"The Adventure of
Charles Augustus
Sherlock Holmes
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Starting Questions
How is the story structured? (Beginning, middle
and end? Binaries?)
How are the three male characters presented?
How has the story been read? (chap 2: 196-97)
Are there other ways of reading it?
Structure – revelation vs. concealment
Watson’s narrative frame:
a) With difficult; b) the principal person beyond the reach of
human law
b) Concealment (date and fact)
 Plot – revelation with justification; Watson a companion
but not involved in scheming.
 I. Beginning:
characterization of Milverton;
encounter, where reasoning and violence are no use.
II. Action and building of suspense
scheme of Holmes carried out
the day of action
Justification: Male Protagonists
and Binary Opposition
Milverton: cunning as the Evil one, sly like a
serpent, an
insincerity of the fixed smile and by the hard
glitter of those restless and penetrating eyes (p.
374“twinkle” in his eyes
“how could one compare the ruffian, who
in hot blood bludgeons his mate, with this
man, who methodically and at his leisure
tortures the soul and wrings the nerves in
order to add to his already swollen moneybags?”
Structure (2) – crime vs. justification
Justification: the depiction of
Plot (2)
Twists: the cat, the unlocked door, some sudden noise
Climax: Revelation and action
Plot (3)
Holmes erasing all the evidence
the visit of the policeman Mr. Lestrade
Revelation in Concealment (1): like Watson
Revelation in Concealment (2): visit of the portrait.
The Absent Women – the Textual Unsaid
Other Readings??? (chap 2: 197)
1) Holmes as an English gentleman – “a figure whose
remodelling as the apotheosis of civilized humanity in the
late nineteenth century was central to the cultural
hegemony of Englishness. ”
2) Anxiety over London as a site of labor class crimes 
the enigmatic vs. a total closure
3) discursive formation of power (Thompson qtd chap 2:
198) “Sherlock Holmes’ knowledge, his ability to unravel
the most intractable puzzles, gives him the power to
penetrate the mysteries of London. The same form of
knowledge that ultimately produced the Empire also
produced the figure of the empirical detective hero,
Sherlock Holmes” (1993: 76)
Homles and Empire e.g.
Grimesby Roylott (“The Adventure of the Speckled Band”)
and Leon Sterndale (“The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot”)
are characters who return home to Britain after
venturing into India or West Africa as doctors. Both show
dramatic changes (417-18).
The “passion for Indian animals” (Doyle 2003, 310) that
Grimesby Roylott had developed in Calcutta facilitated his
crimes; Julia’s death was linked to a snake that he had
passed through a ventilator, knowing its poisonous venom
would be lethal (418).
The Colonies vs. Empire: solution
The Holmes stories seem to offer reassurance to the
Victorian society for which they were written that the
British can, in fact, maintain control over their colonies in
faraway places, and, despite the troubles that may
confront them on their own shores, maintain law and
order at home.. (426)
Other Readings???
Adventure together,
“I will take a cab straight to the police-station and give you
away, unless you let me share this adventure with you.”
Experiencing “sporting interest of the adventure”
He seized my hand in the darkness and led me swiftly
past banks of shrubs which brushed against our faces.
Holmes had remarkable powers, carefully cultivated, of
seeing in the dark. Still holding my hand in one of his, he
opened a door, and I was vaguely conscious that we had
entered a large room in which a cigar had been smoked
not long before. He felt his way among the furniture,
opened another door, and closed it behind us.
Raheja, Lauren. “Anxieties of Empire in Doyle’s Tales of
Sherlock Holmes.” Nature, Society, and Thought, vol. 19, no. 4