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The Steampunk Detective: Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock.

Artt, Sarah



This paper will examine the recent refashioning of Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous creation as steampunk action hero in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes(2009) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), and alternatively as obssessive compulsive oddity in the Mark Gatiss-Steven Moffat authored BBC series Sherlock (2011-). The emergence of these adaptation-remake hybrids indicate a particularly contemporary fascination with the figure of Sherlock Holmes and the figure's ability to co-exist in two remarkably different versions. In Ritchie's films Holmes and his world are explicitly configured as a neo-Victorian/steampunk one. In the Sherlock series, Holmes is presented as both contemporary and of the moment, and yet he is seen as out of place, a kind of throwback to an earlier time but with technology playing a key role in re-creating and re-reading contemporary versions of the Victorian text via Dr Watson's blog and the presence of Sherlock on Twitter. This fascination with technology creates a strong link with Ritchie's steampunk vision of Holmes. If we agree that “after all, neo-Victorian texts are, in the main, processes of writing that act out the results of reading the Victorians and their literary productions,” (Llewellyn 168: 2008) then both recent iterations of Sherlock are ripe for examination as 'folding' texts (à la Doctor Who) that encompass, adapt and remake various versions of Sherlock Holmes but maintain an engagement with neo-Victorian sensibilities and themes.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name Neo-Victorian Networks: Epistemologies, Aesthetics and Ethics
Start Date Jun 1, 2012
End Date Jun 1, 2012
Publication Date 2012-06
Deposit Date Aug 15, 2013
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords Sherlock Holmes: Steampunk; Arthur Conan Doyle; neo-Victorian;
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