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Torture, Literature, and History in Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Leather Funnel”

James Krasner

Abstract


Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story “The Leather Funnel” is a brief, rather ghastly tale that centers on a dream vision of a woman being brutally tortured. Doyle’s other major publication of 1902, The War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct, was his defense of the British army against claims made by W. T. Stead in Methods of Barbarism (1901) that Boer women and children had been the victims of war crimes and systematic torture. Doyle structures the story so that the narrator’s naïve response of moral outrage at seeing a woman being tortured gradually develops into a more sophisticated understanding of justice as his vision is placed in its proper legal and historical context. Taken together, “The Leather Funnel” and The War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct offer useful insights into Doyle’s understanding of the relationship between literature and history, and the deployment of state power through written language.


Keywords


Conan Doyle, Boer War, torture, W.T. Stead, ghost stories

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References


Clausson, Nils. 2008. “Literary Art in an Age of Formula Fiction and Mass Consumption: Double Coding in Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Blue Carbuncle’”. Studies in Popular Culture 31 (1): 39-54.

Doyle, Arthur Conan. 1902a. “The Leather Funnel”. McClure’s 20 (1): 17-25.

Doyle, Arthur Conan. 1902b. The War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct. New York: McClure, Phillips & Co.

Gil, Isabel Capeloa. 2016. “Fragile Matters: Literature and the Scene of Torture”. New German Critique 43 (1): 119-40.

Krasner, James. 2016. “Stealing History in The Hound of Baskervilles”. English Literature in Transition 59 (3): 344-61.

Lellenberg, Jon, Daniel Stashower, Charles Foley (eds). 2007. Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters. New York: Penguin.

O’Gorman, Francis. 2006. “Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, and the Victorian Media”. Linguæ &. Rivista di lingue e culture moderne 1: 53-60.

Pérez, Antonia José Miralles. 2013. “‘Those Crazy Knight-Errants’: Ideals and Delusions in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Portrait of a Fourteenth-Century Knight”. Journal of English Studies 11: 193-211.

Stead, W. T. 1901. Methods of Barbarism. London: Mowbray House.

Wong, Amy R. 2015. “Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘Great New Adventure Story’: Journalism in The Lost World”. Studies in the Novel 47 (1): 60-79.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ling-2018-002-kras



 


Linguæ & - Rivista di lingue e culture moderne
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (06/04/2012 n. 185)
Online ISSN 1724-8698 - Print ISSN 2281-8952


Dipartimento di Scienze della Comunicazione, Studi Umanistici e Internazionali: Storia, Culture, Lingue, Letterature, Arti, Media
Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo


Editor-in-Chief: Roberta Mullini
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Editorial Staff: Margaret Amatulli - Alessandra Calanchi - Riccardo Donati - Ivo Klaver  - Massimiliano Morini - Antonella Negri - Luca Renzi


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