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.
Neil McCaw graduated in History with English in 1993 and with a PhD in George Eliot and Victorian Historiography in 1996. He has been employed at the University of Winchester in its various guises since then, becoming Reader in Victorian Literature in 2009 and being awarded a Chair in 2014. During his time at Winchester he created the BA (Hons) Creative Writing and Creative & Professional Writing single honours programmes, serving as Programme Leader for 10 years, and has chaired both Faculty RKE and REF Unit of Assessment committees. Neil’s publications include books on George Eliot, Nineteenth-century Anglo-Irish writing, television crime adaptations, and literary-critical skills and technique, as well as various articles on chapters on related subjects. He has also written a couple of museum exhibitions on Sherlock Holmes that have toured internationally and been attended by large audiences.