❝Lɪᴛᴇʀᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ ɴᴇᴠᴇʀ ᴘʀᴏᴅᴜᴄᴇᴅ ᴀ ғʀɪᴇɴᴅꜱʜɪᴘ ᴍᴏʀᴇ ꜱʏᴍʙɪᴏᴛɪᴄ ɴᴏʀ ᴀ ᴡᴀʀᴍᴇʀ ᴀɴᴅ ᴍᴏʀᴇ ᴛɪᴍᴇʟᴇꜱꜱ ғʀɪᴇɴᴅꜱʜɪᴘ.❞
I just finished reading the introduction by Loren D. Estleman entitled ❛ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BOSWELLS❜.
Aside from tackling the contents of the stories provided in the two volumes of this collection that are more or less general summaries about notable titles, the essay also touched upon the role of Dr. John Watson. M.D, who is Holmes' biographer and chronicler of his cases.
I definitely agreed with the points raised regarding the unfair treatment which Watson had suffered throughout the decades in regards to his portrayal on-screen ever since Nigel Bruce in those series of black and white films from Hollywood starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes came out.
In those movies, he only served as a comic foil, this bumbling fool. They emphasized that he was fat, ignorant and useless. And that never made sense to me at all, given the meaningful contributions his character has made and how much of a self-insert of Doyle he was supposed to be himself.
A man as brilliant as Holmes will never live with someone like that nor will he allow Watson to be involved in his criminal cases if he truly was unintelligent. The fact of the matter was that though Watson may not be the genius sleuth like Holmes and was celebrated for his prowess of unmatched deductive reasoning, the humble doctor remains just as important and pivotal of a character for entirely distinct reasons in the Doyle stories.
One, he is the man who framed the adventures and cases of his friend with a dash of literary liberties that make them so compelling to read in the first place. He engaged the readers with his prose and painted Holmes in a sympathetic light which in turn made readers want to know more about this Great Detective. Two, he is very much competent as a partner, one whom Holmes had time and time again relied upon because he was loyal and had on occasions risked his own life for the both of them. The fact that he was not only a doctor but an army doctor was also critical; this meant he has the taste and the temperament that would suit chasing around criminals and solving crimes.
As a character in an objective sense, Watson is also well-nuanced, even more so than Holmes ever was since the man remains ever a mystery which is where his appeal through the decades depended upon. Meanwhile, Watson is someone readers would find warm and enjoyable especially during his private musings and observations about people including his stoic friend. His love and devotion to Holmes, as well as his thirst for intrigue and higher sensibilities are qualities that would continue to endear him as the stories went on.
I'm glad that the introduction touched upon how Watson made so much difference for the character of Holmes and the tales they were written in. Fortunately, the more modern adaptations had been kinder and more in spirit of what Doyle intended him to be. In BBC Sherlock with Martin Freeman, the Guy Ritchie films with Jude Law and, of course, even in his gender-bent version for Elementary as played by Lucy Liu, Watson's significance had finally been developed and realized for a younger generation of audiences to appreciate and adore.