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My Potential Patients: Origins, Detection, and Transference in - page 26 / 69

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Cohen 23

discourse," andfabula, "the order of events referred to by the narrative" (12). While

thefabula is one sense primary in sequence and importance as the account of "what

really happened," it is simultaneously secondary, "a mental construction that the

reader derives from the

sjuiet,

which is all that he ever directly knows" (13). Echoing

Russian Formalist critic Tzvetan Todorov, Brooks notes that the detective's

investigation is the province of the

sjuiet

and the criminal's actions that of thefabula

(25). Since plot arises from the action of the

sjuiet

on thefabula

(13),

the detective

story can be seen as the ur-text, "the narrative of narratives" (25) that dramatizes the

relationship between an event and its reformulated presentation.

Though Brooks grounds his claims in a reading of

Conan

Doyle's "The

Musgrave Ritual," another Sherlock Holmes story is more pertinent to a comparative

look at the inverted structures and involuted narratives surrounding the acts of

decryption in The Wolf-Man and Pale Fire. In "The Final Problem," Sherlock

Holmes is pursued by a malicious doppelganger in a contest of rationality that ends

with the apparent death of both. Although he has never before mentioned to Watson

the existence of an English crime kingpin, an unusually apprehensive Holmes bursts

in on his former colleague and claims to "have continually been conscious of some

power behind the malefactor, some deep organizing power" (Adventures 491):

"For years I have endeavored to break through the veil which shrouded it, and

at last the time came when I seized my thread and followed it, until it led me,

after a thousand cunning windings, to ex-Professor Moriarty of mathematical

celebrity.

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