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Five Facts Little-Known Facts about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 – 1930)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in 1859 and died in 1930.  He’s best known as the creator of the Sherlock Holmes.  But here are five things about him that you may not know.

1 – Conan Doyle was a physician.  He attended the University of Edinburgh Medical School and graduated in 1881 with a Bachelor of Medicine and Mastery of Surgery.

2 – He worked as a ship’s surgeon on a whaling vessel.

3 – Conan Doyle was not knighted for his Sherlock Holmes stories.  The War in South Africa: Its Causes and Conduct caught the eye of the monarchy.  In it, Conan Doyle comes to Great Britain’s defense against charges of war crimes in the Boer War.

4 – George Edalji was an innocent man convicted of mutilating and killing livestock.  Who helped him prove his innocence?  The case was solved by Arthur Conan Doyle.  Sir Arthur solved two real-life crime cases, the George Edalji case and the Oscar Slater case.

5 – Conan Doyle believed in Spiritualism.  It’s true.  The man who created the ever-logical Sherlock Holmes believed in spirits and things like automatic writing.

You can learn more about all of these subjects at our partner site, Conan Doyle Info.  As the site says, Sherlock Holmes is just the beginning.

Partial List of Work by Conan Doyle

  • A Study in Scarlet
  • Micah Clarke
  • The Mystery of Cloomber
  • The Sign of the Four
  • The Firm of Girdlestone
  • The White Company
  • The Doings of Raffles Haw
  • The Great Shadow
  • The Refugees
  • The Parasite
  • The Stark Munro Letters
  • Rodney Stone
  • Uncle Bernac
  • The Tragedy of the Korosko
  • A Duet, with an Occasional Chorus
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Sir Nigel
  • The Lost World
  • The Poison Belt
  • The Valley of Fear
  • The Land of Mist
  • The Maracot Deep

More Information about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Quotes About Courage From Literature

August 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Everything Else 

Courage QuotesWhether it’s the reality of Monday morning or something more serious, we all need a bit of courage now and again.   These quotes from literature might help.

“Come when they may, they shall not find us skulking and hiding, as if we feared to take our portion of the light of day, and left it all to them.” ~ Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens

“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.” ~ The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

“Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.” ~ Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

“I think that you know me well enough, Watson, to understand that I am by no means a nervous man. At the same time, it is stupidity rather than courage to refuse to recognize danger when it is close upon you.” ~ The Final Problem by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

By this, he seemed to mean, not only that the most reliable and useful courage was that which arises from the fair estimation of the encountered peril, but that an utterly fearless man is a far more dangerous comrade than a coward. ~ Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Five Quotes About London From Literature

February 24, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Everything Else 

Big Ben

“I think that I may go so far as to say, Watson, that I have not lived wholly in vain,” he remarked. “If my record were closed to-night I could still survey it with equanimity. The air of London is the sweeter for my presence.” ~  The Final Problem by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

There are houses whose souls have passed into the limbo of Time, leaving their bodies in the limbo of London. ~  The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy

“If you lived in London, where the whole system is one of false good-fellowship, and you may know a man for twenty years without finding out that he hates you like poison, you would soon have your eyes opened. There we do unkind things in a kind way: we say bitter things in a sweet voice: we always give our friends chloroform when we tear them to pieces.” ~  You Never Can Tell by George Bernard Shaw

London was beginning to illuminate herself against the night. Electric lights sizzled and jagged in the main thoroughfares, gas-lamps in the side streets glimmered a canary gold or green. ~  Howards End by E. M. Forster

All day the wind had screamed and the rain had beaten against the windows, so that even here in the heart of great, hand-made London we were forced to raise our minds for the instant from the routine of life and to recognise the presence of those great elemental forces which shriek at mankind through the bars of his civilisation, like untamed beasts in a cage. ~  The Five Orange Pips by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Outrage: The Edalji Five and the Shadow of Sherlock Holmes

October 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

Arthur Conan Doyle didn’t just write mysteries, he actually solved a few.  One of his most famous cases is the George Edalji case.

Roger Oldfield has written a book about the case, Outrage: The Edalji Five and the Shadow of Sherlock Holmes.  Mr. Oldfield brings a unique perspective to the case as someone who has met descendents of individuals involved in the case.  He’s also familiar with the area where the case took place.

Roger Oldfield recently told LitQuotes this about the case and about his new book:

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‘SHERLOCK HOLMES AT WORK’.  This was the headline in the Daily Telegraph on January 11 1907 when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the first of two articles announced to the world that he was taking up the case of George Edalji.    The great novelist George Meredith, one of the many literary friends who wrote to congratulate him, put it this way: Sherlock Holmes, he said, had shown ‘what can be done in the life of breath’.

There had already been a national outcry in 1903 when George Edalji of Great Wyrley in Staffordshire had been convicted of wounding a pony, the 8th of a series of barbarous outrages against animals in his home village.  The fact however that the very creator of Sherlock Holmes seemed in 1907 to be acting out the part of his own creation, the most famous character in British fiction, gave George Edalji’s cause worldwide fame: newspapers from New York to Paris to Mumbai reported the developing events of 1907 with fascination.  Conan Doyle not only acted as sleuth, scouring the scene of the crime and interviewing the major players;  he also had his real-life Inspector Lestrade as adversary, in the shape of George Anson, Chief Constable of Staffordshire, whom he blamed for George Edalji’s wrongful conviction.

The shadow of Sherlock Holmes has hung over the story every since. ‘It is a blot upon the record of English Justice,’ Conan Doyle wrote in his Memories and Adventures in 1924, ‘and even now it should be wiped out.’ This was the verdict which echoed for decades through the pens of many of the dozens of his admirers and biographers – ‘a very gentle, perfect knight (Lamond, 1931), a ‘brilliant vindication of Edalji’ (Pemberton, 1936), ‘the incarnation of the English conscience’ (Nordon, 1968).  Even Julian Barnes, who has revived worldwide interest in the story in his novel Arthur & George (2005), the bookies’ favourite for the top literary prize in Britain in 2005, does not question Conan Doyle’s view that Edalji was innocent.

There is evidence, however, which runs counter to the Conan Doyle view, as the local historian Michael Harley suggested in the 1980s.   Roger Oldfield’s book Outrage: The Edalji Five and the Shadow of Sherlock Holmes, Vanguard Press, 2010, is the first to go behind the scenes and assess the evidence for and against George Edalji in full.  A conclusion is reached on whether the man who believed in fairies had been taken in by the mild-mannered, middle class myopic from Great Wyrley.   As for Julian Barnes’s novel, that too is subjected to rigorous scrutiny and the general reader is given a glimpse into how far it remains true to the actual historical record.

Also new, and of special interest for Conan Doyle addicts, is an account of the extraordinary secret war which broke out between Conan Doyle and Chief Constable Anson.  At one point their furious dispute led each of them to appeal to Winston Churchill for support.   Anson was utterly contemptuous of the detective skills of the man many thought actually was Sherlock Holmes, and his seething hatred for the world-famous writer lasted until his death.

Roger Oldfield’s book suggests that the shadow of Sherlock Holmes hanging over the story has obscured the fascinating history of the Edalji family as a whole.  His research has uncovered a mass of new material about all five members of the family which has never been published before.

For full details of the book see www.outrage-rogeroldfield.co.uk

‘unlikely to be surpassed as a comprehensive, intelligent, balanced and intensely readable account’ ~ The Newsletter of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London

‘certainly the best thing there is concerning the Edalji case on every count’ ~ D. Michael Risinger, Professor of Law, Newark, USA.






 

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