Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (May 22, 1859 – July 7, 1930) was a Doctor, Author, and Journalist. Author Doyle scribed 60 mystery stories which featured the wildly popular detective character Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Watson. It was in 1890 that his novel A Study in Scarlet introduced the character of detective Sherlock Holmes. He’d also strove to spread his spiritualism faith through a series of books that were scribed from 1918 through 1926.
On May 22nd of 1859, Doyle was born to an affluent, strict Irish-Catholic family in Edinburgh, Scotland. Doyle’s mother, Mary, was a lively and well-educated woman who loved to read. She particularly delighted in telling her young son outlandish stories. Her great enthusiasm and animation while spinning wild tales sparked the child’s imagination. As Doyle would later recall 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.”
[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]At the age of 9, Doyle bid a tearful goodbye to his parents and was shipped off to England, where he would attend Hodder Place, Stonyhurst—a Jesuit preparatory school—from 1868 to 1870.[/pullquote] Doyle then went on to study at Stonyhurst College for the next five years. For Doyle, the boarding-school experience was brutal: many of his classmates bullied him, and the school practiced ruthless corporal punishment against its students. Over time, Doyle found solace in his flair for storytelling, and developed an eager audience of younger students.
When Doyle graduated from Stonyhurst College in 1876, his parents expected that he would follow in his family’s footsteps and study art, so they were surprised when he decided to pursue a medical degree at the University of Edinburgh instead. At med school, Doyle met his mentor, Professor Dr. Joseph Bell, whose keen powers of observation would later inspire Doyle to create his famed fictional detective character, Sherlock Holmes. At the University of Edinburgh, Doyle also had the good fortune to meet classmates and future fellow authors James Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson. While a medical student, Doyle took his own first stab at writing, with a short story called The Mystery of Sasassa Valley. That was followed by a second story, The American Tale, which was published in London Society.
In 1880, Doyle returned to medical school. Back at the University of Edinburgh, Doyle became increasingly invested in Spiritualism or “Psychic religion,” a belief system that he would later attempt to spread through a series of his written works. By the time he received his Bachelor of Medicine degree in 1881, Doyle had denounced his Roman Catholic faith.
The prolific author also composed four of his most popular Sherlock Holmes books during the 1890s and early 1900s: The Sign of Four (1890), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892), The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894) and The Hounds of Baskervilles, published in 1901. In 1893, to Doyle’s readers’ disdain, he had attempted to kill off his Sherlock Holmes character in order to focus more on writing about Spiritualism. In 1901, however, Doyle reintroduced Sherlock Holmes as a ghost in The Hounds of Baskervilles and later brought him back to life in
The Adventure of the Empty House so the lucrative character could earn Doyle the money to fund his missionary work. Doyle also strove to spread his faith through a series of written works, consisting of The New Revolution (1918), The Vital Message (1919), The Wanderings of a Spiritualist (1921) and History of Spiritualism (1926).
In 1928, Doyle’s final twelve stories about Sherlock Holmes were published in a compilation entitled The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes.
Having recently been diagnosed with Angina Pectoris, Doyle stubbornly ignored his doctor’s warnings, and in the fall of 1929, embarked on a spiritualism tour through the Netherlands. He returned home with chest pains so severe that he needed to be carried on shore, and was thereafter almost entirely bedridden at his home in Crowborough, England. Rising one last time on July 7, 1930, Doyle collapsed and died in his garden while clutching his heart with one hand and holding a flower in the other.
Arthur Conan Doyle. (2014). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 07:20, Nov 30, 2014, from http://www.biography.com/people/arthur-conan-doyle-9278600.