221Blog:Questioning The Canon

Friday, February 24, 2006

A Study in Scarlet-Part 1/Chapter 1

First published in Nov. 1887 as the main part of Beeton’s Christmas Annual. First book edition by Ward, Lock & Co. in July 1888 with illustrations by Charles Doyle, father of ACD. The second edition (1889) was illustrated by George Hutchinson. – The first American edition published by J. B. Lippincott Co. in 1890.

The first of the Holmes Novels

Sherlock Holmes was introduced in A Study in Scarlet (1887), followed by A Sign of Four in 1890, but didn't really take hold of the public's imagination until Strand magazine, newly founded in 1890, published a series of short stories called "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes." From that point on the public couldn't get enough of Holmes and his always reliable confidant, John H. Watson, a retired military doctor.

It is the first story in the Canon, and we treasure it for its account of the first meeting of our beloved heroes Holmes and Watson. Yet despite its honored position as Holmes's debut, I wonder how many of us would have established our deep and longstanding passion for the adventures of Sherlock Holmes based only upon this single tale. It seems to me that the first Holmes story is actually more enjoyable when it is read over again after experiencing the full extent of Holmes's adventures and the full range of his and Watson's characters. Then indeed do we cherish the moment when it all began, long ago in the chemical laboratory at St. Bartholomew's Hospital.

Chapter 1

1. Where, and in what year, did Watson take his medical degree?

2. Can you summarize Watson’s military experiences? Include the circumstances of his wound.
a. What is a Jezail bullet?
The Jezail is an Afghan matchlock or flintlock musket (an un-rifled long gun) fired from a forked rest. The Jezail is most famous, at least in Western literature, as the weapon which wounded Dr. John Watson - the fictional biographer of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes - in the Battle of Maiwand during his military service in Afghanistan.

3.Who saved Watson’s life?

4. Where did the Jezail bullet wound Watson? Did Watson mentioned his left or right shoulder?

5. Describe Watson’s recovery and complication?

6. What was his income?
7. Who was the man that changed Watson’s fortunes, and where did they meet?

8. What coincidence did young Stamford relate to the Doctor?

9. How did Stamford describe Holmes to the Doctor?

10. What would Holmes do with vegetable alkaloids according to Stamford?

11. What strange tests was Holmes doing in the dissecting-rooms?

13. What did Sherlock say to Watson when they met?
14. What test did Holmes say he had just perfected? What was its use?

15. How does Holmes describe himself and his habits to Watson?

16. How does Watson describe himself to Holmes?

17. What does Watson think Holmes does to make an income?


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