ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE: A BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL STUDY
by Christopher Roden
Although the world has chosen to remember Sir Arthur Conan Doyle chiefly for his creation of the fictional master detective, Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle's life, like the literary canvas he painted, was varied and highly interesting.
Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh on 22 May 1859. His mother, Mary, was of Irish extraction and traced her ancestry back to the famous Percy family of Northumberland and from there to the Plantagenet line. It is little wonder that the young Conan Doyle was told tales steeped in history which were to stand him in good stead when, in later years, he was to write his famous historical novels, The White Company, Sir Nigel, and Micah Clarke.
The Doyle family was a large one—Arthur was one of ten children, seven of whom survived to maturity—and life was difficult for his mother, who struggled to bring up the children on the income of some £240 a year provided by her husband Charles, who pursued an unambitious life as a civil servant. Charles Altamont Doyle was the youngest son of John Doyle, the caricaturist 'H.B.'. His brothers had all made something of a name for themselves: James wrote The Chronicles of England; Henry became manager of the National Gallery in Dublin; and Richard became famous as an artist, most well-known, perhaps, for his cover design for Punch.
Whilst Charles Doyle also had artistic talents, he exercised his skills only intermittently, and lack of drive led to the loss of his post in the Office of Works in Edinburgh. After this he lapsed steadily into alcoholism, and his epilepsy grew increasingly worse, so that he was institutionalized for the final years of his life, finally dying in 1893. [continue reading]
External Links of Interest
Official Website of Doyle's Literary Estate
Sir Conan Doyle.com
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on Wikipedia
Discovering Arthur Conan Doyle
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes on Archive.org
The Sherlock Holmes Museum
The Sherlock Holmes Society of London
Sherlock Holmes on Wikipedia
The Singular Society of the Baker Street Dozen