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Sherlock Holmes, un nouveau limier pour le XXIe siècle

Hélène Machinal
Gilles Menegaldo
Jean-Pierre Naugrette

Quatrième partie. Variations cinématographiques

Enacting Holmes: Performance and Impersonation in Fiction and Film

Laura Marcus

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In 1937, the Austrian film director Karl Hartl directed Der Mann, der Sherlock Holmes war (The Man who was Sherlock Holmes), a comedy, written in collaboration with the novelist Robert Stemmle, starring Hans Albers and Heinz Rühmann, who were well known screen actors of the period. In the film, Albers and Rühmann play out of work private detectives, who decide to improve their fortunes by impersonating Holmes and Watson at the Brussels World Fair of 1910. The presiding comic spirit of the film is the figure of Arthur Conan Doyle who, residing in the hotel in which the private eyes come to stay, appears at various junctures in a state of high hilarity at their acting out of his own creations.

The film, which itself produced a number of its own imitations, raises some key questions of performance and imitation, particularly in relation to “becoming Holmes”. This paper addresses these issues through a discussion of Hartl’s film. It also looks at the broader concern with the figure of Sh...


Professeure de littérature anglaise et Fellow de New College, université d’Oxford. Elle a beaucoup publié sur la littérature et la culture du XIXe et du XXe siècles, en particulier sur la fiction de détection en littérature et au cinéma. Parmi ses publications : Auto/biographical Discourses : Theory, Criticism, Practice (1994), Virginia Woolf : Writers and their Work (1997/2004), The Tenth Muse : Writing about Cinema in the Modernist Period (2007 ; prix James Russell Lowell de la Modern Language Association, 2008), Dreams of Modernity : Psychoanalysis, Literature, Cinema (2014). Elle est co-éditrice de The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century English Literature (2004). Elle travaille actuellement sur une étude du concept de « rythme » à la fin du XIXe siècle et au début du XXe siècle, à partir de plusieurs champs disciplinaires.

© Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2016