Arthur Conan Doyle Essay

Arthur Conan Doyle was more than just an author. He was a knight, a soldier, a
spiritualist, a whaler, a doctor, a journalist, and most of all, he was
adventurous. He was not the quiet type of person, so he enjoyed expressing
himself. Arthur Conan Doyle was born on the 22nd of May 1859 in Picardy Place,
Edinburgh. The second child of Charles Altamont and Mary Foley, he was thought t
have been named after the legendary medieval king, Arthur, of the Round Table.

Doyle was also named after his granduncle, Michael Edward Conan. He was a
descendant of the Irish, and was of the Roman Catholic religion. Doyle had a
grandfather, John Doyle. He was political cartoonist, who, financially supported
the family.1 Doyle had a pretty rough home life because his father was an
alcoholic. As he grew up, Doyle had to take more of the responsibilities around
the house into his own hands, because his father was either too sick or drunk to
fulfill his daily work at home. Doyle’s mother, Mary Foley, was a homemaker
who took care of her son Arthur and his brothers and sisters, and also worked
and cleaned the house everyday.2 Doyle’s early education started when he was
about seven years old. His mother spent lots of time reading with him and
tutoring him, because this is what she thought he needed to become a cultured
gentleman. When Doyle was ten years old he left home and went to the Jesuit
Preparatory school named Hodder House. This was a boarding school for young
boys. Arthur hated this school. Doyle once stated that Hodder House “was a
little more pleasant than being confined in a prison.” While attending Hodder
House, he studied chemistry, poetry, geometry, arithmetic, and grammar. After
his experiences at Jesuit Preparatory school, he left and applied for Stonyhurst
Academy. Doyle was accepted for enrollment into Stonyhurst and remained there
for about five more years. While at Stonyhurst, Doyle, who excelled in cricket,
demonstrated some very early signs of literary talent. At the academy, he became
quite good at telling stories and reading aloud.3 Doyle started reading his old
favorite books from his childhood. His favorite childhood writer was Mayne Reid,
who wrote The Scalp Hunters. This was his favorite book while he was progressing
through life.4 During his last year before attending medical school, Doyle went
to Feldkirch, a school in Austria. While attending Feldkirch, he began to
question his faith in the Roman Catholic religion.5 Doyle decided finally to
become a doctor and went to Edinburgh University. While attending the university
Doyle met a Dr. Joseph Bell, upon whom the character Sherlock Holmes was based.

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Also, he met the anatomist Professor Rutherford, who was eventually made into
the model for Professor Challenger in Arthur Conan Doyle’s writings.6 While at
Edinburgh University, Doyle took a part-time job helping out another doctor.

This was only one of the many jobs that he had while he was a learning pupil
during his school time.7 For one of his assignments as a paid student at
Edinburgh University, he became the doctor on a whaling ship in the Arctic Ocean
during a seven-month voyage. When he returned to the University after his long
trip, Doyle received his Bachelor of Medicine degree in 1881. After his
graduation, Doyle decided to go back and make a second voyage as a whaling
ship’s doctor in the Arctic Ocean. While on the second voyage, he nearly died
of a high fever.8 When Doyle left Edinburgh University, he told his family that
he had changed his religion, and was no longer of the Catholic faith.9 Doyle
began his writing career and the public loved his first professional work. The
editor of the Cornhill Magazine approved of the story and the author, accepting
the story Habakuk Jephson’s Statement for publication. Arthur Conan Doyle’s
Sherlock Holmes novels were huge successes in North America.10 The people
enjoyed them so much that Doyle wrote even more novels for the United States to
publish, such as The Sign of Four. Doyle’s first short story to be published
was The Mystery of Sasassa Valley in 1879.11 While he paid more attention to his
writing than his medical career, Doyle continued to practice medicine for about
two years. It was during this time that he met his soon-to-be wife, Louise
Hawkins,12 when her brother was diagnosed with an incurable disease, cerebral
meningitis. Jack, Louise’s brother, died a couple of days later. Louise and
Doyle were married several months later. Louise’s nickname was “Touie,”
one of the names Doyle later used in his famous novel The Hound of the
Baskervilles. The marriage lasted from 1885 until Louise’s death from
tuberculosis in August of 1906. While Doyle was married to Louise, they had one
daughter, Mary Louise, born in 1889, and one son Alleyne Kingsley, born in
1902.13 After Louise’s death, Doyle never talked about his wife or their long
lasting marriage. A year or so after her death, Doyle met a woman by the name of
Jean Leckie, who would soon be his second wife. Jean and Doyle met when they ran
into each other on the street. In 1907, they were married.14 His inspiration to
write even more in his spare time was brought on by his marriage. Shortly after
their marriage, Doyle’s father, Charles, was confined inside a nursing home in
London, England because of alcoholism and epilepsy. Jean Leckie and Doyle had
three children, a son, Denis Percy Stewart born in 1909, another son, Adrian
Malcolm born in 1910, and a daughter, Lena Jean Annette born in 1912.15 In 1883,
The Captain of the Pole Star was published, as well as some other minor pieces
he had written. Doyle was working on The Mystery of Cloomber. In 1884, Doyle
published J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement, The Heiress of Glenmahowley, and The
Cabman’s Story.16 After all of these books and stories were published, Doyle
began to work on another piece called The Firm of Girdlestone. In 1885, Doyle
published another story, The Man from Archangel. He then traveled with Jean to
Ireland for their honeymoon.17 After writing all of these stories, he finally
became involved in writing all of his Sherlock Holmes novels and other short
stories. The first Sherlock Holmes novel was A Study in Scarlet in 1887, which
was a great accomplishment in the United States. The second Sherlock Holmes
novel was The Sign of the Four. In 1888, the first book edition of A Study in
Scarlet was published by Ward Lock. In December, The Mystery of Cloomber was
published.18 The Holmes stories became so popular that people actually pictured
Sherlock Holmes as an imaginary fairy tale super hero.19 After twelve short
stories and two series of Sherlock Holmes novels, Doyle made an important
decision to kill off Sherlock Holmes in the novel The Final Problem, published
in 1883. About ten years after Sherlock Holmes “died”, Doyle wrote The
Return of Sherlock Holmes. This was published in sections at a time in The
Strand magazine in 1903.20 Some of Arthur Conan Doyle’s later writings
consisted of two medical short story collections, Round the Red Lamp and Round
the Fire Stories. In 1894, a fictional autobiography, The Stark Munro Letters,
was published in 1894.21 The Parasite and The Medal Brigadier Gerard were
published in The Strand magazine in 1894. The very famous Arthur Conan Doyle
novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles, was published different sections at a time
in The Strand magazine in 1901. Conan Doyle wrote a true autobiography, Memories
and Adventures in 1924. Arthur’s last published book; Edge of the Unknown, was
published in 1930.22 World travel played a big role in the backgrounds for
Doyle’s stories and novels. The Doyle family visited Berlin, Germany in 1890
to investigate bacteriologist Robert Koch’s claim to have possibly have found
the cure for tuberculosis. In 1892, the Doyles traveled to Norway, where Conan
Doyle went skiing for the first time. Shortly after this trip, Doyle helps
introduce the sport of snow skiing in Switzerland.23 In 1895, Doyle and his wife
traveled to Egypt for the winter season. A doctor told them that she would
benefit from the therapeutic surrey air. Then they traveled up the Nile River to
Sudan, an East African country. This trip later provided the background for The
Tragedy of Korosko. They traveled to South Africa during the Boer War in 1900,
because Doyle was acting as a war correspondent. While in South Africa, Doyle
published a novel called The Great Boer War in 1900. Then other short stories
appeared in Cornhill Magazine, such as Some Military Lessons of War, in 1900.24
Following the end of the war, they returned home to Windlesham, Crowborough,
Sussex. About two years later, Doyle traveled to Buckingham Palace in London to
be knighted.25 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took his family to Australia to spread the
word about spiritualism.26 In 1926, The Land of Mist was published. Doyle had
officially declared himself a spiritualist. He then wrote his first spiritualism
book called The New Revelation, and a two-volume history book about
spiritualism. In 1927, the death of Mary Foley Doyle, Arthur’s mother, touched
the entire family.27 In 1929, The Maracot Deep and other stories were
published.28 This was Doyle’s last collection of works and it was published in
July, exactly one year before his death.29 On July 7, 1930 at 8:30 A.M. the
final tragedy struck. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died of a heart attack at his home
in Windlesham, Crowborough, weighing 243 pounds.30 He was survived by Jean Doyle
and their three children. His death greatly saddened the world and all of his
faithful followers. Although Doyle was a very clumsy person, he was still a
lover of sports, who played rugby and billiards like a paid professional. Doyle
was a person everyone had doubted would ever turn out to be someone with a great
deal of talent and use it to his ability. Doyle’s life was similar to a
mixture of all of his characters, because of his high drama talent, energy by
the truckload, and a very creative imagination. Conan Doyle’s own story was
also one of personal adventure. He was the kind of man who never had too much
fun and excitement. Julian Symons once said in one of her books that Arthur
probably died right in the middle of writing another great collection of works.

Doyle was one of the world’s most topclass writers in his time. The story of
Doyle reminds us that we all have some adventure running through our veins and a
distinctive imagination inside our brains.


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