Dr Watson and Differing Nationalities

The Canon is filled with differing nationalities, nations, and international references; perhaps more so than any other collection in the detective fiction genre.

Many of the stories and books contain elements of international travel, foreign settings, citizens of many countries, and other story elements that hinge on a “global vision” as set down by the writer.

A catalogue of this fulsome “internationality” would be of interest. Anyone care to expand on this aspect of the scholarship? Anyone care to comment on Dr Watson’s reasons for introducing so much of the non-British world into the Canon?

2 Replies to “Dr Watson and Differing Nationalities”

  1. A nice observation and an excellent question. If it is not too immodest, I’ll mention an article of mine, “A dreadful record of sin,” in the Baker Street Journal in 2009, which explored what I called the social geography of crime in the Canon. That article includes a brief discussion of the role of foreign lands in a spectrum of crime that runs from the city (London) to the wilds of the American west, Australia, and India. That article also includes a number of references to other literature on the role of the colonial world in British literature in the 19th century, which should be part of the answer to your question.

    1. Thank you, “Hound.” I look forward to your article. It’ is always fascinating to hear of your many explorations into the deeper scholarship of the Canon.

      The thought occurs that the audience for the stories before and after the turn of the century in Britain must have had a fascination for “foreign parts” and writers may have catered to that fascination. How very different from our world today where the fascination seems to be withdrawing into a self-centric world view (FaceBook, gaming, local craft beer movement, locovores, etc.). Is this a contrasting of “literary social extroversion” in the late 19th Century to “literary social introversion” today.

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