Study Guide

The Hound of the Baskervilles What's Up With the Title?

By Arthur Conan Doyle

What's Up With the Title?

The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of detective fiction's great titles. It's got rhythm. It has an old-fashioned edge ("Hound" instead of "Dog"), and it invites us into the mystery right off the bat: who are the Baskervilles? What's this about a hound? The title makes us want to jump right in, and when we do, we're rewarded with the story of the Hound right away.

Conan Doyle got both the "Hound" part and the "Baskerville" part from other sources: as we mentioned in our "In a Nutshell" section, the inspiration for the ghost dog of Dartmoor came from Bertram Fletcher Robinson, a journalist and golf buddy of Conan Doyle.

As for the "Baskerville" part, Robinson had a driver named "Harry Baskerville," who probably provided the name (if not the fabulous wealth and the giant house) for the Baskerville family in the novel. We like Conan Doyle's ear for cool names; somehow The Hound of the Potters or The Hound of the Bagginses doesn't quite cut it.

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