Event—Adult Education

Sherlock Holmes: Iconic Figure of the Great Detective


Illustration for “The Valley of Fear,” Frank Wiles, 1914. Source: Special Collections Toronto Public Library via Wikimedia Commons.

Class Description

Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is firmly lodged in the popular imagination of the world, a Victorian icon that propelled the rise of detective fiction as a global literary phenomenon. How did Sherlock Holmes become the figure of the Great Detective par excellence?

We will trace the development of detective fiction and discuss Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories and two of his novels, The Sign of (the) Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles, as well as one contemporary Sherlock Holmes novel (Anthony Horowitz’s The House of Silk). In addition, we will look at the astonishing and spectacular afterlife of Sherlock Holmes, from his influence on science to his eminence in film and TV.

Elzbieta Foeller-Pituch is the Assistant Director of the Chabraja Center for Historical Studies at Northwestern University, where she also teaches literature classes.

Materials List


  • Anthony Horowitz, The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel. Mulholland Books, 2012. ISBN: 978-0316197014 (Order from the Newberry Bookshop here!)
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of (the) Four, 1890. (Available online and in the Digital Course Packet)
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1901-02. (Available online and in the Digital Course Packet)
  • Digital Course Packet

First Reading

For our first class meeting, please read the following short stories available online (also found in the Digital Course Packet):

Cost and Registration

4 Sessions, $200 ($180 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

We now offer our classes at three different price options: Regular ($200), Community Supported ($190), and Sponsor ($210). Following the models of other institutions, we want to ensure that our classes are accessible to a wider audience while continuing to support our instructors. You may choose the price that best fits your situation when registering through Learning Stream.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


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