Discovering Sherlock Holmes

When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first con­ceived of Sher­lock Holmes in 1887, he prob­a­bly did­n’t antic­i­pate that the “con­sult­ing detec­tive” would become the world’s favorite fic­tion­al inves­tiga­tive logi­cian and even­tu­al­ly infil­trate every­thing from aca­d­e­m­ic cur­ric­u­la to Hol­ly­wood. Just last year, the BBC pro­duced a fan­tas­tic three-part mod­ern­iza­tion of the clas­sic, which accord­ing to many crit­ics eclipsed Guy Ritchie’s effects-dri­ven block­buster of the same name, released sev­er­al months ear­li­er.

So mas­sive and wide-reach­ing is the cult of Holmes that Stan­ford ded­i­cat­ed an entire project to the study of Sher­lock Holmes. Dis­cov­er­ing Sher­lock Holmes fea­tures 12 of the great­est sto­ries of the Sher­lock Holmes canon from The Strand Mag­a­zine, where Sher­lock first made his appear­ance, down­load­able as free anno­tat­ed, illus­trat­ed PDF’s. A his­tor­i­cal essay on Holmes’ epoch con­tex­tu­al­izes the sto­ries and fea­tures rare vin­tage art­work by Sid­ney Paget, the orig­i­nal Sher­lock illus­tra­tor.

Note: You can also find The Adven­tures of Sher­lock Holmes in Open Cul­ture’s col­lec­tions of Free Audio Books and Free eBooks. Plus, the Free Movies col­lec­tion hous­es three vin­tage Sher­lock Holmes films — Dressed to Kill (1941), Sher­lock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943) and Ter­ror by Night (1946).

Maria Popo­va is the founder and edi­tor in chief of Brain Pick­ings, a curat­ed inven­to­ry of cross-dis­ci­pli­nary inter­est­ing­ness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Mag­a­zine and Desig­nOb­serv­er, and spends a great deal of time on Twit­ter.

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