Rankin accuses Jowell of 'literary snobbery' over refusal to list Conan Doyle's house
SCOTTISH crime writer Ian Rankin has accused government minister Tessa Jowell of "literary snobbery" over her refusal to recognise the Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle as one of Britain's literary giants.
Campaigners fighting to save Conan Doyle's Surrey home where he wrote The Hound of The Baskervilles asked Ms Jowell to upgrade the mansion to Grade I status to ensure its preservation.
However, the Culture Secretary has refused to save Undershaw, where Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes, because the Scottish writer "does not occupy a significant enough position in the nation's consciousness".
The house was partly designed in 1897 by Conan Doyle himself, along with architect Joseph Henry Hall, and was used by the writer to entertain many literary guests including Bram Stoker and the young Virginia Woolf.
But while the fictional home of Sherlock Holmes in Baker Street receives more visitors than Jane Austen's house and the Dickens' House Museum, which are both Grade I-listed, Undershaw has been turned down for upgrading.
Yesterday Rankin, the Scots author behind the Rebus novels, said: "Conan Doyle may not have a great standing in the universities, but around the world, more people know about and read Sherlock Holmes than read Jane Austen. He created one of the most recognisable and archetypal figures in literature, and if his house is not worth saving, then I would say that no house is worth saving.
"It would appear that there's an element of literary snobbery in this."
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