Naked Is the Best Disguise

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Naked is the Best Disguise: The Death and Resurrection of Sherlock Holmes (ISBN 0-14-004030-7) is a book by Samuel Rosenberg speculating on the alleged hidden meanings in the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and examining the influence of his writings on other works, especially James Joyce's Ulysses. Published in 1974, this book argues for a surprising relationship between the Sherlock Holmes stories and Nietzsche, Oscar Wilde, Dionysus, Christ, Catullus, John Bunyan, Robert Browning, Boccaccio, Napoleon, Racine, Frankenstein, Flaubert, George Sand, Socrates, Poe, General Charles George Gordon, Melville, Joyce's Ulysses, T. S. Eliot, and many others.

The title comes from lines in William Congreve's The Double Dealer (1694).

No mask like open truth to cover lies,
As to go naked is the best disguise.

This alludes to Samuel Rosenberg's premise that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle openly left clues throughout his works revealing his innermost hidden thoughts.

Rosenberg's book was received with disdain by Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts and scholars in the 1970s. It is recognized as the first book of literary criticism about Doyle to appear in print, although many other more respected works have followed.

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