Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

3 Real People Who Were the Inspiration Behind Sherlock Holmes

3 Real People Who Were the Inspiration Behind Sherlock Holmes

Throughout the 125 years since the character of Sherlock Holmes first appeared, there have been countless fictional representations of the consulting detective, but there have also been a handful of "real" Sherlocks, as well. Here are three of the originals.
Joseph Bell (1837 – 1911): Holmes is always at his coolest when he’s systematically breaking down the background of an individual by close inspection of subtle details. Apparently, Dr. Joseph Bell used that same process as a dramatic demonstration of the powers of observation and reason. Arthur Conan Doyle was a student of Bell’s while at medical school and served as his clerk for a time.  Bell occasionally assisted the police in the capacity of a forensic doctor, not a consulting detective.
Bell’s “strong point was diagnosis, of not only disease, but of occupation and character.” In a famous example, also accounted in Doyle’s autobiography, a man stepped forward to Bell without giving any information about himself. 
A famous incident Conan Doyle wrote in his autobiography: 
After a good eying over, Bell gave these 5 conclusions about the man he’d never met before:
Well, my man,  a) you’ve served in the army… b) Not long discharged…              c) A Highland regiment… d) A non-com officer…  e) Stationed at Barbados…
Bell was correct on all points.  He explained how he did it as follows here:, 
Henry Littlejohn (1826 – 1914):  Littlejohn was also a doctor, but his relationship with the police was more official than that of Joseph Bell. For almost 50 years Littlejohn served as Surgeon of Police and Medical Officer of Health of Edinburgh. Part of this job was a public health position (a relatively new idea at the time), but the other part was to serve as a consultant to the police when they needed medical expertise. 
 In 1893, the Ardlamont murder trial was taking place. Alfred John Monson was accused of shooting his twenty year old student, Cecil Hambrough, during a hunting trip. The defense claimed that Hambrough had “accidentally” shot himself in the head.  
According to the Edinburgh News, Littlejohn testified that: 
  • the position of the wound, 
  • the scorch marks from the bullet, 
  • the damage to the victim’s skull, and 
  • even the smell of the victim indicated the contrary, 
..... that this was murder.

The building of a character. William Gillette (1853 – 1937): He was just one of the many hundreds of actors who played Holmes. What makes Gillette special is that he was among the first. He was the first to wear Holmes's signature deerstalker hat, the first to replace Holmes's straight pipe with a curved one, and the first (while helping Conan Doyle to write the first official Sherlock Holmes stage play) to pen the line, “elementary, my dear fellow,” which would eventually be turned by later writers into, "elementary, my dear Watson." Gillette had his own Homes-like qualities. He was an inventor, earning patents for a variety of items including a timestamp device and a system for making more realistic horse-hoof sound effects on stage. 

that's it. From It's not rocket science to 'Marilyn Monroe reading’

 From 'It's not rocket science' to 'Marilyn Monroe reading’

A) used to say that you do not think that something is very difficult to do or to understand:

  Drugs equals crime. It doesn't take      a rocket scientist to figure that one out.
B)  Implies that there is something shoking with the fact that M. M. is reading

The book in her hand is Ulysses by James Joyce. Many who see the Ulysses picture seem to ask — was she actually reading it? 

Marilyn Monroe, Long Island, N.Y., 1955.There is, within Monroe’s image, a deeply rooted assumption that she was an idiot, a vulnerable and kind and loving and terribly sweet idiot, but an idiot nonetheless. That is the assumption in which ‘Marilyn Monroe reading’ is entangled. 
The power of the phrase Marilyn Monroe reading’ lies in its application to Monroe and in our assumption that she wouldn’t know how.

Would that everyone searching that phrase did so in the belief that her passion for the printed word rivaled their own.
Imagine legions of learners loving her for her brain, with a home printed pin ups depicting her with book in hand.
 I see a high school dropout caught in the act of educating herself. 
The 430 Books in Marilyn Monroe’s Library: How Many Have You Read?

Thanks MM. And thank you for adding to the list.
Some readers comments:
1) I think Marilyn probably read a good number of the books she owned, in likelihood, given how often she was seen to be reading, to be photographed reading, to have a book in her hands in downtime. She wasn’t doing it for her image – she was quite intelligent from what I’ve read of her. I love the photographs of her reading.
2) I was a huge Marilyn fan when I was a teen. I remember trying to read Anna Karenina then because she was such a fan of it (but I did not get far at age 13:) She wanted to play that role, but was basically told it was over her head. Which was wrong, because she was also a great dramatic actress, though we remember her more for her comedies.
3) Dame Edith Stitwell visited N York. They got on well unexpectedly. These new and unlikely friends were left alone and began talking of Rudolf Steiner, whose personal history, “The Course of My Life,” Marilyn was reading at the time. Dame Edith was to remark later on Marilyn’s ‘extreme intelligence.’”
in: “Norma Jean: the Life of Marilyn Monroe,” by Fred Lawrence Guiles, McGraw-Hill Book Company: New York, 1969 (pgs. 331-332)

Marilyn Monroe’s Reading Challenge
marilyn reading