Decoding the Detectives. Kate Roach. Work on popular representation of science dominated by ‘mad scientist’ Common emblems, bubbling vials, white coat Often scripted as an ‘over-reacher’ like Victor Frankenstein. Cartoon from British Guardian newspaper in Turney (1998).
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Work on popular representation of science dominated by ‘mad scientist’
Cartoon from British Guardian newspaper in Turney (1998)
How do the representations themselves intersect?
Is the detective an alternative model of science to that associated with the ‘mad scientist’?
Left, Sergeant Cuff, middle, Gabriel Betteredge. Illustration by Arthur Fraser (active 1865-1898) for The Moonstone (London, 1890)
“when it comes to unravelling a mystery, there isn’t an equal in England…”
In appearance he is a
“grizzled, elderly man, so miserably lean” with a face “sharp as a hatchet”, skin “as yellow and dry as a withered autumn leaf” and eyes that “had a very disconcerting trick…of looking as though they expected something more from you than you were aware of yourself. His walk was soft; his voice melancholy; his long lanky fingers were hooked like claws. He might have been a parson, or an undertaker…”
“In height he was rather over six feet, and so excessively lean that he seemed considerably taller. His eyes were sharp and piercing…his thin hawk-like nose gave his whole expression an air of alertness and decision. His hands invariably blotted with ink and stained with chemicals, yet he was possessed with extraordinary delicacy of touch, as I frequently had occasion to observe when I watched him manipulating his fragile philosophical instruments…”
A Study in Scarlet (1887)
Share the aesthetic of knowledge-seeker
The detective shares heritage with the ‘mad scientist’ and the picaresque hero