“A thief in the night” is a collection of short stories published in 1905 by E.W. Hornung and features the gentleman thief Arthur J. Raffles and his sidekick Harry “Bunny” Manders.
A thief in the night
This is the third and last of the Raffles collections of short stories, following “The amateur cracksman” and “Black mask”. They include…Retour en haut de page
Raffles is a gentleman thief and a cricketer. He is always accompanied by his sidekick Bunny Manders. Together, and often to Bunny’s dismay, they roam around London and rob jewels and mansions belonging to the high society. Hornung dedicated the first series to his brother-in-law Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle has always been critical of his less famous brother-in-law and the relationship has often been strained. Doyle writes : “I think I may claim his most famous character was a kind of inversion of Sherlock Holmes, Bunny playing Watson. He admits as much in his kindly dedication. I think there are few finer examples of short-story writing in our language than these, though I confess I think they are rather dangerous in their suggestion. I told him so before he put pen to paper, and the result has, I fear, borne me out. You must not make the criminal a hero.”
Raffles was one of the first literary signs of revolt against Victorian times. For the first time, a criminal is made into a hero, symbolizing a break from the old order.Retour en haut de page
Raffles has inspired numerous 20th century authors. Graham Greene wrote a play called “The return of A.J. Raffles”. George Orwell wrote an essay called “Raffles and Miss Blandish”.
Raffles as an antihero is said to have inspired numerous characters such as the Saint or James Bond.Retour en haut de page
Raffles is born in 1898 and ends in 1909. But in 1905, Maurice Leblanc creates Arsène Lupin, the gentleman-cambrioleur, who will become one of the most famous literary characters in France. Leblanc cannot not have known of Raffles, and so was likely inspired by him, although Lupin is a far more multidimensional character, and does not have a sidekick, as French heroes rarely do.
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