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Thursday, January 07, 2010
My wife and I went to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie. I'd give it 3 out of 4 stars. It's very entertaining, reasonably faithful to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work, and well-made. The only qualm I have with the film after some thought is that the main plot is a bit of a logical stretch and Holmes isn't quite as deductively brilliant as one would expect (I figured out some of the plot reveals before he did, which should not happen). The main takeaway I had from the movie is the intense desire to read through my copy of the whole Holmes set. Here is a good review of the movie (includes a couple other review links at the bottom which are worth noting).

Dalrymple also chimed in this past week on the topic of Sherlock Holmes after a visit to India, where the crime novels are particularly popular.
Conan Doyle tells of how old men come up to him to tell him that they remembered with fondness reading the Sherlock Holmes stories in their childhood, though in fact they could not have done so because the stories had not yet been written when they were children. It is as if Conan Doyle had managed to express something for the first time that lay hidden deep in the human psyche. It is not only that once you have read Sherlock Holmes you never forget him; it goes far deeper than that; it is that you felt there was never a time when you had not read him.

The popularity of the Sherlock Holmes canon is not of a superficial kind, like that of the latest pulp-fiction bestseller, but — if I may so put it — of a deep and abiding kind. For Sherlock Holmes attracts not only the casual reader, those of average intelligence or ability, but the deep student and the brilliantly gifted.
Conan Doyle’s fundamental humanity and decency, as evident in his life as in his work, shine through the [Sherlockian] canon. This in itself is a matter of interest, if it is accepted — as I think it should be — that the canon is itself a manifestation of literary genius. We have been so persuaded that genius and disgraceful conduct go together that we find it difficult to believe that an affable man such as Conan Doyle can be possessed both of goodness and of superior talent; indeed, appalling conduct is sometimes itself taken as evidence of the greatest talent. If geniuses are badly behaved, ought that not to mean that the badly behaved are geniuses?
Conan Doyle no less than Holmes himself was an enemy of injustice, and his instinct for when it had been committed was strong. The unusual generosity of Conan Doyle’s feelings is evident in the story “The Yellow Face,” written at a time when racial prejudice, if not quite universal, was at least very strong indeed. The story revolves around the fact that an Englishwoman has had a child in Atlanta, Ga., by a black husband, an excellent man, who died in the great fire there. Returning to England, she falls in love with and marries a man called Grant Munro, from whom she desperately tries to conceal the evidence of her “shame,” the child she had by her first husband. When Grant Munro discovers the mixed-race child, however, he does not react as his wife expects: “It was a long ten minutes before Grant Munro broke the silence, and when his answer came it was one of which I [Dr. Watson] love to think. He lifted the little child, kissed her, and then, still carrying her, he held his other hand out to his wife. . . . ‘I am not a very good man, Effie, but I think that I am a better one than you have given me credit for being.’”
No film, however good or bad, can add to or diminish the luster of Conan Doyle’s inspired creation. There is no doubt that this great and good man added enormously to the pleasure and instruction of the human race. Of how many of us can this be said?


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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »