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Arthur Conan Doyle
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The Sacred Writings > A Scandal in Bohemia

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message 1: by Joanna (new)

Joanna (foxwrapped) | 353 comments I am currently reading Leslie Klinger's annotated "Scandal". Oh, I forget how much I love the original stories! I have a question to pose to you all: do you think Irene Adler is dead? She is introduced as "the late Irene Adler, of questionable and dubious memory." But is this simply wordplay? Is she "late" because she is now Irene Norton?

I personally feel that she is dead.


message 2: by Ruiisu (new)

Ruiisu | 2 comments Well I haven't read all of the original story's yet but I think it might just be the word play. If she never is seen again i think its because of Sherlock Holmes does not look for her. In The Sign of Four at the end of chapter 12 he does say "love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things. I should never marry myself, lest I bias my judgment."


message 3: by C.O. (new)

C.O. Bonham (dolphin18cb) | 54 comments I really like the way that it was handled in Goodnight Mr. Holmes.

Though personally since the Canon is written, for the most part, in a past tense point of view I had always just asumed that "Watson" was writting the story at time in the future after Irene's death so as to avoid ruining the Lady's life by making public the Scandal. It didn't matter if the King was dead because the jerk brought the scandal on himself.


message 4: by Liv (new)

Liv (osf1998) | 12 comments Joanna wrote: "I am currently reading Leslie Klinger's annotated "Scandal". Oh, I forget how much I love the original stories! I have a question to pose to you all: do you think Irene Adler is dead? She is introd..."

I don't think she's dead. I feel like Doyle would have mentioned something...


message 5: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 165 comments In the 19th century, "late" could be taken to mean "until very recently" or "former" (i.e., the former Irene Adler). It also meant "former" in the sense of the last person to hold a position or office - so one might say, "the late Prime Minister" meaning the one immediately preceding the current one; not necessarily the dead one.


message 6: by Crystle (last edited Mar 05, 2012 11:08PM) (new)

Crystle | 4 comments I assumed that "late" referred to her changing her name after getting married. But I may have to re-read the story. Also I think Libby makes a good point about how Doyle/Watson would have probably emphasized it more if she was dead.


message 7: by Joanna (new)

Joanna (foxwrapped) | 353 comments I am not entirely convinced that "late" in this story means unquestionably "former," and that the confusion is simply because word usage has changed since the Victorian era. This webpage which talks a little about the usage of "late" and maiden names. It says that "late" would roughly translate to "nee," and when "late" is applied before the given name it means the person is dead (like the late Irene Adler). It refers to the maiden name in situations like Irene late Adler (Irene nee Adler).

I agree with Cathrine in that I think Conan Doyle was playing at gentlemanly discretion. He had Watson wait until her death until he can share her story.

The most convincing argument I have heard for her being alive was that "the late Irene Adler" was a joke. He meant for people to assume she was dead and have people think that this was the murder in this mystery, when actually it was a wedding that made her "late." Haha!


message 8: by Joe (new)

Joe Revill | 14 comments There might be a little ambiguity about "late", but calling her "the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory", seems to me to make it quite certain that she was dead at the time of writing (1891).


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