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The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Hound of the Baskervilles is a crime novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, originally serialised in the Strand Magazine in 1901 and 1902, which is set largely on Dartmoor 1889. At the time of researching the novel, Conan Doyle was a General Practitioner in Plymouth, and thus was able to explore the moor and accurately capture its mood and feel. In the novel, the detective Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson are called to investigate a curse which is alleged to be on the house of the Baskervilles.
Inspiration for the story
It is thought that Conan Doyle, who once lived in Birmingham, may have borrowed the name from Birmingham printer John Baskerville. The ideas of journalist and writer Bertram Fletcher Robinson were important in the inception of the book, although the extent of his contributions are unknown.
Conan Doyle chose to bring back Sherlock Holmes for the story after previously becoming tired of the character. The decision was probably prompted both by the need for a powerful protagonist and the commercial success of Sherlock Holmes, especially in America.
The story was first published in Strand as The Hound of the Baskervilles—Another Adventure of Sherlock Holmes in a series of monthly parts, from August 1901 to April 1902.
Role in popular culture
The Hound of the Baskervilles may be the most popular of all of the Sherlock Holmes stories. It has been filmed no fewer than 18 times, with the earliest adaptation on record being a 1914 German silent production. The most respected adaptations are those featuring Basil Rathbone (1939), Peter Cushing (1959), and Jeremy Brett (1988). There has also been a rock music adaptation by Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman.
In her Amelia Peabody novel The Curse of the Pharaohs, Elizabeth Peters named many of the minor characters after people featured in the Sherlock Holmes canon. The murder victim, an aristocratic archaeologist, is named Sir Henry Baskerville—"from the Norfolk Baskervilles, not the Devonshire branch of the family".
The main character in Umberto Eco's middle age detective story The Name of the Rose is named William of Baskervilles, and his trustful sidekick is named Adso. The first is most probably a reference to the novel by Conan Doyle, and the latter might refer to Dr Watson.
Vladimir Nabokov, a childhood Holmes enthusiast, sprinkled allusions through many of his novels. His widely celebrated book Pale Fire refers to Grimpen Mire and its marshy landscape, as well as referencing Stapleton's habit of butterfly collecting.
- "You know my methods, Watson. Apply them." (Sherlock Holmes)
- "They were the footprints of a gigantic hound!" (Dr. Mortimer)
- "You never tire of the moor. You cannot think the wonderful secrets which it contains. It is so vast, and so barren, and so mysterious." (Stapleton)
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