Monsters & Madness

Secret Lives in Victorian Literature

Similar Themes in Lady Audley’s Secret and The Hound of Baskerville

There are quite a few similar themes that can be detected out between the novels of The Hound of the Baskervilles and Lady Audley’s Secret. For example, the “bromance” or the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and Dr.Watson is undeniable just like in Lady Audley’s Secret with Robert Audley and George. “There is a delightful freshness about you, Watson, which makes it a pleasure to exercise any small powers which I possess at your expense”( Page 28). In this quote, Holmes has predicted where Watson has been for the last three hours. Watson seems to be always surprised on how Holmes always knows exactly where he is. This shows how remarkable Holmes is a detective or simply the close bond he has with Watson. It is quite interesting how Watson takes pleasure in Holmes is sassiness towards him. All friendships have a few unique aspects that make the relationship more special.

     Another concept I saw using the lens between The Hound of the Baskerville and Lady Audley’s Secret is the focus on how much detail is put into the description of the grounds of Baskerville Hall and Audley court. Both these authors could have focused on this topic because it is an essential part of where the mystery unfolds. Both these novels taken place in the Victorian era, they have the similar vibe of being massive in size, yet only a few people live and occupy the space It leads to questions of could there be someone or something lurking in the spaces that aren’t occupied? It is going to be interesting to see in the novel what will be discovered “Beyond, two copses of trees moaned and swung in a rising wind. A half moon broke through the rifts of racing clouds. In its cold light, I saw beyond the trees a broken fringe of rocks and the long, low curve of the melancholy moor” (page 61). This quote gives me the sensation that the hound is sulking around near Baskerville Hall. With all the mysterious sudden deaths and disappearances in both novels, the detectives of these novels are able to shine and show what they are really capable of discovering. Essentially every detail of information plays a huge part in any type of mystery. 

6 Comments

  1. While I find both “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and “Lady Audley’s Secret” to revolve partly around the way a main male lead talks or thinks about his male character counterpart, I think there are some significant differences between the two relationships. These differences mostly arise due to the character differences between Watson and Robert.

    Dr. Watson cares greatly for Holmes, in my opinion, because he believes he holds some favor in Holmes’ eyes. This may or may not be true; Sherlock is a being who accepts companionship for convenience reasons, or to benefit himself or his cases. I would argue that someone like Sherlock Holmes can never truly have a friend. Robert’s obsession with George is a little less clear, in the sense that, with George disappearing so early in the novel, we don’t get a lot of time seeing how he feels about Robert. George, in contrast to Holmes, seems to crave and appreciate companionship, particularly because his father is so standoffish and George refuses to emulate his father in any way.

    However, upon hearing about the “death of his wife” George sinks into a reverie that makes his inner thoughts and feelings as inaccessible as I would argue Holmes’ are. The two characters obtain as many similarities as they’re going to, and it is here that the relationship between both sets of male leads is closest comparatively. Watson and Robert become mirror images when they seek to unlock the secrets of their friend’s interiors.

  2. theladydothprotest

    October 2, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I find it both interesting and true that one can interpret Sherlock Holmes’ relationship with Watson in different ways. I usually would think that the reason Holmes always knows where Watson is or rather, has been, in your example, is because he is a super capable detective with skills others do not have. But at the same time, as you argue, Holmes and Watson are so close that it is hardly deniably a reason for why Holmes would have known where Watson was.

  3. I thought about the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and Watson also. I find their dynamic to be incredible unique. They act almost like well oiled machine and carry out their duties with unmatched precision. The quote you use to demonstrate the relationship between Holmes and Watson is perfect. It shows exactly the little games of one upping they play with each other. In regards to how this relationship relates to that of the relationship between George and Robert, I feel as if Sherlock and Watson are less “bromance” like and more professional. I think they are just really close co-workers and nothing more.

  4. I found the same similarity interesting between Robert/George and Holmes/Watson. After finishing both books I realized that this similarity seems even more apparent. For example, Robert lost George and thought he was dead, and on his own to uncover the mystery at Audley Court. In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Watson believed that Holmes was in London and that he was on his own to solve the mystery at Baskerville Hall. However, they both didn’t realize that their friends were nearby. I think this goes to show how both Robert and Watson had an underlying drive to solve the case and satisfy their friends. Also despite not knowing about their friends they still worked extra hard, for example when Watson gave extensive descriptions of all the events that happened at Baskerville Hall, although Holmes was way ahead of him. Do you believe that Robert and Watson’s will to solve the mysteries in these two books stems from their relationships with their friends, George and Holmes?

  5. I too have noticed the similarities between the “bromance” between Watson and Holmes, and that of Robert and George. Though Holmes may often be condescending and unapologetically rude to Watson, his bluntness balances out Watson’s overall confusion and dependency on him; it seems Watson relies on Holmes for nearly everything he does and, like a small child, requires one to constantly tell him what to do. As we mentioned in class, there is somewhat of a fatherly aspect of both pairs of men, where Holmes and Robert seem to protect and take care of their friend.

  6. You make a good point about the relationship between male characters in both of the novels we have read. In these novels, men consider women to romantic companions, that is they see women as suitable for marriage, but not necessarily suitable for an intellectual conversation. Nearly every connection between men and women in these novels are due to women being subservient to men; either through marriage or work (i.e. maids like Phoebe). Relationships between two male characters have far more depth to them. Whether it is Sherlock Holmes talking with Dr. Mortimer about craniology or Robert comforting George about his wife’s death, men appear to have deep connections to each other. Conversely, the relationship between Sir Michael and Lady Audley is far less deep. Sir Michael is sycophantic to Lady Audley, yet they never have any meaningful conversations and Lady Audley never appears to even care about Sir Michael. Overall, relationships between men in the literature we have read have deeper, more meaningful relationships. This may reflect the view at the time that women were not suitable companions intellectually, rather it asserts that women were only good for having and raising children (an opinion that was prevalent in Victorian society, but today is seen as dreadfully old-fashioned and discriminatory).

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