Clan Icon: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Last Update 2012-08-02 09:55:56 | Posted On 2012-04-23 05:12:53 | Read 3521 times | 0 Comments

Born in Edinburgh in 1859 to an Irish mother and English father of Irish descent, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is the most celebrated literary figure of the Doyle Clan. His creative talents brought the world the fictional character Sherlock Holmes and it is the stories around his most famous character that perhaps has kept Sir Arthur Conan Doyle forever in the public mind.

Having begun his early life studying medicine, Doyle made his first ventures into the world of writing by penning a short story “The Haunted Grange of Goresthorpe” which was refused publication by Blackwood Magazine. Undaunted, Doyle continued to write in between his studies and produced “The Mystery of Sasassa Valley” for Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal which was to become his first ever published piece.

Life moved on quickly for Conan Doyle and following some time at sea as a surgeon he set up a medical practice in Southsea on the English coast and continued to write stories as he waited for his patients to arrive.

“A Study in Scarlet” was the first and probably most important piece of work he produced as not only was it the first time he received favourable reviews for his work but it also marked the arrival of the fictional characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.


And it was the stories of Sherlock Holmes that would catapult Conan Doyle to fame with the public so captivated by the detective that a public outcry occurred after Sir Arthur “killed off” his most famous character in the story “The Final Problem”

Realising how much-loved the Sherlock Holmes books were, Conan Doyle brought the character back to life in stories such as “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (although this was set before Holmes death) and famously in “The Adventure of the Empty House” – this story explained that it was only Holmes’ mortal enemy Moriarty who had fallen at Reichenbach Falls, with Holmes staging his own death.

All in all, Conan Doyle produced 56 short stories and four novels which featured his most legendary character, Sherlock Holmes.


Apart from his literary works, Sir Arthur also campaigned on political matters such as justifying British involvement in the Boer War as well as campaigning for reform in the Congo. It was during his campaign work for the Congo that he met Roger Casement who would later be executed for his part in the 1916 Easter Rising. In fact Conan Doyle campaigned for Casement to be spared the death penalty on the grounds that he was insane but to no avail.


Sir Arthur is still well-known for his interest in the occult and is famously linked to events such as the Cottingley Fairies photographs (which were later proven to be fake) and other theories on spirits within his book “The History of Spiritulism”. His interest was believed in spiritualism was said to have been triggered following a number of deaths in his family and in his struggles to find meaning found solace in the fact that there may be the existence of life after death.

His own death occurred in 1930 at his home in East Sussex, having suffered a heart attack at the age of 71. He is buried in Minstead in Hampshire along with his second wife Jean.


So whenever great detective stories come up in conversation, inevitably the name of Sherlock Holmes and then ultimately Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are placed at the top of the list of the best ever created. And to know that he is one of our very own is something that all Doyles should take pride in.


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