Prof Darryl Jones is on the trail of the ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’

Posted on: 01 June 2022

Darryl Jones delivered a public lecture exploring the background to the writing of Arthur Conan Doyle’s highly successful Hound of the Baskervilles last week. The event marked the occasion of his appointment as Professor of Modern British Literature and Culture at the School of English.

A Trinity tradition, an inaugural lecture represents the official recognition of an academic’s promotion to Professor. The lecture provides an opportunity for the new professor to showcase their achievements in research, innovation, engagement and teaching activities before an audience of members of the University community and the general public.

In the lecture, Prof Jones looked at how and why Conan Doyle wrote Baskervilles. He explained how Arthur Conan Doyle wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles immediately after his return from the Boer War in South Africa, where he had volunteered as a military doctor and explored what The Hound of the Baskervilles can tell us about the condition of England, and about the British Empire, at the very beginning of the twentieth century.

A recording of the lecture can be listened to here.

“Sherlock Holmes was killed in the December 1893 edition of The Strand Magazine, falling to his death over the Reichenbach Falls, locked in the embrace of his nemesis, Professor Moriarty.  In 1901, Arthur Conan Doyle brought the great detective back to life, due to a combination of public pressure and overwhelming financial inducement.  The result, The Hound of the Baskervilles, was the most successful moment in the career of both Conan Doyle and The Strand Magazine, which went into an unprecedented seventh print run to accommodate demand.”

Darryl Jones is Professor of Modern British Literature and Culture at Trinity College Dublin.  His main area of research is in late-Victorian and Edwardian popular fiction, with a particular interest in ghost stories and Gothic and horror fiction.  He is the author or editor of thirteen books, including most recently Horror: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2021) and is currently working on a large-scale biography of the ghost-story writer M. R, James.

He is General Editor of the forthcoming New Oxford Sherlock Holmes (9 vols, in press), for which he has edited The Hound of the Baskervilles. He is also currently editing The Green Flag for the multi-volume Edinburgh Conan Doyle. His next projects will be a monograph on the Cambridge ghost story, and a study of the Irish time-travel theorist J. W. Dunne, on whom he published an article in 2020.

Click here for Darryl’s research profile page.

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