Today’s dreck, tomorrow’s classics

June 9, 2008

Today, I was discussing a number of canonical works of British literature that me and a friend are going to be tested on tomorrow. We discussed The Turn of the Screw, Tess of the D’Urbevilles, Great Expectations, Alice in Wonderland, Wuthering Heights, Lord Jim, Silas Marner, and Sherlock Holmes.

The thing that tickled me, was when we got to discussing the great sleuth. I’m a huge Sherlock Holmes fan myself, and did one of my most recent papers on character functions within the Holmes narratives. However, while I was doing research, it became quite clear that there aren’t many papers on Conan Doyle’s most popular creation. I found way more articles on Yekl (you ask who, I say exactly).

The truth is, there isn’t that much to say about the Holmes stories. They’re well-written and entertaining, but they don’t have much literary value. Now, I’m sure there are quite a few novels, writers, or even whole genres that are discredited by ‘serious’ readers, because they’re well-written and entertaining, but nothing more.

Food for thought.

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