Sherlock Holmes: The World's First Superhero

Wed 09/03/16 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Inaugural Lecture delivered by Professor Neil McCaw

More than a century after first emerging into the fogbound, gas lit streets of Victorian London, ‘Sherlock Holmes’ is still universally recognisable – he has been reworked and adapted more than any other fictional character. And each nation, culture, and historical era has appropriated Holmes in its own particular ways - which other fictional character could be used as part of Allied anti-Nazi propaganda films during World War II whilst being simultaneously celebrated by Hitler and his acolytes at Berchtesgaden?

And who else but Holmes could find themselves the subject of both a much-loved period adaptation produced within the Cold War Soviet Union as well as a cartoon for young children in Japan? Whatever the country, whenever the time, Sherlock Holmes maintains an on-going and unwavering presence within most national cultures. This paper will explore the nature and range of various international reworkings of the legend of Sherlock Holmes and will consider quite why he remains such a high-profile figure within global popular culture.