Skip navigation

today's the birthday sir arthur conan doyle.

so this post is for his sake.

Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born on May 22, 1859, in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Doyles were a prosperous Irish-Catholic family, who had a prominent position in the world of Art. Charles Altamont Doyle, Arthur's father, a chronic alcoholic, was the only member of his family, who apart from fathering a brilliant son, never accomplished anything of note. At the age of twenty-two, Charles had married Mary Foley, a vivacious and very well educated young woman of seventeen.

Arthur Conan Doyle as a young doctorMary Doyle had a passion for books and was a master storyteller. Her son Arthur wrote of his mother's gift of "sinking her voice to a horror-stricken whisper" when she reached the culminating point of a story. There was little money in the family and even less harmony on account of his father's excesses and erratic behavior. Arthur's touching description of his mother's beneficial influence is also poignantly described in his biography, "In my early childhood, as far as I can remember anything at all, the vivid stories she would tell me stand out so clearly that they obscure the real facts of my life."

After Arthur reached his ninth birthday, the wealthy members of the Doyle family offered to pay for his studies. He was in tears all the way to England, where for seven years he had to go to a Jesuit boarding school. Arthur loathed the bigotry surrounding his studies and rebelled at corporal punishment, which was prevalent and incredibly brutal in most English schools of that epoch.

During those grueling years, Arthur's only moments of happiness were when he wrote to his mother, a regular habit that lasted for the rest of her life, and also when he practiced sports, mainly cricket, at which he was very good. It was during these difficult years at boarding school, that Arthur realized he also had a talent for storytelling. He was often found, surrounded by a bevy of totally enraptured younger students, listening to the amazing stories he would make up to amuse them.

By 1876, graduating at the age of seventeen, Arthur Doyle, (as he was called, before adding his middle name "Conan" to his surname), was a surprisingly normal young man. With his innate sense of humor and his sportsmanship, having ruled out any feelings of self-pity, Arthur was ready and willing to face the world and make up for some of his father's shortcomings.

Years later he wrote, "Perhaps it was good for me that the times were hard, for I was wild, full blooded and a trifle reckless. But the situation called for energy and application so that one was bound to try to meet it. My mother had been so splendid that I could not fail her." It has been said that Arthur's first task, when back from school, was to co-sign the committal papers of his father, who by then was seriously demented.

One can get a fairly good idea of the dramatic circumstances which surrounded the confinement of his father to a lunatic asylum, in a story Arthur Conan Doyle wrote in 1880, called The Surgeon of Gaster Fell.

Family tradition would have dictated the pursuit of an artistic career, yet Arthur decided to follow a medical one. This decision was influenced by Dr. Bryan Charles Waller, a young lodger his mother had taken-in to make ends meet. Dr. Waller had trained in the University of Edinburgh and that is where Arthur was sent to carry out his medical studies.

The young medical student met a number of future authors who were also attending the university, such as for instance James Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson. But the man who most impressed and influenced him, was without a doubt, one of his teachers, Dr. Joseph Bell. The good doctor was a master at observation, logic, deduction, and diagnosis. All these qualities were later to be found in the persona of the celebrated detective Sherlock Holmes.

A couple of years into his studies, Arthur decided to try his pen at writing a short story. Although the result called The Mystery of Sasassa Valley was very evocative of the works of Edgar Alan Poe and Bret Harte, his favorite authors at the time, it was accepted in an Edinburgh magazine called Chamber's Journal, which had published Thomas Hardy's first work. Continued…
& this link is awsome

Advertisements

One Comment

  1. Here are some links that I believe will be interested


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: