Holmes had the impersonal joy of the true artist in his better work, even as he mourned darkly when it fell below the high level to which he aspired. - the valley of fear

I wonder what 'the impersonal joy' means.


1 Answer 1


My interpretation of this sentence is that his joy had no element of ego; Holmes had the joy of an artist who was too deeply involved in the process to be thinking "this is such a great work I have produced" or "my mentor will love this" or "this will make me rich and famous" or even "this looks great!". There was no thought whatsoever of "I."

Instead he was simply reveling in the simple feeling of joy like a small child at play, or or like a bicyclist coasting down a large, steep hill, or like a runner who has hit his stride, feels good, and is "in the flow." He had the same joy of a true artist so immersed and engrossed in the joyful act of making art that the rest of the world might as well not exist.

This is my interpretation, and I'm sure others may have differing interpretations.

  • Thanks for your help. You helped me visualize the meaning very well.
    – pearl7721
    Jul 2, 2016 at 2:28
  • I'm glad I could help. Thank you for reminding me of Sherlock Holmes -- I've been meaning to read some of those stories! Jul 2, 2016 at 2:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.