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Furthermore, the presumably redemptive fiction of the autistic hero often proves oddly dehumanizing: even as his incredible feats of deduction are praised as a work of genius, Holmes is objectified by his beloved Watson, who constantly compares the brilliant sleuth to machines and repeatedly describes him as "inhuman.

Dwelling on the mystery and exoticism of alterity, such figurations also cast the character with autism as a puzzle in need of an outside solution. Diagnosis and Deduction The claim that Conan Doyle's famous detective has Asperger's Syndrome is ubiquitous enough to appear in a variety of popular venues, and his diagnosis has been pursued by both fans and professionals; unfortunately, most of the discussions of Holmes's autistic traits present negative stereotypes as a part of their analysis, offering an extremely superficial and one-sided view of autism.

An article in The New York Times describes Holmes as "mind-blind," "coldblooded," and "rude," using these demeaning descriptors as diagnostic criteria for the popular sleuth. An article in Psychology Today explains that Holmes must be autistic because "His obsessive interest in the craft of crime-solving crowded out almost everything else from his life, including the possibility of warm and reciprocal relationships.

In Autism: Explaining the Enigma, Uta Frith presents Holmes as a "creature of cold reason who is incapable of warm-hearted relationships" and explains that he is juxtaposed with Watson, a character who is able to have "warm feelings. In sum, such readings frequently present autism as "abnormal" in relation to an imaginary neurotypical norm and encourage false stereotypes of autistics as emotionless, lacking in empathy, and incapable of love.

Perhaps even more problematic is the potential interpretative looping that can result when the psychiatric community itself identifies a literary character as having a specific cognitive disability. Holmes's supposed diagnosis was the subject of a letter to the editor in a recent issue of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders: Eric Altschuler suggests that studying figures like Holmes might help to determine how prevalent autism was in previous generations.


Suddenly, it is not autistic people who are the interpretative template for the literary character—the public perception of the literary character may reshape and inform how autism is defined as a social construct. However, the ongoing conversation about Holmes and autism rarely addresses the difficulties inherent in "diagnosing" a literary character or the narrow view of people on the spectrum that the resulting analysis often offers.

Amateur diagnoses based on popular stereotypes foster a one-dimensional way of thinking about people on the spectrum. In addition, such informal diagnosis may lead people to think that the experience of being autistic can be reduced to a list of criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. For those who self- identify as autistic, being on the spectrum is not just a list of traits, but an entire person, an entire life experience.

The diagnosis of a literary character may be misleading in that even the best-drawn character can never have the full roundness of a real person: one may wonder on what level Holmes's autism is merely Conan Doyle's "narrative prosthesis. Almost all of the reader's perceptions of Holmes are filtered through Watson's narrative voice: it might be more accurate not to say that Holmes is autistic but rather that Watson perceives him as autistic.

Thus, the adventures of the autistic detective, as narrated by his neurotypical sidekick, are presented with an extra layer of interpretive data—as readers, we perceive both Holmes's autistic traits and Watson's neurotypical reactions to those traits.

In fact, Watson's invisible, default position as neurotypical narrator mirrors the assumed norm of the majority perspective in our society at large. The neurotypical narrative perspective Watson offers elides the issue of autism as a subjective social construct: because Watson's voice narrates Holmes's story, the reader is placed in a default neurotypical position and is encouraged to perceive Holmes's actions and words through the interpretative lens of Watson's "normative" social expectations.

The dangers of diagnosing a literary character with an autism spectrum disorder are manifold, and the very question of Holmes's status on the spectrum raises larger questions about the definition of autism itself.

The question of who "controls" the autism diagnosis or "defines" what it means to be autistic is already a fraught one within the autism community. But a growing body of collective literature written by autistic people, the reported individual experiences of people on the spectrum, and popular culture representations of autism all add different angles to that definition or, in the case of some narratives written by autistic people, completely rewrite it. Ultimately, no one representation can ever encapsulate the incredible diversity of the spectrum—and while Holmes is probably an autistic character by most definitions, he is not an autistic person.

In many ways, the popular association of Holmes with the autism spectrum is unsurprising as Conan Doyle's character adheres to a plethora of autism stereotypes: Watson perceives Holmes as having intense interests, struggling in the social sphere, and displaying unusual body language. As Watson explains, "his zeal for certain studies was remarkable, and within eccentric limits his knowledge was so extraordinarily ample and minute that his observations have fairly astounded me" Study This lack of understanding contributes to the stereotype of autism as a "puzzling" and mysterious phenomenon.

Watson describes Holmes as choosing his work over human companionship: "So engrossed was he with his occupation that he seemed to have forgotten our presence" Study The emphasis here should be on the word "seemed"—as is so often the case, Watson cannot really tell the reader what Holmes is thinking, again contributing to the stereotype of the autistic mind as mystery. Certainly, Holmes's fields of interest often seem too narrow to interest a wider audience for example, his monograph on tobacco ash.

In addition, the other characters frequently perceive Holmes as socially awkward. However, what the other characters interpret as bluntness or rudeness could also be construed as a misunderstanding caused by fundamentally different ways of thinking. In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Mrs. Lyons seems quite shocked by the detective's behavior as "Holmes opened his interview with a frankness and directness which considerably amazed her" Hound Lyons Holmes is trying to apprehend a murderer before he kills again , Holmes's haste and directness is quite appropriate.

It is true, however, that Holmes often forgets social niceties, even going so far as to slight royalty in "A Scandal in Bohemia": "He bowed, and, turning away without observing the hand which the king stretched out to him, he set off in my company for his chambers" Adventures The "impenetrable" nature of Holmes's silence suggests the common stereotype of those with autism as trapped by an imprisoning interiority, separated from the rest of the world by a chasm of silence.


Furthermore, Holmes frequently engages in self-stimulating stimming behaviors and displays atypical body language: through the reactions of the neurotypical characters, the reader is encouraged to interpret these autistic traits as signs of illness and symbols of Holmes's ineffable mystery. Holmes's habit of repetitive pacing is a source of concern for both Watson and the landlady. Hudson expresses her worries to Watson, I am afraid for his health … he's that strange, sir.

After you was gone he walked and he walked, up and down, and up and down, until I was weary of the sound of his footstep … I hope he's not going to be ill, sir. I ventured to say something to him about cooling medicine … Sign 71 Although Watson knows that Holmes has a habit of pacing when he is thinking, even he worries when the detective continues to pace all night: "I was myself somewhat uneasy when through the long night I still from time to time heard the dull sound of his tread …" Sign The neurotypical characters perceive Holmes's stimming as "strange" and "ill," and it makes them "uneasy.

Hudson also indicates that Holmes's stimming makes her "weary": in the formation of negative stereotypes, not only is neurotypical taken as the default normal, but autistic differences that are viewed as annoying are also those most frequently pathologized.

In addition to this stimming behavior, Holmes exhibits atypical body language that Watson finds it difficult to interpret: because of his inability to decode his friend's expressions, Watson often imagines Holmes as cold and emotionless.

According to Watson, Holmes rarely seems focused on the person he is conversing with and is often looking elsewhere. Indeed, it is remarkable how often Holmes either sits with his back to Watson or converses with clients with his eyes shut.

At the beginning of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, when Holmes has been separated from his dearest friend for a very long time, his greeting strikes Watson as cold and aloof: "His manner was not effusive.

It seldom was; but he was glad, I think, to see me. With hardly a word spoken, but with a kindly eye, he waved me to an armchair …" Adventures 6. As well as Watson knows Holmes, he still cannot truly read him.

Because the stories are narrated from Watson's perspective, Holmes's body language is judged against a neurotypical standard. Thus, Holmes's natural body language is interpreted by the other characters as mysterious and unreadable, and his stimming behaviors are presented as a sign of eccentricity and ill health.

Holmes also perfectly fits the stereotype of the autistic savant so pervasive in popular culture, as he has an incredibly detail-oriented mind combined with phenomenal memory skills. As public awareness of autism spectrum disorders increase, stereotypes abound: the media often represents people with autism as computers, machines, or aliens and has spread the erroneous stereotype that all autistic people are savants.

The awe and wonder customarily evoked by the autistic savant clearly contribute to Holmes's popularity, as his method of deduction inspires a sense of wonder both in the other characters and in Conan Doyle's readers.

It has framed us as pathological, as defective, as problems, as unpredictable … Psychiatry has helped us become confused about what bad and mad mean. Increasingly when some terrible crime is committed … then we are encouraged to feel the person must be mad to do such a thing … they are included as mentally ill and increasingly shape public and personal understandings of madness and distress and couple it more and more closely with crime, violence and threat.

Adaptações de Sherlock Holmes

On the surface, it seems that the cultural fantasy of the autistic crime fighter serves to dispel the false stereotype of people with cognitive disabilities as criminals—but in the Sherlock Holmes stories, cognitive difference is equated with deviant criminality, and Conan Doyle depicts Holmes as a hero who triumphs over the hereditary brain difference that links him to the criminal underworld.

While Holmes ultimately becomes a symbol of justice and the law, the implied connection between autistic traits and criminal behavior continues to haunt the original Sherlock Holmes stories and later popular culture adaptations of these tales, perpetuating false and damaging stereotypes in surprisingly subtle ways.

In fact, Holmes often seems a little too interested in crime—his intense interest in illegal activity and those who engage in it often makes other characters uneasy. In fact, crime is his special interest.

The detective brags of his "knowledge of the history of crime"; Watson notes that his "knowledge of sensational literature" is "immense" for "he appears to know every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century"; the police describe the consulting detective as "a connoisseur of crime" Study 20, 16, Indeed, Holmes knows more about organized crime than the very criminals themselves, for he claims that "there is no one who knows the higher criminal world of London so well as I do" Memoirs The stories are haunted by the idea that Holmes's intense interest in crime might actually make him into a criminal.

Watson observes Holmes at work and wonders if his eccentric roommate could prove dangerous: "So swift, silent, and furtive were his movements, like those of a trained bloodhound picking out a scent, that I could not but think what a terrible criminal he would have made had he turned his energy and sagacity against the law, instead of exerting them in its defense" Sign Watson believes that the very characteristics that make Holmes a successful crime fighter might also make him a successful criminal.

Yet the very statement suggests that there is a danger of Holmes using his immense intellect in favor of the criminal element rather than against it. The implication is that Holmes's unusual mind, his cognitive difference, is a sign of criminal deviance.

In a further connection between cognitive difference and illegal activity, the heroic detective seems to be linked to his arch-nemesis by common neurology. Holmes and Moriarty are inextricably connected—specifically through their unusual minds and ways of thinking.

Im Zeichen der Vier

The detective and the criminal mastermind admire each other's work as equal "connoisseurs of crime. Moriarty, too, admires the work of Holmes: "It has been an intellectual treat to me to see the way in which you have grappled with this affair" Memoirs Specifically, it is the mind that connects detective and criminal, as they admire one another's intellect. Sometimes the two men seem to think not just with equal minds but with one mind.

When Watson asks, "What will he do? Although thinking like a criminal is an implied part of the detective's job description, Holmes is a little too good at it. Moriarty is Holmes's equal in many ways: indeed, if Holmes has autism, then so does Moriarty.

Holmes suggests that Moriarty's unusual mind is the product of heredity, and the parallels between the two characters suggest an inherited cognitive difference in both detective and criminal. Holmes describes Professor Moriarty as "endowed by Nature with a phenomenal mathematical faculty … but the man had hereditary tendencies of the most diabolical kind. A criminal strain ran in his blood, which, instead of being modified, was increased and rendered infinitely more dangerous by his extraordinary mental powers" Memoirs Moriarty's extraordinary math skills, given to him at birth by "Nature" are linked to his criminal tendencies, which are also described as hereditary.

According to Holmes, Moriarty was born a criminal, doomed by biology, and, apparently, by an extraordinary mind that only makes him all the more dangerous.

Of course, Holmes's extraordinary mind also has a hereditary basis—one need look no further than his brother Mycroft to see that being an eccentric genius runs in the family. In short, Holmes and Moriarty are closely linked by their unusual minds, and both characters display traits associated with the stereotype of the autistic savant.

Conan Doyle's depiction of Holmes as being connected to Moriarty through common neurology establishes a false equation between cognitive difference and criminal deviance.

Again and again, the connection between criminal and detective is a link forged by unusual minds: the multiple doppelgangers in The Hound of the Baskervilles all adhere to a variety of autism stereotypes. The novel's plurality of eccentric scientists and doctors, all of them loners, all of them socially awkward, all of them intensely interested in esoteric subjects, reminds readers that Holmes is inextricably joined with the criminals he pursues.

James Mortimer, a scientist with an intense interest in phrenology, talks about nothing but the shape of people's skulls. Holmes immediately observes the characteristics that he and Mortimer share: "You are an enthusiast in your line of thought, I perceive, sir, as I am in mine" Hound 8.

Early in the novel, Mortimer and Holmes compare their "special hobbies. The differences are obvious. The supra-orbital crest, the facial angle, the maxillary curve, the—" Hound Holmes interrupts the long-winded scientist to explain his knowledge of crime: "this is my special hobby, and the differences are equally obvious" Hound Yet the murderer in The Hound of the Baskervilles also proves to be an eccentric scientist, one with a special interest in entomology.

Specifically, Stapleton's intense interest in collecting and cataloguing insects serves as a symbol of his deviant criminal behavior, as though an unusual interest were in itself a sign of criminality.

Watson describes the killer: "In that impassive, colourless man, with his straw hat and his butterfly net, I seemed to see something terrible—a creature of infinite patience and craft, with a smiling face and a murderous heart" Hound Here, Stapleton's "straw hat" and "butterfly net," the symbols of his intense scientific interest, figure into the description of him as a sinister killer.

His "impassive" seemingly stoic and aloof exterior is equally implicated as a sign of his criminal tendencies. Watson describes the interior of Stapleton's house: "The room had been fashioned into a small museum, and the walls were lined by a number of glass-topped cases full of that collection of butterflies and moths the formation of which had been the relaxation of this complex and dangerous man" Hound Like Moriarty, Stapleton is dangerous because "complex" or perhaps complex because dangerous?

The naturalist's special interest in bugs is presented as disturbing, as his hobby of trapping, killing, and labeling insects under glass is placed parallel to his endeavor to kill the heirs to the Baskerville estate.

Throughout the novel, the intensity of his interest in insects is a sign of his criminal mind. The multiple scientist figures of The Hound of the Baskervilles clearly align Holmes with the criminal Stapleton. It is remarkable how often Holmes is mistaken for a criminal, a rule that applies both to Conan Doyle's stories and to later adaptations of Holmes's character.

Always found in possession of information he could not possibly have and often in the wrong place at the wrong time, he is constantly asserting his innocence. Indeed, the doppelgangers in The Hound of the Baskervilles ensure that Holmes is indistinguishable from the villain he pursues—even to Watson.

Various modern retellings of the Sherlock Holmes myth return to the idea of an unusual mind as the characteristic that links Holmes with the criminals he pursues. The police of BBC's Sherlock are determined to believe that the eccentric detective who they refer to as "the freak" is doomed to become a criminal.

The BBC website describes Sherlock as "Brilliant, aloof and almost entirely lacking in social graces. Sherlock is a unique young man with a mind like a 'racing engine'.

Without problems to solve, that mind will tear itself to pieces …" 37 Like the original Conan Doyle stories, the BBC's Sherlock emphasizes the destructive potential of the detective's mind.

If pointed in the wrong direction, Holmes's mind has the power to destroy. While stories about Holmes evoke wonder with his savant skills, they also evoke fear at the idea of his unusual mind, as cognitive difference is equated with danger and destruction.

While Conan Doyle's stories suggest a link between autistic behavior and criminal activity, there are other ways in which Watson's attitude toward Holmes perpetuates negative stereotypes about cognitive difference: Watson constantly compares Holmes to machines and imagines him as being incapable of emotion. As Watson complains to his friend, "You really are an automaton—a calculating machine … there is something positively inhuman in you at times" Sign In "A Scandal in Bohemia," Holmes's relationship with Irene Adler causes Watson to reflect on his friend's apparent inability to love: "It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler.

All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise, but admirably balanced mind" Adventures 5. Asexuality and objectivity are frequently linked in fictional depictions of autism. Imagining Holmes as a machine, Watson creates a false binary in which someone who solves problems with reason or strives to think with objectivity must be diametrically opposed to sexual feeling.

Although Watson is determined to believe that Holmes is incapable of love and uninterested in sex, Conan Doyle's text hints at other possibilities.

Holmes describes Adler as "a lovely woman, with a face that a man might die for" Adventures 7. Indeed, he agrees to be paid for a job with a photograph of Adler in evening dress. Although Watson seems to perceive Holmes as asexual, Conan Doyle leaves the sexual ambiguity that surrounds Holmes open to interpretation.

Ultimately, the encounter with Adler is yet another example of Watson shaping the reader's perception of Holmes, as Watson links sex and objectivity, implying that the two cannot possibly coexist. Specifically, Watson suggests that love would pose a problem to Holmes as a crime-solving machine: "Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his" Adventures 6.

The crack in the high-powered lens, like the grit in the sensitive instrument, like love in the heart of the character with autistic traits, is presented as out of place.

Not only does Watson imagine Holmes as a cold, mechanized container for facts, but he also describes him as a constant source of mystery, a puzzle for Watson and by implication, for the neurotypical reader to solve. First, on a treacherous Cornish hillside, the brakes on her car failed. Then, on a coastal path, On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. A junkie lies dead in an Edinburgh squat, spreadeagled, cross-like on the floor, between two burned-down candles, a five-pointed star daubed on the wall above.

Just another dead addict - until John Rebus begins to chip away at the indifference, treachery, deceit and sleaze But shadows are falling on the usually festive season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache They call him the Wolfman - because he takes a bite out of his victims and because they found the first victim in the East End's lonely Wolf Street.

Scotland Yard are anxious to find the killer and Inspector Rebus is drafted in to help. But his Scotland Yard opposite When a close colleague is brutally attacked, Inspector John Rebus is drawn into a case involving a hotel fire, an unidentified body, and a long forgotten night of terror and murder.

Pursued by dangerous ghosts and tormented by the coded secrets of his colleague's notebook, Currently three months pregnant, Daisy is anticipating a relaxing, non-dramatic holiday. But Daisy doesn't have that kindLogin to Fave.

Thus, Holmes's natural body language is interpreted by the other characters as mysterious and unreadable, and his stimming behaviors are presented as a sign of eccentricity and ill health.

As public awareness of autism spectrum disorders increase, stereotypes abound: the media often represents people with autism as computers, machines, or aliens and has spread the erroneous stereotype that all autistic people are savants.

Multiple allusions to Conan Doyle's work demonstrate the show's awareness of participating in the autistic detective tradition. Sherman, the Baker Street Irregulars and his own disguise, Holmes traces the steam launch.

Reid has phone conversations with his girlfriend that center on detective fiction, especially The Sign of Four. But his Scotland Yard opposite