Arthur Conan Doyle
A brief life of Holmes's creator
Born 22 May 1859 in Edinburgh, capital of Scotland, now
hailed as "Unesco
City of Literature". Medical degree
from the University of Edinburgh,
where he studied under the noted surgeon Joseph
Bell, author of the textbook
A Manual of the Operations of Surgery.
The relationship between Doyle and Bell is the topic
of a television drama launched in 2001,
review in the Guardian).
ACD's thesis on the effects of syphilis is
He served as
doctor on an Arctic whaler; kept a journal of the voyage,
first published in 2012.
ACD lived in Southsea,
Birmingham and elsewhere,
and practised as a doctor briefly.
His first published short story
(not about Sherlock Holmes) was "J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement" in
1879 — a
startling success. His first novel, A Study
in Scarlet, appeared in Beeton's Christmas Annual for 1887 and introduced Sherlock Holmes to the world.
ACD lived for a time in
Surrey (at South Norwood, a suburb of London, and later near Hindhead)
and subsequently at
He was the author of more than 50 books, including historical novels (most famous The
White Company), science fiction (Professor Challenger), domestic comedy, seafaring adventure, the
comic adventures of Brigadier
supernatural, poetry, military history, many other subjects.
He wrote the comic play
Annie' jointly with James Barrie, creator of Peter Pan.
In 1893, ACD "killed" Sherlock Holmes by reporting his apparent death in "The Final
Problem", last story of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. He wanted to
and attention to his "more serious" writings. Holmes was
briefly brought back in The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1901, then
revived in "The Empty House", 1903, and subsequent tales.
He was knighted (becoming "Sir Arthur") in 1902 to recognize his work in
Boer War propaganda (particularly
the pamphlet The War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct)
— and, some said, because of the publication of The Hound of the
A constant writer of letters to the editor and crusader for social
reforms, he was especially interested in criminal justice (he took a personal role
Edalji and Oscar Slater cases), military strategy (though
he never served in the armed forces), public health, sports
boxing, the Olympics), divorce law reform, Belgian exploitation of the
Congo, and the
hoax. He twice ran unsuccessfully for Parliament. ACD
Canada in 1914, when Lady Conan Doyle kept
a diary that can
be viewed online through technology from the Toronto
Reference Library. (ACD also made Canadian visits in 1894, 1922, and
He died 7 July 1930.
Web links related to ACD
The manuscript of The Sign of the Four
Arthur Conan Doyle Profile
The Chronicles of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A review of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Interviews and Recollections, edited by Harold Orel
ACD's personal library
Doyle the Prolific Writer
listings in the National Register of Archives
Blade Straight, a blog by Ronald Kritter
Life and Art of Charles Doyle' (ACD's father)
By and about collector Fred Kittle
Chronological table by Leslie S. Klinger
films and television programs
The Piltdown hoax
(ACD has been offered as a suspect, with no particular evidence)
Doyle vs. Holmes
Arthur and George,
a novel about the Edalji case
murderer? The end of the manufactured scandal
vs. Literary Contemporaries (Randall Stock)
Post-Colonial Canonical and Cultural Revision”
ACD and Spiritualism
A life-long interest in psychic matters
led him to acknowledge
his faith; he spent the years
from 1918 to his death preaching Spiritualism around the
world and writing books
and pamphlets in support of it (The New Revelation, 1918). Principal beliefs included the survival of personality after death and the possibility of
communication (through mediums) between this world and the next.
He was badly taken in by
the Cottingley fairy hoax of 1920.
Public Domain Review and
He was a friend, then a foe, of showman
Admirers and biographies
Conan Doyle Society maintains
mailing list for Doylean and Sherlockian discussion.
The Conan Doyle
Crowborough Establishment, based near ACD's retirement home, promotes
knowledge of his life and works.
of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection has been established at the
Toronto Reference Library.
The massive collection of Richard Lancelyn Green
is now at the City
Museum of Portsmouth, where ACD lived as a young man, where a research
room has been opened for visitors to use.
of writings about ACD
Notes on biographies,
by Leah Guinn
See the Sherlockian.Net
ACD's writings on the web
Holmes (list from Sherlockian.Net)
Non-Sherlockian works (including
parodies) from Sherlockian.Net
many texts from Literature Post
facsimiles, checklist by Randall Stock
Back to the Sherlockian.Net Holmepage
Copyright © Chris Redmond 2013