Sherlock Holmes: the Power of Woman The female-male to Dr. Watson’s stolid Victorian masculinity. (Watson’s dullness sharpens the portrait of Holmes’ intelligence, & gives the reader an identity-point in the narrative) Neurotic (p.1557) Domestic (22 Baker St. & his name) External appearance controlled and altered to suit desire of mind (i.e. of power.) (This matches a female quality: in the text, of Irene Adler. p.1567 “his expression, his manner, his very soul seemed to vary with every fresh part that he assumed.” Succeeds by reasoning and observing: or rather, by observing then reasoning. p.1558: “you see, but you do not observe. P.1559: “It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data.” Woman’s domestic power is the power of observation, then manipulative action. p.1558: “You would certainly have been burned [as a witch] had you lived a few centuries ago.”
“The woman” Power of Social Perception Holmes in turn sees through the social appearances of others: i.e. the disguise of the King of Bohemia. Irene Adler has power of disguise—ability to control dress for social (i.e. real power) effect—and to see through disguise (Holmes’): by power of domestic perception: p. 1571 “….when I found how I had betrayed myself, I began to think.” Irene, like Holmes, is man-woman combination: p.1562: “face of the most beautiful of women, and mind of the most resolute of men.”
5 Elizabeth Gaskell Eminent Victorian novelist. Wrote for Charles Dickens’ popular literary journal. Mutually respectful bickering Novelist of social reform: North & South But most famous for Cranford
6 Gaskell: Asserts the Power of the Domestic Sphere “The Last Generation in England” is a reformist essay—forms the basis of a reformist novel: Cranford, now a widely popular BBC series Uses humour and apparent mockery to capture then reverse reader’s preconceptions
7 Gaskell: Power of Essay Detail Gaskell’s essay amplifies its rhetorical design by accumulation of small detail Small details are the essence of domestic life “I had often occasion to notice the use that was made of fragments and small opportunities in Cranford.” Command of domestic is command of society. (Leo Tolstoy: War & Peace.) Re-examines the real relationship between the domestic, the female and true social power.
Gaskell & Social Order Organised Details: “Manners” Accepted Structure and Behavior produces social order Contemporary analogue? Code of behavior ‘rules & regulations’ (p.1523) are set in the female/domestic sphere Violence (males) a threat to social order Men who challenge the matriarchy…disappear