The Eternal Detective

Some proponents of the demotic criticize Dalrymple for supposedly lacking the common touch, and he is certainly a strong critic of popular culture. But his essay in the new edition of National Review, in which he finds substance and meaning in the (extraordinarily popular) Sherlock Holmes stories, refutes this view:

The irresistibility of the Holmesian canon is likewise sometimes used to detract from or disparage the talent necessary to have created it. But if the elaboration of an entire fictional world, both realistic and fantastical, capable of being mined by intelligent people for scores of years for layers of meaning, giving innocent pleasure to millions of readers from the very first acquaintance, endlessly rereadable, and timelessly appealing in all quarters of the globe, is not a sign of literary genius, it is difficult to know what would count as such.

6 thoughts on “The Eternal Detective

  1. Clinton

    I don’t, Gustav, sorry. But I am curious also. Encounter Books is led by Roger Kimball, so it could be a collection of Dalrymple’s New Criterion pieces. But of course we are hoping it is all new material. Steve is somewhat plugged into Kimball and the New Criterion crowd (very nice folks, by the way), so I will see what he can find out.

  2. Steve

    Thanks for that link, Christine. Interesting that Jay’s excerpt was a footnote. I’ve never known Dalrymple to do footnotes.

  3. Steve

    I spoke to Jay last night at a New Criterion event, and he told me the new book is “stunning”. I should receive a review copy in the next few days, so I hope to have some comments on it before its official release in March.


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