A study in furniture: The moonstone’s “detective fever” and pharmacy of deduction

Chatterjee, Arup K. (2022) A study in furniture: The moonstone’s “detective fever” and pharmacy of deduction. Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, 24 (1). pp. 142-171. ISSN 15248429

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This article challenges notions of furniture as being merely figures of speech in Victorian fiction, through what is here demonstrated in an archetypology of furniture based on Wilkie Collins’s novel, The Moonstone (1868). Taking the story beyond its allegory of imperial psychology, I chart the functional aspects of furniture, viewed as archetypes. The Moonstone inspired the interiors of detective plots in the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, enabling furniture to transcend its status as dispensable nouns and assume archetypal roles that catalyse and morph the interiors and plots of literary texts. The Moonstone overturned prescriptive and eroticized stereotypes of Victorian parlours, replacing them with male-criminal-and-detective archetypes and the archetypal pharmacy—the prototypical 221B Baker Street quarters. The novel furnished characters’ intimate relationships to objects (glass artifacts, tables and chairs, chests of drawers, and bookshelves), which in turn furnishes the detective plot, at a time when Victorian aesthetics was witnessing a functionalist turn. This in turn shaped the investigative spaces of Holmes and Poirot with tremendous value derived from the new archetypal functions of furniture.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Wilkie Collins | The Moonstone | Victorian | Furniture | Hercule Poirot | Sherlock Holmes | Detective fiction | Archetypes
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Arts and Humanities > Literature and Literary Theory
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Mr. Syed Anas
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2022 05:53
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2022 05:53
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.5325/intelitestud.24.1.0142
URI: https://pure.jgu.edu.in/id/eprint/2355


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