Tuesday, May 4, 2010


There are plenty of writers who disagree with any interpretation suggesting that Holmes and Watson were canonically homosexual.  Many of these arguments emphasis how male homosocial friendship (a.k.a. "bromance") can be deep and meaningful without being sexual--with Holmes and Watson being an archetypal example.

"The story of Holmes and Watson is one of developing closeness between two men. This has led to some interpretations of the stories as portraying a homosexual relationship. But these overlook the fact that closeness and love, in a non-sexual form, can demonstrably exist between two men. Homosexual inferences, in fact, say more about modern reticence and fear of openly displaying affection for another man than about the subtext of the Holmes-Watson relationship. It is obvious, throughout sixty stories, that Conan Doyle never intended to imply a homosexual relationship existing between the two friend, but was simply depicting a close male friendship based on values and modes of expression that are currently unfashionable." (Roden, Christopher, 2000, pg xxxiii)

"In The Sign of Four, Watson announces that he is engaged to marry Miss Morstan, and Holmes replies: "love is an emotional thing and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things. I should never marry myself, lest I bias my judgment."  Watson laughs, remarking  that he trusts that his own "judgment may survive the ordeal." Holmes does not accept that he is already married to, in the sense of being partnered with, Watson, or that the partnership does not bias his judgment, but enriches it through the addition of Watson's empathy, curiosity, and willingness to narrate as well as to listen to the stories that unfold. Holmes' analytical acuity is made whole through the addition of Watson's willingness to be touched and his ability to narrate the stories from more than one perspective." (Mahaffey, 2007, pg. 106-7)

From the Interwebz:
See also:

  • Roden, C. (1994). The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

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