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You know the name. Sherlock Holmes is a pop culture icon, someone who everyone knows even if they haven’t read his books, seen his movies, or watched his numerous tv shows. He’s a focal point of British history and literature, having influenced dozens of fictional and even real detectives throughout his literary life. On this day (Oct. 14th), one of the seminal Holmes collections was published, entitled The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of twelve short stories.
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First featured in The Strand magazine, the stories were very popular and boosted the subscriptions to the magazine, allowing Sherlock Holme’s author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to demand increased payment with each story published. Sidney Paget illustrated all twelve of the stories that came to be featured in the Adventures collection, in time coming to best known for his artwork accompanying the series. The collection includes numerous famous Sherlock Holmes tales, such as A Case of Identity, The Red-Headed League, The Adventure with the Speckled Band, and A Scandal in Bohemia. The last one was especially notable for featuring the character of Irene Adler, who although only made on appearance in the Holmes canon nevertheless became a feature of numerous adaptations, such as the BBC show Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
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The stories were well received upon their serialization, with critics describing them holding a ‘unique power’ and some even saying Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was the best short story writer since Edgar Allen Poe. The stories themselves had been adapted frequently in other media, with many of the stories being featured in the Granda Television adaptation of the Holmes canon, which ran from 1984 to 1995. They were also adapted on the BBC Radio 4 program, which ran from 1990 to 1991. Elements, such as the previously noted Irene Adler, have of course being taken out and used as an overall influenced over numerous Holmes adaptations as well without specifically adapting a single story.
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Happy birthday to this seminal collection of Sherlock Holmes tales! Crack open your volume if you own one and give these stories another read together. What’s your favorite short story featured here? Tell us in the comments!
Featured Image Via BBC