Arthur Conan Doyle


A 1927 Fox newsreal interview with the author and spiritualist, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He speaks about his greatest literary creation, Sherlock Holmes, and his work in spiritualism.

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle Venerable Order of Saint John, Deputy Lieutenant (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a Scottish physician and writer who is most noted for his fictional stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, which are generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction. He is also known for writing the fictional adventures of a second character he invented, Professor Challenger, and for popularising the mystery of the Mary Celeste. He was a prolific writer whose other works include fantasy and science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction and historical novels.

Life and career

=Early life=

Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born on 22 May 1859 at 11 Picardy Place, Edinburgh, Scotland.< Name="Brit"></><></> His father, Charles Altamont Doyle, was born in England of Irish Catholic descent, and his mother, Mary (née Foley), was Irish Catholic. His parents married in 1855.</> though he would eventually become a spiritualism mysticism.
From 1876 to 1881 he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School, including a period working in Aston (now a district of Birmingham) and Sheffield, as well as Ruyton-XI-Towns, Shropshire.< name=Brown></> While studying, Doyle began writing short stories. His earliest extant fiction, "The Haunted Grange of Goresthorpe", was unsuccessfully submitted to Blackwood's Magazine. </><> </>
Doyle was employed as a doctor on the Greenland whaler Hope of Peterhead in 1880</><></>


Although Doyle is often erred to as "Conan Doyle", his baptism entry in the register of St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh (Roman Catholic), Edinburgh, gives "Arthur Ignatius Conan" as his Christian names, and simply "Doyle" as his surname. It also names Michael Conan as his godparent.<>Stashower says that the compound version of his surname originated from his great-uncle Michael Conan, a distinguished journalist, from whom Arthur and his elder sister, Annette, received the compound surname of "Conan Doyle" (Stashower 20–21). The same source points out that in 1885 he was describing himself on the brass nameplate outside his house, and on his doctoral thesis, as "A. Conan Doyle" (Stashower 70). However, the 1901 census indicates that Conan Doyle's surname was "Doyle", leading some sources to assert that the form "Conan Doyle" was used as a surname only in his later years.</> The cataloguers of the British Library and the Library of Congress treat "Doyle" alone as his surname. When knighted he was gazetted as Doyle, not under the compound Conan Doyle.< name="LGKnight"></> Nevertheless, the actual use of a compound surname is demonstrated by the fact that Doyle's second wife was known as "Jean Conan Doyle" rather than "Jean Doyle". Arriving in Portsmouth in June 1882 with less than £10 (£ today) to his name, he set up a medical practice at 1 Bush Villas in Elm Grove, Southsea. He wrote in his autobiography that not a single patient crossed his door.

=Literary career=

==Sherlock Holmes==

File:Arthur Conan Doyle by Herbert Rose Barraud 1893.jpg, 1893}}}
Doyle's first work featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson was the novel A Study in Scarlet. It was taken by Ward Lock & Co on 20 November 1886, giving Doyle £25 for all rights to the story. The piece appeared later that year in the Beeton's Christmas Annual and received good reviews in The Scotsman and the Glasgow Herald. Dr. (John) Watson owes his surname, but not any other obvious characteristic, to a Portsmouth medical colleague of Doyle's, Dr James Watson.< name="Life"></>
Robert Louis Stevenson was able, even in faraway Samoa, to recognise the strong similarity between Joseph Bell and Sherlock Holmes: "My compliments on your very ingenious and very interesting adventures of Sherlock Holmes.&nbsp;... can this be my old friend Joe Bell?"</> In an attempt to deflect publishers' demands for more Holmes stories, he raised his price to a level intended to discourage them, but found they were willing to pay even the large sums he asked.

==Other works==

Doyle's first novels were The Mystery of Cloomber, not published until 1888, and the unfinished The Narrative of John Smith, published only in 2011.< name="johnsmith"></> He amassed a portfolio of short stories including "The Captain of the Pole-Star" and "J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement", both inspired by Doyle's time at sea, the latter of which popularised the mystery of the Mary Celeste and added fictional details such as the perfect condition of the ship (which had actually taken on water by the time it was discovered) and its boats remaining on board (the one boat was in fact missing) that have come to dominate popular accounts of the incident.</> (This club, disbanded in 1896, has no connection with the present-day Portsmouth F.C., which was founded in 1898.) Doyle was a keen cricketer, and between 1899 and 1907 he played 10 First-class cricket matches for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
His highest score, in 1902 against London County Cricket Club, was 43. He was an occasional bowler who took just one first-class wicket (although one of high pedigree—it was W. G. Grace).<></> Also a keen golfer, Doyle was elected captain of the Crowborough Beacon Golf Club in Sussex for 1910. (He had moved to Little Windlesham house in Crowborough with his second wife, Jean Leckie, living there with his family from 1907 until his death in July 1930.</>
Doyle fathered five children. He had two with his first wife: Mary Louise (28 January 1889&nbsp;– 12 June 1976) and Arthur Alleyne Kingsley, known as Kingsley (15 November 1892&nbsp;– 28 October 1918). He also had three with his second wife: Denis Percy Stewart (17 March 1909&nbsp;– 9 March 1955) second husband of Georgia (country) Princess Nina Mdivani, Adrian Conan Doyle (19 November 1910&nbsp;– 3 June 1970) and Jean Conan Doyle (21 December 1912&nbsp;– 18 November 1997).

=Political campaigning=

File:Arthur Conan Doyle house.JPG, London}}}
Following the Second Boer War in South Africa at the turn of the 20th century and the condemnation from around the world over the United Kingdom's conduct, Doyle wrote a short work titled The War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct, which justified the UK's role in the Boer War and was widely translated. Doyle had served as a volunteer doctor in the Langman Field Hospital at Bloemfontein between March and June 1900.</> Also in 1900 he wrote a book, The Great Boer War.
During the early years of the 20th century, he twice stood for Parliament as a Liberal Unionist Party—once in Edinburgh and once in the Hawick Burghs (UK Parliament constituency)—but although he received a respectable vote, he was not elected. In May 1903 he was appointed a Knight of Grace of the Venerable Order of Saint John.<></>
Doyle was a supporter of the campaign for the orm of the Congo Free State, led by the journalist E. D. Morel and diplomat Roger Casement. During 1909 he wrote The Crime of the Congo, a long pamphlet in which he denounced the horrors of that colony. He became acquainted with Morel and Casement, and it is possible that, together with Bertram Fletcher Robinson, they inspired several characters in the 1912 novel The Lost World (Arthur Conan Doyle).<></> Doyle broke with both Morel and Casement when Morel became one of the leaders of the pacifism movement during the First World War. When Casement was found guilty of treason against the Crown during the Easter Rising, Doyle tried unsuccessfully to save him from facing the death penalty, arguing that Casement had been driven mad and could not be held responsible for his actions.

=Correcting injustice=

Doyle was also a fervent advocate of justice and personally investigated two closed cases, which led to two men being exonerated of the crimes of which they were accused. The first case, in 1906, involved a shy half-British, half-Indian lawyer named George Edalji who had allegedly penned threatening letters and mutilated animals in Great Wyrley. Police were set on Edalji's conviction, even though the mutilations continued after their suspect was jailed.
It was partially as a result of this case that the Court of Criminal Appeal was established in 1907. Apart from helping George Edalji, his work helped establish a way to correct other miscarriages of justice. The story of Doyle and Edalji was fictionalised in Julian Barnes's 2005 novel Arthur & George and dramatised in an episode of the 1972 BBC television series, "The Edwardians". In Nicholas Meyer's pastiche The West End Horror (1976), Holmes manages to help clear the name of a shy Parsi Indian character wronged by the English justice system. Edalji was of Parsi heritage on his father's side.
The second case, that of Oscar Slater, a German Jew and gambling-den operator convicted of bludgeoning an 82-year-old woman in Glasgow in 1908, excited Doyle's curiosity because of inconsistencies in the prosecution case and a general sense that Slater was not guilty. He ended up paying most of the costs for Slater's successful appeal in 1928.<></>


File:Cottingley Fairies 1.jpg
Following the death of his wife Louisa in 1906, the death of his son Kingsley just before the end of the First World War, and the deaths of his brother Innes, his two brothers-in-law (one of whom was Ernest William Hornung, creator of the literary character A. J. Raffles) and his two nephews shortly after the war, Doyle sank into depression. He found solace supporting spiritualism and its attempts to find proof of existence beyond the grave. In particular, according to some,<></> he favoured Spiritualism (beliefs) and encouraged the Spiritualists' National Union to accept an eighth precept – that of following the teachings and example of Jesus. He was a member of the renowned supernatural organisation The Ghost Club.<></>
File:Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and family.jpg
On 28 October 1918, Kingsley Doyle died from pneumonia, which he contracted during his convalescence after being seriously wounded during the 1916 Battle of the Somme. Brigadier-General Innes Doyle died, also from pneumonia, in February 1919. Sir Arthur became involved with Spiritualism to the extent that he wrote a novella on the subject, The Land of Mist, featuring the character Professor Challenger. The Coming of the Fairies (1922)<></> appears to show that Conan Doyle was convinced of the veracity of the five Cottingley Fairies photographs (which decades later were exposed as a hoax). He reproduced them in the book, together with theories about the nature and existence of fairies and spirits.
In The History of Spiritualism (1926), Doyle praised the psychic phenomena and spirit materialisations produced by Eusapia Palladino and Mina Crandon.
File:Bundesarchiv Bild 102-10068, Schriftsteller Conan Doyle mit seinem Sohn.jpg}}}
In 1920 Doyle debated the notable sceptic Joseph McCabe on the claims of Spiritualism at Queen's Hall in London. McCabe later published his evidence against Doyle and Spiritualism in a booklet entitled Is Spiritualism Based on Fraud? which claimed Doyle had been duped into believing Spiritualism by mediumship trickery.</><></> Samuel Rosenberg's 1974 book Naked is the Best Disguise purports to explain how, throughout his writings, Doyle left open clues that related to hidden and suppressed aspects of his mentality.
In 1970, a woman identified only as "Vera" claimed she had transcribed works via her dead mother from numerous deceased authors including Doyle. Her father, a retired 73-year-old bank officer only identified as "Mr. A", submitted the material – a collection entitled Take Over (James Bond)#Tales of Mystery and Imagination – to author Peter Fleming (writer) who dismissed it as "tosh". Author Duff Hart-Davis noted that the work was "crude, devoid of literary merit, and all almost exactly the same" despite allegedly being the work of numerous authors.<> The other authors included Ian Fleming, H. G. Wells, Edgar Wallace, Ruby M. Ayres, W. Somerset Maugham and George Bernard Shaw.</>


File:Doyle Arthur Conan grave.jpg, England}}}
Doyle was found clutching his chest in the hall of Windlesham Manor, his house in Crowborough, East Sussex, on 7 July 1930. He died of a heart attack at the age of 71. His last words were directed toward his wife: "You are wonderful."</> was a hotel and restaurant from 1924 until 2004. It was then bought by a developer and stood empty while conservationists and Doyle fans fought to preserve it.< name="Leeman"/> In 2012 the High Court ruled the redevelopment permission be quashed because proper procedure had not been followed.< name="BBC121112"></>
A statue honours Doyle at Crowborough Cross in Crowborough, where he lived for 23 years.<></> There is a statue of Sherlock Holmes in Picardy Place, Edinburgh, close to the house where Doyle was born.


See also

  • Physician writer#19th century
  • William Gillette, a personal friend who performed the most famous stage version of Sherlock Holmes (play)
  • List of Freemasons

  • Arthur Conan Doyle Online Exhibition
  • Conan Doyle in Birmingham
  • The Arthur Conan Doyle Society
  • Works at Project Gutenberg Australia
  • Online works available from the University of Adelaide Library
  • Works of Arthur Conan Doyle available as freely downloadable eBooks at University of Virginia EText Center
  • C. Frederick Kittle's Collection of Doyleana] at

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