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      ‘It is Introspective, and I Want to Introspect’: Detection, Isolation, and Neurotypicality in Crime Fiction, c. 1891–1940

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          Abstract

          A variety of psychoanalytic readings of late-Victorian and early-twentieth century crime fiction often place the detective at the centre of their analysis, depicting them as a conduit through which readings of other aspects of the genre can be articulated. Samantha Walton, for example, explores the idea that the ‘the detective [acts as the] diagnostician of the self’, and goes on to argue that ‘[t]he central place of psychological discourses in the golden age novel both incites and responds to specific cultural anxieties about selfhood’ ( 2015: 275). Consequently, however, the psychological effects of performing the role of ‘detective’ remain under-examined. Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous Sherlock Holmes performs his detection under constant scrutiny from those around him who fail to understand his mental processes. In the early twentieth century, Dorothy L. Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey struggles to reconcile the tension between his position as ‘aristocrat’ and ‘detective’, and also has difficulty with disassociating his activities as a detective with his experiences in the First World War. Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot’s ‘othered’ position as of a different nationality to most other characters psychologically isolates him, whilst his compunction for the domestic does not mesh with his activities as an externally-othered figure. This article performs a reading of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey, and Christie’s Hercule Poirot and offers a tentative exploration of how these classic ‘detectives’ are often physically, socially, narratively and psychologically isolated by performing their role.

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          Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Fiction, Part 4

           Å Jarvis (2009)
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            The Autistic Detective: Sherlock Holmes and his Legacy

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              Dorothy L. Sayers, the Great War, and Shell Shock

               M. Lott (2013)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                06 September 2019
                2019
                : 5
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]University Centre Shrewsbury, University of Chester, GB
                Article
                10.16995/olh.461
                Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Categories
                Literature, law and psychoanalysis

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