Archive | December, 2011


The Double Leap

The last blogging day of the year means time to make some concluding remarks on The Hound of the Baskervilles, but I find I have nothing more to say about the book at this time, save: If it piques your interest at all, then read it (or listen to it). Read it because it’s clever, […]


The End of the Beginning

There’s no end in sight for what Arabs have embarked on this year but that doesn’t make it any less thrilling, and the Carnegie Middle East Center‘s annual greeting card nicely captures the energy and spirit of 2011 and the great hopes for 2012. I recently interviewed the Libyan professor, columnist and speaker Mansour El-Kikhia […]


If the Spirit Moves You

It is commonly assumed that authors’ characters are, in one way or another, reflections of themselves, but Arthur Conan Doyle’s own worldview diverged strikingly from that held by his most beloved creation. In the report he makes to Holmes after arriving at Baskerville Hall, Dr. Watson imagines what type of people once inhabited the area, […]


Male ‘BFF’ Turn-of-the-Century Style

As A.O. Scott points out in his (tepid) review of Hollywood’s latest Sherlock Holmes adaptation, “Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective, with his violin, his deerstalker and his steel-trap mind, has been one of the most resilient and adaptable figures in Anglophone popular culture.” The resilient appeal of Conan Doyle’s original stories and the detective himself, however, […]


Julian Barnes on Arthur Conan Doyle

From an interview with AbeBooks: Why did the story of George Edjali and his court case fascinate you and end up as the focal point of Arthur and George? Well, it seemed a) a very unusual story (the animal mutilation, the miscarriage of justice, the racial aspect); and b) something that could still happen today, […]


Arthur & George

Julian Barnes’s 2005 historical novel Arthur & George introduces Arthur Conan Doyle as a real life detective after the example of his own creation. Conan Doyle and George Edalji (prounced Ay-dl-ji), a Birmingham solicitor, might easily never have met, but Conan Doyle’s intercession in Edalji’s case exonerated him and freed him from prison, exposing the […]


Fresh Pages From History

From my latest piece for MainGate, the alumni magazine of the American University of Beirut: When Charles Raad (BA ’55) decided to gift an old medical textbook from his grandfather to AUB, their shared alma mater, he yielded up a material link to the institution’s earliest days when Arabic was the primary language of instruction. […]


Author’s Picks

With only three weeks of 2011 remaining, it’s the season of ‘best’ lists. In that spirit, the twelve stories linked below are those Arthur Conan Doyle himself selected as his favorites in 1927 from the canon of 56 short stories (not to mention the four novels). 12. “The Reigate Puzzle” 11. “The Musgrave Ritual” 10. […]