Literary experts say Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote “crass racist descriptions” in his novels about Sherlock Holmes. Arthur Conan Doyle, who created Sherlock Holmes, was born in Picardy Place in 1859 with a statue being erected by the Federation of Master Builders to mark its 50th anniversary in 1991.
Arthur Conan Doyle, who created Sherlock Holmes, was born in Picardy Place in 1859 with a statue being erected by the Federation of Master Builders to mark its 50th anniversary in 1991.
The statue is located at Leith Walk in Edinburgh, opposite the house where Conan Doyle was born.
In one of Doyle’s novels, The Adventure of the Three Gables, one of 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories published in 1926, he writes about a moment in which Holmes stares at the “hideous mouth” of a “huge negro” and tells the “savage”: “I don’t like the smell of you.”
Meanwhile, in The Sign of the Four, the second novel featuring Sherlock Holmes published in 1890, Doyle describes the aborigines of the Andaman Islands off the coast of India as “naturally hideous, having large, misshapen heads”.
Sherlock Holmes has been denounced as racist.
Recreation of Sherlock Holmes in 1893 version of Strand magazine.
Dr Merrick Burrow, lead professor of English at the University of Huddersfield told The Times of Scotland: “Especially in the early Sherlock Holmes stories, there are crass racist descriptions.
“There is no question that the language used to describe people of various ethnicities is inflammatory, offensive and insensitive by any contemporary standards.
“The stories are almost all narrated by Dr Watson and there is a racist framework of descriptions of immigrants in negative terms.”
Dr Burrow claimed the author should be judged by Victorian standards stressing that Doyle’s “crass characterisations were fairly typical of his time”.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
She added: “There is a massive difference between someone who was a slave trader or waged military campaigns and someone who wrote books.”
Jonathan McCafferty, president of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, admitted there was “lamentable instances of language” in the novels.
However, he stressed the author campaigned for years to secure a pardon for an ethnic minority solicitor convicted of maiming a pony.
Doyle claimed the solicitor, known as George Edalji suffered a miscarriage of justice because of police officers who were being racist.
Man, 24, arrested over toppling of Edward Colston statue [REVEAL]
‘Church is owner of the enslaved!’ Brutal GMB clash as vicar confronts [REVEAL]
F1 condemn Bernie Ecclestone for bizarre racism comments [REVEAL]
Statue of Sherlock Holmes in Edinburgh.
It comes in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests have taken place around the world following the death of George Floyd in the United States.
The movement has sparked a debate over people with links to the slave trade and how memorials should be reviewed in the future.
Statues of Edward Colston in Bristol and Christopher Columbus in the US are among those to have been taken down.
It also comes shortly after First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford said he would review all statues, street and building names in the country to address the country’s connections with the slave trade.
Speaking today, he said the review was “not about rewriting the past” but “reflecting it with the justice it deserves”.