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Miniature Biographies: III: Dr. Watson

on 2LO London

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In Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle has created one of the few characters in modern fiction who have become a byword and a figure of speech. But, as the lynx-eyed Holmes passes into our folklore, gaunt and impressive in his Inverness Cape and his deerstalker cap, he still cannot shake off the obtuse and innocent Watson. Watson of the intermittent practice and the brown moustache, with his never-failing bewilderment and his misdirected zeal, is, indeed, considered by many critics to be as much to Holmes as Boswell was to Johnson. Certainly, few writers of detective stories since Conan Doyle have ventured to dispense with some similar foil to the brilliance of their hero. And in any case (in all their cases, in fact) Watson supplies the human note. The rooms in Baker Street seem real because of his bovine Victorian humanity; he counteracts the super-humanity of the chilly Holmes. In taking him as the subject of tonight's "Miniature Biography," Mr. Desmond MacCarthy is paying a fitting tribute to the homeliest character in all the literature of crime.


Desmond MacCarthy

2LO London

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