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Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle Arthur Conan Doyle[1†]

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a British writer and physician[1†]. He is most famous for his creation of the detective Sherlock Holmes, one of the most vivid and enduring characters in English fiction[1†][2†][1†]. This character first appeared in “A Study in Scarlet”, which was the first of four novels and fifty-six short stories about Holmes and Dr. Watson[1†]. These stories are considered milestones in the field of crime fiction[1†].

Conan Doyle was not only a prolific writer of detective stories. His works also include fantasy and science fiction stories about Professor Challenger, humorous stories about the Napoleonic soldier Brigadier Gerard, as well as plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction, and historical novels[1†]. One of his early short stories, “J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement” (1884), helped to popularize the mystery of the Mary Celeste[1†].

Early Years and Education

Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born on May 22, 1859, in Edinburgh, Scotland[2†][3†]. He was the eldest son of Charles Altamont Doyle, a civil servant, and his wife Mary Foley[2†][3†][4†]. His parents were of Irish-Catholic descent[2†][3†].

Doyle’s early education began in 1868 at Hodder Place, Stonyhurst - a Jesuit preparatory school in Lancashire, England[2†]. He later attended the Stella Matutina Jesuit School in Feldkirch, Austria[2†]. These formative years in Jesuit schools would later influence his work[2†].

In 1876, he enrolled at the University of Edinburgh’s Medical School[2†][3†]. During his time at the university, he was deeply impressed by the diagnostic deduction skills of his professor, Dr. Joseph Bell[2†]. This mastery of minute detail would later serve as the model for Doyle’s character, Sherlock Holmes[2†].

Doyle graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Master of Surgery in 1881, and later earned his M.D. in 1885[2†]. His thesis was titled "An Essay upon the Vasomotor Changes in Tabes Dorsalis"[2†].

While studying medicine, Doyle began writing short stories[2†][3†]. His first published story, “The Mystery of Sasassa Valley”, appeared in Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal on September 6, 1879[2†][3†].

Career Development and Achievements

After completing his medical education, Conan Doyle was appointed as a ship’s surgeon on the SS Mayumba during a voyage to the West African coast[2†]. He started his own medical practice in Southsea, England, in 1882[2†]. While his practice was not thriving, he began writing detective stories[2†].

Conan Doyle introduced the character of Sherlock Holmes in 1887 in "A Study in Scarlet"[2†][1†][2†]. The character was featured in a total of four novels and fifty-six short stories[2†][1†][2†]. The Sherlock Holmes stories are considered milestones in the field of crime fiction[2†][1†][2†].

In addition to the Sherlock Holmes stories, Conan Doyle wrote a series of science fiction stories about Professor Challenger[2†][1†][2†]. He also wrote plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction, and historical novels[2†][1†][2†]. One of his early short stories, “J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement” (1884), helped to popularize the mystery of the Mary Celeste[2†][1†][2†].

Conan Doyle was a prolific writer, and his other works include “The Firm of Girdlestone” (1890) and “The Stark Munro Letters” (1895), as well as a collection of medical short stories “Round the Red Lamp” (1894)[2†].

In 1902, Conan Doyle was knighted for his work with a field hospital in South Africa[2†][5†]. After his son died in World War I, Conan Doyle became a dedicated spiritualist[2†][5†].

First Publication of His Main Works

Arthur Conan Doyle was a prolific writer, having written more than 300 fictions of various genres like history, fantasy, adventure, science-fiction, crimes, drama, war, and more[6†]. Here are some of his main works:

Doyle’s works have had a profound impact on the genre of detective fiction, and his characters, especially Sherlock Holmes, have become iconic figures in popular culture[6†][8†].

Analysis and Evaluation

Arthur Conan Doyle’s works, particularly his Sherlock Holmes stories, have had a profound impact on the genre of detective fiction[10†]. While he was not the first to write detective stories, his works refined and developed the formula first realized by Edgar Allan Poe[10†]. His stories have remained enormously popular and are considered the supreme example of crime fiction throughout the twentieth century[10†].

In his stories, the criminal act becomes a manifestation of potential chaos in the self and society, but the detective asserts reason’s power over this element, reassuring the reader of control over the self and safety within the social order[10†]. This form of storytelling has influenced many other writers, such as Ellery Queen, Agatha Christie, and John Dickson Carr, who create tightly constructed puzzles for their detectives to solve with clearly and closely reasoned analysis[10†].

Doyle’s character, Sherlock Holmes, has entered the popular imagination like no other. Sherlock Holmes is perhaps the most famous and popular character in detective fiction, if not in all modern fiction[10†]. The name of Sherlock Holmes has become synonymous with deduction, and “Elementary, my dear Watson” is a catchphrase even among those who have never read the stories[10†].

Personal Life

Arthur Conan Doyle was married twice in his lifetime[1†][4†][11†][12†]. His first wife was Louisa Hawkins, with whom he had two children[1†][12†]. Tragically, Louisa passed away from tuberculosis in 1906[1†][12†]. A year after her death, Conan Doyle married his longtime friend, Jean Leckie[1†][11†][12†]. Their union was a happy one and helped him remain highly productive as a writer[1†][11†]. Together, they had three children[1†][12†].

Conan Doyle’s personal life was also marked by the loss of his son Kingsley, who died in World War I[1†][4†]. This personal tragedy intensified his interest in psychic phenomena, and in his later years, he wrote and lectured extensively on spiritualism[1†][4†].

Conan Doyle passed away on July 7, 1930, in Crowborough, Sussex, England[1†][2†][1†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Arthur Conan Doyle’s legacy is vast and enduring. His creation, Sherlock Holmes, stands as one of the most famous characters in English literature[13†]. The detective’s stories have inspired over 200 films and 400 fan clubs worldwide[13†][14†]. Even people who have never read a Sherlock Holmes story know who Holmes is[13†][14†]. Conan Doyle’s stories have had a profound impact on the genre of detective fiction, with Holmes’ character embodying the rise of scientific methods in Western culture[13†][15†].

In addition to his contributions to literature, Conan Doyle also left behind a legacy in the realm of spiritualism[13†]. After the loss of his son and other family members, he became a vocal proponent of spiritualism, writing and lecturing extensively on the subject[13†].

Despite his diverse interests and contributions in various fields, Conan Doyle’s fame as a writer of detective fiction surpasses all[13†][16†]. His stories continue to captivate readers around the world, and his influence on literature and popular culture is undeniable[13†][17†][14†][15†][16†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - Arthur Conan Doyle [website] - link
  2. Britannica - Arthur Conan Doyle: British author [website] - link
  3. The Famous People - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Biography [website] - link
  4. Britannica Kids - Arthur Conan Doyle [website] - link
  5. History - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, is born [website] - link
  6. The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:Complete Works [website] - link
  7. Goodreads - Book: Complete Works of Arthur Conan Doyle [website] - link
  8. Wikipedia (English) - Arthur Conan Doyle bibliography [website] - link
  9. The Victorian Web - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Literary Career [website] - link
  10. eNotes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Analysis [website] - link
  11. PBS - American Experience - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) [website] - link
  12. Poetry Foundation - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [website] - link
  13. The National - The legacy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – the creator of the world's most famous detective [website] - link
  14. Scottish Rite - Current Interest: The Case of Conan Doyle's Legacy [website] - link
  15. New World Encyclopedia - Arthur Conan Doyle [website] - link
  16. The Guardian - From the archive, 8 July 1930: Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle dies [website] - link
  17. Victorian Era - Arthur Conan Doyle Biography, Education, Death and Legacy and Sherlock Holmes [website] - link
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