Arthur Conan Doyle
Overview
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL
Deputy Lieutenant
In the United Kingdom, a Deputy Lieutenant is one of several deputies to the Lord Lieutenant of a lieutenancy area; an English ceremonial county, Welsh preserved county, Scottish lieutenancy area, or Northern Irish county borough or county....

(22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective
Detective fiction
Detective fiction is a sub-genre of crime fiction and mystery fiction in which an investigator , either professional or amateur, investigates a crime, often murder.-In ancient literature:...

 Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The fantastic London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve...

, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction
Crime fiction
Crime fiction is the literary genre that fictionalizes crimes, their detection, criminals and their motives. It is usually distinguished from mainstream fiction and other genres such as science fiction or historical fiction, but boundaries can be, and indeed are, blurred...

, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger
Professor Challenger
George Edward Challenger, better known as Professor Challenger, is a fictional character in a series of science fiction stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle...

. He was a prolific writer whose other works include science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction, historical novels and humours ('Exploits of Brigadier E.Gerard').
Arthur Conan Doyle was born the third of ten siblings on 22 May 1859 in Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, Scotland.
Quotations

The highest morality may prove also to be the highest wisdom when the half-told story comes to be finished.

The Boer War (1902)

I should dearly love that the world should be ever so little better for my presence. Even on this small stage we have our two sides, and something might be done by throwing all one's weight on the scale of breadth, tolerance, charity, temperance, peace, and kindliness to man and beast. We can't all strike very big blows, and even the little ones count for something.

Encyclopedia
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL
Deputy Lieutenant
In the United Kingdom, a Deputy Lieutenant is one of several deputies to the Lord Lieutenant of a lieutenancy area; an English ceremonial county, Welsh preserved county, Scottish lieutenancy area, or Northern Irish county borough or county....

(22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective
Detective fiction
Detective fiction is a sub-genre of crime fiction and mystery fiction in which an investigator , either professional or amateur, investigates a crime, often murder.-In ancient literature:...

 Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The fantastic London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve...

, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction
Crime fiction
Crime fiction is the literary genre that fictionalizes crimes, their detection, criminals and their motives. It is usually distinguished from mainstream fiction and other genres such as science fiction or historical fiction, but boundaries can be, and indeed are, blurred...

, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger
Professor Challenger
George Edward Challenger, better known as Professor Challenger, is a fictional character in a series of science fiction stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle...

. He was a prolific writer whose other works include science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction, historical novels and humours ('Exploits of Brigadier E.Gerard').

Early life

Arthur Conan Doyle was born the third of ten siblings on 22 May 1859 in Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, Scotland. His father, Charles Altamont Doyle
Charles Altamont Doyle
Charles Altamont Doyle was a Victorian artist. He was the brother of the artist Richard Doyle, and the son of the artist John Doyle. Although the family was Irish, Doyle was born and raised in England....

, who was born in England of Irish descent, and his mother, born Mary Foley, who was Irish, had married in 1855. Doyle's father died in 1893, in the Crichton Royal
Crichton Campus
The Crichton is an institutional campus in Dumfries, south-west Scotland. It incorporates part of Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, a business park, and Crichton University Campus, which serves as a remote campus for the University of Glasgow, University of the West of Scotland , Dumfries and...

, Dumfries
Dumfries
Dumfries is a market town and former royal burgh within the Dumfries and Galloway council area of Scotland. It is near the mouth of the River Nith into the Solway Firth. Dumfries was the county town of the former county of Dumfriesshire. Dumfries is nicknamed Queen of the South...

, after many years of psychiatric illness.

Although he is now referred to as "Conan Doyle", the origin of this compound surname (if that is how he meant it to be understood) is uncertain. The entry in which his baptism is recorded in the register of St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh gives "Arthur Ignatius Conan" as his Christian name, and simply "Doyle" as his surname. It also names Michael Conan as his godfather.

Conan Doyle was sent to the Roman Catholic Jesuit
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 preparatory school Hodder Place
Stonyhurst Saint Mary's Hall
Stonyhurst St Mary's Hall is the preparatory school to Stonyhurst College. It is an independent co-educational Catholic school founded by the Society of Jesus . It is primarily a day school but has some boarders...

, Stonyhurst
Stonyhurst
Stonyhurst is the name of a rural estate owned by the Society of Jesus near Clitheroe in Lancashire, England. It is dominated by Stonyhurst College, its preparatory school Stonyhurst Saint Mary's Hall and the parish Church of St Peter's.-The Estate:...

, at the age of nine. He then went on to Stonyhurst College
Stonyhurst College
Stonyhurst College is a Roman Catholic independent school, adhering to the Jesuit tradition. It is located on the Stonyhurst Estate near the village of Hurst Green in the Ribble Valley area of Lancashire, England, and occupies a Grade I listed building...

 until 1875. From 1875 to 1876 he was educated at the Jesuit school Stella Matutina
Stella Matutina (Jesuit school)
Stella Matutina in Feldkirch, Austria, was a Jesuit school from 1651–1773 and from 1856-1979.- Short history:The “Kolleg” began in 1649 but opened formally in 1651. In 1773, when Pope Clement XIV discontinued the order of the Society of Jesus, the school closed...

 in Feldkirch
Feldkirch, Vorarlberg
- Schools :* Bundesgymnasium und Bundesrealgymnasium Feldkirch * Bundeshandelsakademie und Bundeshandelsschule Feldkirch* Bundesoberstufenrealgymnasium und Bundesrealgymnasium Schillerstrasse...

, Austria.

From 1876 to 1881 he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university...

, including a period working in the town of Aston
Aston
Aston is an area of the City of Birmingham, in the West Midlands of England. Lying to the north-east of the Birmingham city centre, Aston constitutes an electoral ward within the council constituency of Ladywood.-History:...

 (now a district of Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

) and in Sheffield. While studying, Conan Doyle also began writing short stories; his first published story appeared in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal
Chambers's Edinburgh Journal
Chambers's Edinburgh Journal was a weekly 16-page magazine started by William Chambers in 1832. The first edition was dated 4 February 1832, and priced at one penny. Topics included history, religion, language, and science...

before he was 20. Following his term at university, he was employed as a ship's surgeon on the SS Mayumba during a voyage to the West African coast. He completed his doctorate on the subject of tabes dorsalis
Tabes dorsalis
Tabes dorsalis is a slow degeneration of the sensory neurons that carry afferent information. The degenerating nerves are in the dorsal columns of the spinal cord and carry information that help maintain a person's sense of position , vibration, and discriminative touch.-Cause:Tabes dorsalis is...

in 1885.

Origins of Sherlock Holmes

In 1882 he joined former classmate George Budd as his partner at a medical practice in Plymouth
Plymouth
Plymouth is a city and unitary authority area on the coast of Devon, England, about south-west of London. It is built between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, where they join Plymouth Sound...

, but their relationship proved difficult, and Conan Doyle soon left to set up an independent practice. Arriving in Portsmouth
Portsmouth
Portsmouth is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is notable for being the United Kingdom's only island city; it is located mainly on Portsea Island...

 in June of that year with less than £10 to his name, he set up a medical practice at 1 Bush Villas in Elm Grove, Southsea
Southsea
Southsea is a seaside resort located in Portsmouth at the southern end of Portsea Island in the county of Hampshire in England. Southsea is within a mile of Portsmouth's city centre....

. The practice was initially not very successful; while waiting for patients, Conan Doyle again began writing stories and composed his first novel—The Narrative of John Smith—which would go unpublished until 2011. His first significant work, A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, introducing his new character of Sherlock Holmes, who later became one of the most famous literary detective characters. He wrote the story in 1886, and it was published the next year...

, appeared in Beeton's Christmas Annual
Beeton's Christmas Annual
Beeton's Christmas Annual was a paperback magazine printed in England yearly between 1860 and 1898, founded by Samuel Orchart Beeton. The November 1887 issue contained a novel by Arthur Conan Doyle entitled A Study in Scarlet which introduced the characters Sherlock Holmes and his friend Watson.-...

for 1887. It featured the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes, who was partially modelled after his former university teacher Joseph Bell
Joseph Bell
Joseph Bell, JP, DL, FRCS was a famous Scottish lecturer at the medical school of the University of Edinburgh in the 19th century. He is perhaps best known as an inspiration for the literary character Sherlock Holmes....

. Conan Doyle wrote to him, "It is most certainly to you that I owe Sherlock Holmes. ... [R]ound the centre of deduction and inference and observation which I have heard you inculcate I have tried to build up a man." Future short stories featuring Sherlock Holmes were published in the English Strand Magazine
Strand Magazine
The Strand Magazine was a monthly magazine composed of fictional stories and factual articles founded by George Newnes. It was first published in the United Kingdom from January 1891 to March 1950 running to 711 issues, though the first issue was on sale well before Christmas 1890.Its immediate...

.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer. His best-known books include Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde....

 was able, even in faraway Samoa, to recognise the strong similarity between Joseph Bell and Sherlock Holmes: "[M]y compliments on your very ingenious and very interesting adventures of Sherlock Holmes. ... [C]an this be my old friend Joe Bell?" Other authors sometimes suggest additional influences—for instance, the famous Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective...

 character C. Auguste Dupin.

While living in Southsea
Southsea
Southsea is a seaside resort located in Portsmouth at the southern end of Portsea Island in the county of Hampshire in England. Southsea is within a mile of Portsmouth's city centre....

, he played football as a goalkeeper for an amateur side, Portsmouth Association Football Club, under the pseudonym A. C. Smith. (This club, disbanded in 1894, had no connection with the present-day Portsmouth F.C.
Portsmouth F.C.
Portsmouth Football Club is an English football club based in the city of Portsmouth. The club is nicknamed Pompey. Portsmouth's home matches have been played at Fratton Park since the club's formation in 1898. The team currently play in the Football League Championship after being relegated from...

, which was founded in 1898.) Conan Doyle was also a keen cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

er, and between 1899 and 1907 he played 10 first-class
First-class cricket
First-class cricket is a class of cricket that consists of matches of three or more days' scheduled duration, that are between two sides of eleven players and are officially adjudged first-class by virtue of the standard of the competing teams...

 matches for the Marylebone Cricket Club
Marylebone Cricket Club
Marylebone Cricket Club is a cricket club in London founded in 1787. Its influence and longevity now witness it as a private members' club dedicated to the development of cricket. It owns, and is based at, Lord's Cricket Ground in St John's Wood, London NW8. MCC was formerly the governing body of...

 (MCC). His highest score, in 1902 against London County
London County Cricket Club
London County Cricket Club was a short-lived cricket club founded by the Crystal Palace Company. In 1898 they invited WG Grace to help them form a first-class cricket club. Grace accepted the offer and became the club's secretary, manager and captain. As a result, he severed his connection with...

, was 43. He was an occasional bowler who took just one first-class wicket (although one of high pedigree—it was W. G. Grace
W. G. Grace
William Gilbert Grace, MRCS, LRCP was an English amateur cricketer who is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest players of all time, having a special significance in terms of his importance to the development of the sport...

). Also a keen golfer, Conan Doyle was elected captain of the Crowborough
Crowborough
The highest point in the town is 242 metres above sea level. This summit is the highest point of the High Weald and second highest point in East Sussex . Its relative height is 159 m, meaning Crowborough qualifies as one of England's Marilyns...

 Beacon Golf Club, East Sussex
East Sussex
East Sussex is a county in South East England. It is bordered by the counties of Kent, Surrey and West Sussex, and to the south by the English Channel.-History:...

 for 1910. He moved to Little Windlesham house in Crowborough with his second wife Jean Leckie and their family from 1907 until his death in July 1930.

Marriages and family

In 1885 Conan Doyle married Louisa (or Louise) Hawkins, known as "Touie". She suffered from tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 and died on 4 July 1906. The next year he married Jean Elizabeth Leckie, whom he had first met and fallen in love with in 1897. He had maintained a platonic relationship
Platonic love
Platonic love is a chaste and strong type of love that is non-sexual.-Amor Platonicus:The term amor platonicus was coined as early as the 15th century by the Florentine scholar Marsilio Ficino. Platonic love in this original sense of the term is examined in Plato's dialogue the Symposium, which has...

 with Jean while his Louisa was still alive, out of loyalty to her. Jean died in London on 27 June 1940.

Conan Doyle fathered five children. He had two with his first wife:
  1. Mary Louise (28 January 1889 – 12 June 1976)
  2. Arthur Alleyne Kingsley, known as Kingsley (15 November 1892 – 28 October 1918)


and three with his second wife:
  1. Denis Percy Stewart (17 March 1909 – 9 March 1955), second husband of Georgian
    Georgia (country)
    Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

     Princess Nina Mdivani
  2. Adrian Malcolm
    Adrian Conan Doyle
    Adrian Malcolm Conan Doyle was the youngest son of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his second wife Jean, Lady Conan Doyle. He had two siblings, a sister, Jean, and a brother, Denis....

     (19 November 1910 – 3 June 1970)
  3. Jean Lena Annette
    Jean Conan Doyle
    Air Commandant Dame Lena Annette Jean Conan Doyle, Lady Bromet , DBE, AE, WRAF, ADC was best known as Jean Conan Doyle....

     (21 December 1912 – 18 November 1997).

"Death" of Sherlock Holmes

In 1890 Conan Doyle studied ophthalmology in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, and moved to London in 1891 to set up a practice as an ophthalmologist
Ophthalmology
Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye. An ophthalmologist is a specialist in medical and surgical eye problems...

. He wrote in his autobiography that not a single patient crossed his door. This 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." His mother responded, "You may do what you deem fit, but the crowds will not take this lightheartedly."

In December 1893, in order to dedicate more of his time to more "important" works—his historical novels—
Conan Doyle had Holmes and Professor Moriarty
Professor Moriarty
Professor James Moriarty is a fictional character and the archenemy of the detective Sherlock Holmes in the fiction of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Moriarty is a criminal mastermind, described by Holmes as the "Napoleon of Crime". Doyle lifted the phrase from a real Scotland Yard inspector who was...

 apparently plunge to their deaths together down the Reichenbach Falls
Reichenbach Falls
The Reichenbach Falls are a series of waterfalls on the River Aar near Meiringen in Bern canton in central Switzerland. They have a total drop of 250 m . At 90 m , the Upper Reichenbach Falls is one of the highest cataracts in the Alps...

 in the story "The Final Problem". Public outcry, however, led him to bring the character back in 1901, in The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of four crime novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialised in The Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, it is set largely on Dartmoor in Devon in England's West Country and tells the story of an...

, though this was set at a time before the Reichenbach incident. In 1903, Conan Doyle published his first Holmes short story in ten years, "The Adventure of the Empty House", in which it was explained that only Moriarty had fallen; but since Holmes had other dangerous enemies—especially Colonel Sebastian Moran—he had arranged to also be perceived as dead. Holmes ultimately was featured in a total of 56 short stories
Short story
A short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, often in narrative format. This format tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas and novels. Short story definitions based on length differ somewhat, even among professional writers, in part because...

 and four Conan Doyle novels, and has since appeared in many novels and stories by other authors.

Political campaigning

Following the Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

 in South Africa at the turn of the 20th century and the condemnation from around the world over the United Kingdom's conduct, Conan Doyle wrote a short pamphlet 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 .
Conan Doyle believed it was this pamphlet that resulted in his being knight
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

ed in 1902 and appointed Deputy-Lieutenant of Surrey
Surrey
Surrey is a county in the South East of England and is one of the Home Counties. The county borders Greater London, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire. The historic county town is Guildford. Surrey County Council sits at Kingston upon Thames, although this has been part of...

. Also in 1900 he wrote the longer book, The Great Boer War
The Great Boer War
right|thumb|Title page from The Great Boer WarThe Great Boer War is a non-fiction work on the Boer War by Arthur Conan Doyle and first published in 1900. By the end of the war in 1902 the book had been published in 16 editions, constantly revised by Doyle...

. During the early years of the 20th century, Sir Arthur twice ran for Parliament as a Liberal Unionist
Liberal Unionist Party
The Liberal Unionist Party was a British political party that was formed in 1886 by a faction that broke away from the Liberal Party. Led by Lord Hartington and Joseph Chamberlain, the party formed a political alliance with the Conservative Party in opposition to Irish Home Rule...

—once in Edinburgh and once in the Hawick Burghs
Hawick Burghs (UK Parliament constituency)
Hawick Burghs was a district of burghs constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1868 until 1918. It consisted of the Roxburghshire burgh of Hawick and the Selkirkshire burghs of Galashiels and Selkirk....

—but although he received a respectable vote, he was not elected.

Conan Doyle was involved in the campaign for the reform of the Congo Free State
Congo Free State
The Congo Free State was a large area in Central Africa which was privately controlled by Leopold II, King of the Belgians. Its origins lay in Leopold's attracting scientific, and humanitarian backing for a non-governmental organization, the Association internationale africaine...

, led by journalist E. D. Morel
E. D. Morel
Edmund Dene Morel, originally Georges Eduard Pierre Achille Morel de Ville was a British journalist, author and socialist politician. In collaboration with Roger Casement, the Congo Reform Association and others, Morel, in newspapers such as his West African Mail, led a campaign against slavery...

 and diplomat Roger Casement
Roger Casement
Roger David Casement —Sir Roger Casement CMG between 1911 and shortly before his execution for treason, when he was stripped of his British honours—was an Irish patriot, poet, revolutionary, and nationalist....

. During 1909 he wrote The Crime of the Congo, a long pamphlet in which he denounced the horrors in that country. He became acquainted with Morel and Casement, and it is possible that, together with Bertram Fletcher Robinson
Bertram Fletcher Robinson
Bertram Fletcher Robinson was an English sportsman, journalist, author and Liberal Unionist Party campaigner. Between 1893 and 1907, he wrote nearly 300 published items including a series of short stories that feature a detective called Addington Peace. However, Robinson is perhaps best remembered...

, they inspired several characters in the 1912 novel The Lost World
The Lost World (Arthur Conan Doyle)
The Lost World is a novel released in 1912 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle concerning an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon basin of South America where prehistoric animals still survive. It was originally published serially in the popular Strand Magazine during the months of April 1912-November 1912...

.

He broke with both when Morel became one of the leaders of the pacifist
Pacifism
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

 movement during the First World War, and when Casement was convicted of treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 against the UK during the Easter Rising
Easter Rising
The Easter Rising was an insurrection staged in Ireland during Easter Week, 1916. The Rising was mounted by Irish republicans with the aims of ending British rule in Ireland and establishing the Irish Republic at a time when the British Empire was heavily engaged in the First World War...

. Conan Doyle tried unsuccessfully to save Casement from the death penalty, arguing that he had been driven mad and was not responsible for his actions.

Correcting injustice

Conan 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
George Edalji
George Ernest Thompson Edalji was a solicitor from the West Midlands who became world-famous in 1907 when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle campaigned to have him declared innocent of maliciously wounding a pony in 1903....

 who had allegedly penned threatening letters and mutilated animals. 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
Court of Criminal Appeal
The Court of Criminal Appeal is the name of existing courts of Scotland and Ireland, and an historic court in England and Wales.- Ireland :See Court of Criminal Appeal ...

 was established in 1907, so not only did Conan Doyle help George Edalji, his work helped establish a way to correct other miscarriages of justice. The story of Conan Doyle and Edalji was fictionalised in Julian Barnes
Julian Barnes
Julian Patrick Barnes is a contemporary English writer, and winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize, for his book The Sense of an Ending...

's 2005 novel Arthur & George
Arthur & George
Arthur & George is the tenth novel by English author Julian Barnes which takes as its basis the true story of the 'Great Wyrley Outrages.'-Plot introduction:...

. In Nicholas Meyer's pastiche
Pastiche
A pastiche is a literary or other artistic genre or technique that is a "hodge-podge" or imitation. The word is also a linguistic term used to describe an early stage in the development of a pidgin language.-Hodge-podge:...

 The West End Horror
The West End Horror
The West End Horror: A Posthumous Memoir of John H. Watson, M.D. is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche novel by Nicholas Meyer, published in 1976. It takes place after Meyer's other two Holmes pastiches, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution and The Canary Trainer, though it was published in between the two.The plot...

(1976), Holmes manages to help clear the name of a shy Parsee
Parsi
Parsi or Parsee refers to a member of the larger of the two Zoroastrian communities in South Asia, the other being the Irani community....

 Indian character wronged by the English justice system. Edalji himself was a Parsee.

The second case, that of Oscar Slater, a German Jew and gambling-den operator convicted of bludgeoning an 82-year-old woman in Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 in 1908, excited Conan 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.

Spiritualism

Following the death of his wife Louisa in 1906, the death of his son Kingsley just before the end of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, and the deaths of his brother Innes, his two brothers-in-law (one of whom was E. W. Hornung
Ernest William Hornung
Ernest William Hornung , known as Willie, was an English author, most famous for writing the Raffles series of novels about a gentleman thief in late Victorian London....

, creator of the literary character Raffles
A. J. Raffles
Arthur J. Raffles is a character created in the 1890s by E. W. Hornung, a brother-in-law to Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Raffles is, in many ways, a deliberate inversion of Holmes — he is a "gentleman thief," living in the Albany, a prestigious address in London, playing...

) and his two nephews shortly after the war, Conan Doyle sank into depression. He found solace supporting spiritualism
Spiritualism
Spiritualism is a belief system or religion, postulating the belief that spirits of the dead residing in the spirit world have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living...

 and its attempts to find proof of existence beyond the grave. In particular, according to some, he favoured Christian Spiritualism
Spiritualism (beliefs)
Spiritualism is a dualist metaphysical belief that the world is made up of at least two fundamental substances, matter and spirit. This very broad metaphysical distinction is further developed into many and various forms by the inclusion of details about what spiritual entities exist such as a...

 and encouraged the Spiritualists' National Union
Spiritualists' National Union
The Spiritualists' National Union is a Spiritualist organisation, founded in the United Kingdom in 1901, and is one of the largest spiritualist groups in the world. Its motto is Light, Nature, Truth....

 to accept an eighth precept – that of following the teachings and example of Jesus of Nazareth
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

. He also was a member of the renowned paranormal organisation The Ghost Club. Its focus, then and now, is on the scientific study of alleged paranormal activities in order to prove (or refute) the existence of paranormal phenomena.

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 Professor Challenger
Professor Challenger
George Edward Challenger, better known as Professor Challenger, is a fictional character in a series of science fiction stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle...

 novel on the subject, The Land of Mist.
His book The Coming of the Fairies (1921) shows he was apparently convinced of the veracity of the five Cottingley Fairies
Cottingley Fairies
The Cottingley Fairies appear in a series of five photographs taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, two young cousins who lived in Cottingley, near Bradford in England. In 1917, when the first two photographs were taken, Elsie was 16 years old and Frances was 10...

 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), Conan Doyle praised the psychic
Psychic
A psychic is a person who professes an ability to perceive information hidden from the normal senses through extrasensory perception , or is said by others to have such abilities. It is also used to describe theatrical performers who use techniques such as prestidigitation, cold reading, and hot...

 phenomena and spirit materialisations produced by Eusapia Palladino
Eusapia Palladino
Eusapia Palladino was a Spiritualist medium from Naples in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies ....

 and Mina "Margery" Crandon
Mina Crandon
Mina "Margery" Crandon was the wife of a wealthy Boston surgeon and socialite, Dr. Le Roi Goddard Crandon. She became well known as a medium who claimed that she channeled her dead brother, Walter Stinson.-Biography:...

.

Conan Doyle was friends for a time with Harry Houdini
Harry Houdini
Harry Houdini was a Hungarian-born American magician and escapologist, stunt performer, actor and film producer noted for his sensational escape acts...

, the American magician who himself became a prominent opponent of the Spiritualist movement in the 1920s following the death of his beloved mother. Although Houdini insisted that Spiritualist mediums employed trickery (and consistently exposed them as frauds), Conan Doyle became convinced that Houdini himself possessed supernatural powers—a view expressed in Conan Doyle's The Edge of the Unknown. Houdini was apparently unable to convince Conan Doyle that his feats were simply illusions, leading to a bitter public falling out between the two.

Richard Milner
Richard Milner (historian)
Richard Milner is a historian of science and a singer who stars in the musical Charles Darwin: Live & in Concert.- External links :*...

, an American historian of science, has presented a case that Conan Doyle may have been the perpetrator of the Piltdown Man
Piltdown Man
The Piltdown Man was a hoax in which bone fragments were presented as the fossilised remains of a previously unknown early human. These fragments consisted of parts of a skull and jawbone, said to have been collected in 1912 from a gravel pit at Piltdown, East Sussex, England...

 hoax of 1912, creating the counterfeit hominid
Hominidae
The Hominidae or include them .), as the term is used here, form a taxonomic family, including four extant genera: chimpanzees , gorillas , humans , and orangutans ....

 fossil
Fossil
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...

 that fooled the scientific world for over 40 years. Milner says that Conan Doyle had a motive—namely, revenge on the scientific establishment for debunking one of his favourite psychics—and that The Lost World
The Lost World (Arthur Conan Doyle)
The Lost World is a novel released in 1912 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle concerning an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon basin of South America where prehistoric animals still survive. It was originally published serially in the popular Strand Magazine during the months of April 1912-November 1912...

 contains several encrypted clues regarding his involvement in the hoax.

Samuel Rosenberg
Samuel Rosenberg
Samuel Rosenberg was best known for his 1974 study of Sherlock Holmes titled Naked is the Best Disguise . His other notable book was The Confessions of a Trivialist .He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, as the son of Jacob S...

's 1974 book Naked is the Best Disguise
Naked is the Best Disguise
Naked is the Best Disguise: The Death and Resurrection of Sherlock Holmes is a book by Samuel Rosenberg speculating on the alleged hidden meanings in the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and examining the influence of his writings on other works, especially James Joyce's Ulysses...

purports to explain how, throughout his writings, Conan Doyle left open clues that related to hidden and suppressed aspects of his mentality.

Death

Conan Doyle was found clutching his chest in the hall of Windlesham, his house in Crowborough
Crowborough
The highest point in the town is 242 metres above sea level. This summit is the highest point of the High Weald and second highest point in East Sussex . Its relative height is 159 m, meaning Crowborough qualifies as one of England's Marilyns...

, 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." At the time of his death, there was some controversy concerning his burial place, as he was avowedly not a Christian, considering himself a Spiritualist. He was buried anonymously in a grave just outside the churchyard fence, in unconsecrated ground at Minstead
Minstead
Minstead is a small village and civil parish in the New Forest, Hampshire, about north of Lyndhurst. There is a shop and a pub, the Trusty Servant. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's grave is under a large tree at the back of the 13th century All Saints' church.-Overview:Minstead is a small village and...

 in the New Forest
New Forest
The New Forest is an area of southern England which includes the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in the heavily-populated south east of England. It covers south-west Hampshire and extends into south-east Wiltshire....

, Hampshire. Until the late twentieth century, the cross-topped gravestone bore no inscription. The graveyard has since been extended and Conan Doyle's remains lie among other newer graves. Carved wooden tablets to his memory and to the memory of his wife are held privately and are inaccessible to the public. That inscription reads, "Blade straight / Steel true / Arthur Conan Doyle / Born May 22nd 1859 / Passed On 7th July 1930." The epitaph on his gravestone in the churchyard reads (in part):

STEEL TRUE
BLADE STRAIGHT
ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
KNIGHT
PATRIOT, PHYSICIAN & MAN OF LETTERS



Undershaw
Undershaw
Undershaw is a former residence of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. The house was built for Doyle at his order, and it is the location where he wrote many of his works, including The Hound of the Baskervilles...

, the home near Hindhead
Hindhead
Hindhead is a village in Surrey, England, about 11 miles south-west of Guildford. Neighbouring settlements include Haslemere, Grayshott and Beacon Hill. Hindhead is the highest village in Surrey...

, south of London that Arthur Conan Doyle had built and lived in for at least a decade, was a hotel and restaurant from 1924 until 2004. It was then bought by a developer, and has since been empty while conservationists and Conan Doyle fans fight to preserve it.

A statue honours Conan Doyle at Crowborough Cross in Crowborough, where he lived for 23 years. There is also a statue of Sherlock Holmes in Picardy Place, Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, close to the house where Conan Doyle was born.

See also

  • Physician writer
  • William Gillette
    William Gillette
    William Hooker Gillette was an American actor, playwright and stage-manager in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who is best remembered today for portraying Sherlock Holmes....

    , a personal friend who performed the most famous stage-version of Sherlock Holmes

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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