Ричард Хо Сквозь увеличительное стекло: роль науки в детективной литературе XIX века



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Закрывая дело
Какой же напрашивается вывод? Какой образ возникает перед вами?

Огюст Дюпен “Убийство на улице Морг”
Наблюдения сделаны, заключения выведены. Путем исследования доступных свидетельств – использование индукции Дюпеном и дедукции Холмсом – были получены нагие факты. Наука, в самом деле, играет выдающуюся роль в приключениях этих вымышленных сыщиков. В какой степени? К сожалению, следствие по этому делу никогда не может быть закрыто. На протяжении более чем столетия критики задавались вопросом об аргументированности построений холодного, логичного героя По с учетом известных склонностей автора, связанных с категориями мистического и воображаемого. Они указывали на пробелы и неувязки в научных знаниях Шерлока Холмса. Короче говоря, они усомнились в том, что этим сыщикам можно доверять как ученым.

И, однако, методы и навыки двух сыщиков основаны на подлинных началах логики и разума. Отношения между различными философиями Дюпена и Холмса были приравнены к отношениям между двумя другими новаторами в анналах истории:

Дюпен описывает свой подход как сочетание навыков поэта и математика, навыков, чья сущностная природа естественным образом удаляет их от прямой приложимости к практическому миру. Шерлок Холмс многим обязан Дюпену, но его отношение к последнему напоминает отношение Аристотеля, великого ученого, к Платону, другому великому поэту-математику. Платоническая традиция в расследовании продолжается… Ее метод – логическое рассуждение – остается эзотерическим даром отдельных гениев. Научный метод Холмса… как и аристотелевский, был эмпирическим, основывающимся на исследовании земного мира и дающим синтетические выводы о природе этого мира (Van Dover, 43-4)

Безотносительно к тому, в какой степени научная теория разработана в сочинениях По и Конан Дойля, ее присутствие в философии Дюпена и Холмса нельзя отрицать. И, несмотря на сомнения, которые могут возникнуть относительно роли науки в детективной литературе, положение Дюпена и Холмса как архетипов научно ориентированного героя-сыщика по-прежнему принимается без возражений.
[2001]


Библиография
Beegel, Susan F. “The Literary Histrio as Detective,” Massachusetts Studies in English, Amherst, MA, 1982, 8(3):1-8.

Conan Doyle, Arthur. A Study in Scarlet, Oxford University Press, 1999.

Engel, Leonard W. “Truth and Detection: Poe’s Tales of Ratiocination and His Use of the Enclosure,” Clues: A Journal of Detection, Bowling Green, OH, Fall-Winter 1982, 3(2):83-86.

Huxley, Thomas Henry. Darwiniana, Collected Works, Macmillan, London, 1893, p. 369.

Irwin, John T. “Reading Poe’s Mind: Politics, Mathematics, and the Association of Ideas in ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’,” American Literary History, Cary, NC, Summer 1992, 4(2):187-206.

Jeffers, H. Paul.
“You Have Been in Peshawar, I Perceive,” The Baker Street Journal: an Irregular Quarterly of Sherlockiana, Hanover, PA, June 1991, 41(2):82-84.

Martin, Terry J. “Detection, Imagination, and the Introduction to ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue,’” Modern Language Studies, Providence, RI, Fall 1989, 19(4):31-45.

Moss, Robert A. “Brains and Attics,” The Baker Street Journal: an Irregular Quarterly of Sherlockiana, Hanover, PA, June 1991, 41(2):93-95.

Nygaard, Loisa. “Winning the Game: Inductive Reasoning in Poe’s ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue,’” Studies in Romanticism, Boston, MA, Summer 1994, 33(2):223-54.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry, Tales, & Selected Essays, Literary Classics of the United States, New York, NY, 1984. pp. 397-431.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Philosophy of Composition,” Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry, Tales, & Selected Essays, Literary Classics of the United States, New York, NY, 1984, pp. 1373-1385.

Trapp, David James. “Holmes the Graphologist,” The Baker Street Journal: an Irregular Quarterly of Sherlockiana, Hanover, PA, March 1981, 31(1):20-21.

Van Dover, J. K. “Huxley, Holmes, and the Scientific Detective,” The Baker Street Journal: an Irregular Quarterly of Sherlockiana, Hanover, PA, December 1988, 38(4):240-41.

Van Dover, J. K. “The Lens and the Violin: Sherlock Holmes and the Rescue of Science,” Clues: a Journal of Detection, Bowling Green, OH, Fall-Winter 1988, 9(2):37-51.
Перевод П.А.Моисеева

___________________________________________

Richard Ho
Through the Magnifying Glass:

The Role of Science in Nineteenth Century Detective Literature

Introduction

Literary Tradition

Historical References

Scientific Disciplines

Dupin’s Methodology

Literary Analysis of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”

Holmes’s Methodology

Literary Analysis of A Study in Scarlet

Philosophy of Composition

Closing the Case

Bibliography

Introduction
“There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of

life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.”

Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet

A mysterious figure, cloaked in a long dark overcoat, arrives at the scene of a crime. In the deep recesses of his pockets, he carries two items: a simple tape measure and a magnifying glass with a rounded lens. His only other tool is his mind.

Pacing about the room, the stranger quietly hunts for invisible clues between motes of dust and particles of dirt. Sight, smell, touch... all of his senses are called into service, not a single one neglected. Every faculty is devoted to observation and assimilation. The confident manner in which he carries out his investigations suggests an intense, almost obsessive intellect.

The evidence is gathered and systematically analyzed. His focus is impenetrable, his technique infallible. The result is inevitable. Within the hour, the case is cracked. The unsolvable crime is solved. The mysterious stranger unveils the solution with a triumphant flourish, then promptly exits the scene, leaving dozens of professional police officers scratching their heads.

The stuff of fiction? Yes.

For nearly two centuries, characters such as C. Auguste Dupin and Sherlock Holmes have captivated readers with their unparalleled intellects and incomparable crime-solving ability. The genre of crime fiction had come into its own in the nineteenth century, amidst a time of great intellectual advancement. Thanks to the influences of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, advances in science, technology, and rational thought began to find their way into contemporary literature. Victorian writers such as Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle incorporated these modern ideas into their fictional works, lending the credibility of science to the practical tasks of criminal detection and investigation.

Thus was established the model of the scientist-detective. Poe's short story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” introduced the brilliant but introverted Dupin to the world, and Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet was the inaugural adventure of the renowned Sherlock Holmes. Each detective displays a remarkable penchant for observation, analysis, and logical deduction, and each chooses to apply his skill to the unraveling of criminal acts. These were the pioneers who paved the way for the convergence of science, criminology, and literature.How much of a role does science actually play in the investigations of these esteemed detectives? How valid is the scientific foundation for the methods of Dupin and Holmes, and what is the extent of the relationship between science and literature in these works? These are the mysteries we must attempt to unravel. By exploring the roots of scientific deduction in crime solving - its origins, its influences, and its ramifications - we may be able to deduce some answers. Just as Dupin and Holmes constructed chains of causality in their investigations of crime, we will attempt to construct a chain of causality tracing the steps that led to the creation of the scientifist-detective’s niche in literary history.

So, in the words of Dupin: “I will explain... and that you may comprehend all clearly, we will first retrace the course of [our] mediations...”


Literary tradition

“The face of science in English popular literature of the nineteenth century was

an unenviable one. The craft of Daedalus seemed inherently united with the folly

of Icarus.”

J. K. Van Dover

It has been remarked that “one of the frequent aims of literary criticism itself... is to trace a work back to its originary ideas or principles” (Martin 34). As such, the detective writings of Poe and Conan Doyle can be traced to the intellectual innovations brought on by the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, which inevitably began to find expression in nineteenth century Victorian literature.

Enlightenment writers like Voltaire and Rousseau popularized the application of reason and rational thought, while the Industrial Revolution brought about advances in all aspects of scientific knowledge, from technology to medicine to chemistry. In the beginning, the literary reaction to this wave of scientific and intellectual advancement was one of cautious skepticism, if not downright rejection. The revolutionary theories of Charles Darwin and other scientists were attacked by many as an affront to the entrenched dogmas of Christianity - for these traditionalists, “devotion to an empirical method meant abandonment of traditional pieties” (Van Dover 37). This aversion was based in part on a pervasive fear regarding the implications of science on the very notion of humanity. In the eyes of the religion’s supporters, the advancements in science and medicine were seen as humanity’s attempt to impinge on the authority of God, and could only lead to disastrous consequences. Writers like Mary Shelley and Robert Louis Stevenson captured the fears and uncertainties of society and gave them creative expression in works like Frankenstein (1818) and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886). Those stories were hugely popular, in part because they reflected “an understandable suspicion of a way of thinking that had, within the century, first refuted the biblical time scale and then contradicted Genesis’s account of the origin of species” (Van Dover 37). The creation of monsters became the literal manifestation of the dangers inherent in the pursuit of forbidden knowledge, and each of the scientists responsible for these monstrosities was painted as “an anti-humanist heretic,” obsessive, unstable and misguided (Van Dover).

Of course, such feelings were hardly universal, and the rising current of nineteenth century scientific thought was gaining both strength and acceptance. The fears of the earlier half of the century were transformed into a budding “utilitarian confidence in the powers of man,” as advances in technology and medicine began to have perceptible positive impacts on ordinary lives (Van Dover 37-8). The image of the mad scientist in popular literature was gradually replaced by a model of the scientist as hero and protagonist, which reflects the trend towards a more cerebral society:

In the modern world, when the days of hand-to-hand combat, of monsters and dragons have passed, and when... the problems confronting human beings are increasingly those of knowledge and cognition, the appropriate hero would seem to be the analyst, the detective, the individual who is able to penetrate deceptive appearances and to cut through reams of contradictory evidence and conflicting testimony to arrive at the truth. (Nygaard 226)

However, while a new conception of the fictional scientist was beginning to take shape, the literature of the period remained slow in abandoning its previous reluctance to embrace the rise of science:

Victorian novelists generally failed to celebrate the accomplishments of the scientists and few - George Eliot being the outstanding exception - even attempted to understand and to portray their methods and their motives (Van Dover 38).

Still, Eliot’s The Lifted Veil provided a strong case for the exploration of science in literature, and the genre of detective fiction was on the very edge of the horizon.

Historical references

The texts of both “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and A Study in Scarlet are rich in allusions to important scientific and intellectual figures from throughout history. These allusions serve to add credibility to the concepts discussed by the characters. For example, Dupin’s reference to the Greek philosopher Epicurus simultaneously invokes his philosophy of atomism based on empiricism, mechanism, and causality, characteristics which appear in Dupin’s philosophy on analysis: “Something of the same mechanistic bias is observable in Dupin's reading of the narrator’s thoughts... Dupin’s analysis reduces the narrator to a curious machine whose inner workings are to be charted solely for the scientific interest of the activity” (Martin 37). Likewise, the reference to the French biologist Georges Cuvier in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” serves to support the notion of reconstruction in relation to the detection of crime. Just as Cuvier reconstructed whole skeletons from fossil remains, Dupin “works backward from the evidence he has gathered to puzzle out how the murders actually occurred;” these reconstructions “have since become a stock feature of detective fiction” (Nygaard 246-7). In effect, the references to such historical luminaries as Epicurus and Cuvier introduce an element of validity to an otherwise fictional account.

There are, of course, many more examples, a few of which can be found below.


Thomas Henry Huxley

“If finches could speak to Darwin, might not the marks of hands and the impress

of shoes speak to Holmes?”

J. K. Van Dover

T. H. Huxley, the renowned biologist, writer, public debater, and famous bulldog of Charles Darwin, is often cited as one of the primary influences on the development of detective literature in general, and the character of Sherlock Holmes specifically. In 1862, he gave a series of six lectures defending Darwin’s Origin of Species - in his third lecture, entitled “The Method by Which the Causes of the Present and Past Conditions of Organic Nature Are to Be Discovered,” he lays the groundwork for Holmes’s philosophy of detection. In examining the methodology utilized by Darwin in his discovery of the evolutionary theory, Huxley compared it to the process of detecting a crime, in which the causes are determined from a process of reverse construction based on the end result. Huxley argues that the scientific method is “nothing more than common sense,” and thereby applicable to any of life’s practical endeavors (Van Dover 240). He goes on to illustrate the notion of induction, or backward reasoning, with an example:

I will suppose that one of you, on coming down in the morning to the parlour of your house, finds that a tea-pot and some spoons which had been left in the room on the pervious evening are gone, - the window is open, and you observe the mark of a dirty hand on the window-frame, and perhaps, in addition to that, you notice the impress of a hob-nailed shoe on the gravel outside. All these phenomena have struck your attention instantly, and before two seconds have passed you say, “Oh, somebody has broken open the window, entered the room, and run off with the spoons and the tea-pot!” (Huxley 369)

According to Huxley, this practical example follows the same steps as the formation of a scientific hypothesis. Himself an “observer and inferrer,” Huxley recognized the integral roles played by observation and inference in the application of the scientific method. He also recognized the benefits of employing this method in other areas of investigation, and his insightful use of the criminal example foreshadowed the career of the greatest scientific investigator in history. “Huxley was arguing that the scientific method was like that used in the detection of crime; Conan Doyle embodied in Sherlock Holmes the argument that the detection of crime is the scientific method” (Van Dover 40).

Arthur Conan Doyle was born in 1859, the year Origin of Species took the world by storm. Darwin’s theories revolutionized the conception of organismic evolution and turned the global scientific community on its ear - in the realm of criminal investigation, Holmes would be no less important. “What Darwin was to biology, Holmes would be to criminology” (Van Dover 241).

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