc ... I acutely like the fact that he never does settle down with someone. I mean being married isn't the only way to be happy.
Come on people!
I don't think he really hates females. I all ways thought it more of the fact. He just doesn't know what to do when around him. I've often found his social skills a bit interesting, Especially with some of the comments he'd make on the behalf of Watson's wife during future events.
That's why I often dislike Holmes/women stories period. They often just seem so out of character to me some how. But it's easy to be all ga ga crazy about Sherlock Holmes though. Especially while watching someone like Jeremy Brett or Basil Rathbone portray him. So I do understand and respect the Holmes/women stories. I just prefer him single.
That and his relationship with Watson is just so deep. So I mean really not every one needs a significant other looking over on their shoulder all the time. Acutely when I think about it. Watson does enough worrying for Holmes as it is ...
| HouAreYouToday chapter 2 . 7/15/2005
HH: A very nice followup to an originally good piece. I certainly agree with you in that we (fans that we are, haha) definitely idealize Holmes' appearance, even though we all know in Canon that Watson's supposed to be the good looking one. I wonder how much of idealizing Holmes to be striking (or attractive, if you will) has to do with that massive intellect of his; for example, I consider intelligence to be very attractive, and guys who are smart also just get a leg up on the attractiveness meter. So even if he's uglier than another guy (not so smart), I'm willing to.. overlook (for lack of a better term) that. Anyway, sorry if that didn't make sense, as I'm having a hard time putting it into works.
It's great to hear that you're interested in medicine. (I'm currently in med school, and when you first wrote "on the psychology of," I had just finished neuro, so we went over bipolar pretty extensively, since it's one of the "hot" diagnoses now, for some reason.
And if you couldn't tell from what I said earlier, I'm definitely curious as to what you would say about Holmes' intelligence and past.
Can't wait for the next update!