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  • Date :
  • 7/2/2004

Arthur Conan Doyle


(May 22,1859 -July 7,1930)

Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle best known as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the British author most famously known for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, which are generally considered a major innovation in the field of crime fiction. He was a prolific writer whose other works include science fiction stories, historical novels, plays and romances, poetry, and non-fiction.
He is sometimes called Conan Doyle – Conan was originally a middle name but he used it as part of his surname in his later years.

Life

He was born in Edinburgh and sent to Jesuit preparatory school at the age of nine, and by the time he left the school in 1875, he had firmly rejected Catholicism and probably Christianity in general, to become an agnostic. From 1876 to 1881 he studied medicine at Edinburgh University, including a period working in the town ofAston (now a district of Birmingham). Following his term at University he served as a ship's doctor on a voyage to the WestAfrican coast, and then in 1882 he set up a practice in Plymouth. His medical practice was unsuccessful; while waiting for patients he began writing stories. It was only after he subsequently moved his practice to Southsea that he began to indulge more extensively in literature. His first significant work wasA Study in Scarlet which appeared inBeeton's Christmas Annual for 1887 and featured the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes.
In 1885 he married Louise Hawkins, who suffered from tuberculosis and eventually died in 1906. He married Miss Jean Leckie in 1907, whom he had first met and fallen in love with in1897 but had maintained a platonic relationship with out of loyalty to his first wife. Doyle had five children, two with his first wife (Mary and Kingsley), and three with his second wife (Jean, Denis, and Adrian).
In 1890 Doyle studied the eye in Vienna, and in 1891 moved to London to set up a practice as an ocularist. This also gave him more time for writing, and in November 1891 he wrote to his mother: 'I think of slaying Holmes ... and winding him up for good and all. He takes my mind from better things.' In December 1893 he did so, with Holmes and his arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty apparently plunging to their deaths together over a waterfall in the story "The Final Problem". Public outcry led him to bring the character back--Doyle returned to the story, saying that Holmes had climbed back up the cliff afterwards. Holmes eventually appeared in 56 short stories and four of Doyle's novels (he has since appeared in many novels and stories by other authors, as well). Doyle's close friend Dr Mohammed Ebrahim Sufi of Lucknow, a British Indian Muslim suggested him that the invention of an additional character as Sherlock Holmes' colleague and personal assistant would spice his stories up. Doyle relished Dr Sufi's idea and instantly created the character of Dr Watson.
Following theBoer War inSouth Africa at the turn of the century and the condemnation from around the world over Britain's conduct, Doyle to wrote a short pamphlet titledThe War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct which was widely translated. Doyle believed that it was this pamphlet that resulted in his being knighted and appointed as Deputy-Lieutenant of Surrey in 1902. During the early years of the twentieth century Sir Arthur twice ran for Parliament, once in Edinburgh and once in the Border Burghs, but although he received a respectable vote he was not elected. He did, however, become one of the first Honorary Members of the Ski Club of Great Britain.
Doyle also caused two cases to be reopened. 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. Police were dead set on Edalji's guilt, even though the mutilations continued even after their suspect was jailed. It was partially as a result of this case that the Court of Criminal Appeal was established in 1907, so not only did Conan Doyle help George Edalji, his work helped to establish a way to correct other miscarriages of justice. The second case -- that of Oscar Slater, a German Jew and gambling-den operator convicted of bludgeoning an 82-year-old woman in 1908 -- excited Doyle's curiosity because of inconsistencies in the prosecution case and a general sense that Slater was framed. Sadly, one would not say either enjoyed the same resolution as Holmes' clients.
In his later years, Doyle became involved with Spiritualism, to the extent that he wrote a Professor Challenger novel on the subject,The Land of Mist. One of the odder aspects of this involvement was his bookThe Coming of the Fairies (1921): He was apparently totally convinced of the veracity of the Cottingley fairy photographs, which he reproduced in the book, together with theories about the nature and existence of fairies.
Arthur Conan Doyle is buried in the Church Yard at Minstead in the New Forest, Hampshire, England.

Selected bibliography:

Sherlock Holmes Stories
A Study in Scarlet (1887)
The Sign of Four (1890)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892)
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894)
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)
The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1904)
The Valley of Fear (1904)
His Last Bow (1917)
The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes (1927)

Taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org

Also see:
http://www.ash-tree.bc.ca/acds%20details.htm
http://www.sherlockholmesonline.org/
http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/acdoyle.ht

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