damned_colonial: The lamp outside 221B Baker St (221b)
[personal profile] damned_colonial
(How much am I loving these discussion threads? THIS MUCH! If you have any more ideas for interesting discussion topics, post them in the discussion prompt gathering thread.)

This is a spin-off discussion that came up in comments on the H/W pairing as type or trope post from a week or so back. You can see the comment thread here.

[personal profile] ingridmatthews wrote:

Book!Canon Watson admits that he is of 'a Bohemian mind', considering himself an writer/artist first, doctor/soldier/husband second. His life with Holmes is considered an exercise in classic Bohemianism, at least to Watson. His attachment to Holmes is partly due to his rejection of rigid male roles, making him queerly delicious.


To be a classic Victorian Bohemian is to place oneself outside of conventions that are supposed to control your life from the moment of waking to what you wear to sleep. For him to self-identify as one is a big thing, at least from my understanding of the movement, which stresses independent thought, rejection of social mores and stress on intellectual arts over appearances (which were *everything* to a Victorian).

Holmes is described as a perfect Bohemian because his use of his vast intellect is his art. (Being a big old drug addict, social disaster and slob probably added to the effect. ;) Watson may be more concerned than Holmes about his standing in society, but like wrabbit said above, there is a little something about him that simply doesn't fit into the Victorian puzzle.

What do we know about bohemianism in the late 19th century? Can anyone recommend things to read on the subject? (I'll mention Cook's "London and the Subculture of Homosexuality", which has a couple of chapters on on Wilde, decadence, aestheticism, bohemianism, Paris, etc.)

To what extent did Holmes and/or Watson actually fit the bohemian stereotype? Does their bohemianism signal queerness? Is that something that readers of the time would have picked up on (think of the publicity around the Wilde trials)? Is Holmes's bohemianism/outsiderness important to his role as detective? And what on earth does Mrs Hudson think?



Queering Holmes

July 2010

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