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The detective, the psychiatrist and post-modernism

  • Allan Beveridge (a1)
Extract

The similarity between the work of the fictional detective and that of the psychiatrist has often been remarked. Both Marcus (1984) and Shepherd (1985) have compared the technique of the archetypal sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, with that of Sigmund Freud. The sage of Baker Street attempted to solve criminal cases by finding links between items in the external world, such as footprints, bloodstains or broken locks, while Freud tried to make sense of the mysteries of the mind by making connections between events in the inner world, such as dreams, thoughts and desires. Both attempted to provide an all-encompassing explanation of seemingly disparate phenomena. Over the years, the literary descendants of Holmes have become increasingly similar to psychiatrists, because, as well as attending to the external events, they also take account of the individual psychology of the criminal and the social context of the crime.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Brody, H. (1987) Stories of Sickness. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Charlton, B. (1993) Medicine and postmodernity. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 86, 497499.
Fernandez-Armesto, F. (1997) Truth; A History and a Guide for the Perplexed. London: Bantam Press.
Fulford, K. (1996) Religion and psychiatry: Extending the limits of tolerance. In Psychiatry and Religion (ed. Bhugra, D.), pp. 522. London: Routledge.
Hodgkin, P. (1996) Medicine, postmodernism and the end of certainty. British Medical Journal, 313, 15681569.
Lown, B. (1997) The Lost Art of Healing. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
Marcus, S. (1984) Freud and the Culture of Psychoanalysis. Boston. MA: George Allen and Unwin.
Shepherd, M (1985) Sherlock Holmes and the Case of Dr Freud. London: Tavistock.
Thomas, P. (1997) The Dialectics of Schizophrenia. London: Free Association Press.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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The detective, the psychiatrist and post-modernism

  • Allan Beveridge (a1)
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