Sherlock Holmes and James Bond instantly evoke particular ideas about British masculinity: an uncannily intuitive intellectual not averse to bouts of cocaine use, and the suave, globe-trotting spy with a license to kill. 2015 marked the release of Spectre, the 24th iteration of the most successful film franchise in cinema history. Likewise, Conan Doyle’s creation is in rude health, having been the recent subject of a high-profile exhibition at the Museum of London, and the centre of two successful contemporary television adaptations, BBC’s Sherlock, and CBS’s Elementary. Just as Baker Street remains a perennial tourist attraction for Sherlockians, so too has London’s tourist industry embraced an army of fans eager to retrace the footsteps of the latest — and controversially blond — Bond, Daniel Craig. This course investigates what on-screen adaptations of Sherlock Holmes and James Bond have to say about the construction of British masculinity. Providing close readings of key examples of Sherlock and Bond adaptations, we will explore issues of gender and sexuality, class, race, ethnicity and nationhood in the construction of hegemonic and “other” British masculinity on screen. In tandem, we will explore the ever-changing places that Sherlock and Bond occupy in British film and television culture.
This course may also be registered as FIL/WGS 416, and counts towards the Film and Screen Studies track for SU English and Textual Studies majors.
Semesters: Fall, Spring