Sherlock Holmes has always been one of the most beloved literary characters in history. With new adaptations like Sherlock and Elementary giving Holmes new life, it’s no surprise that Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories are loved by many. Today, let’s take a look at the man behind Mr. Sherlock Holmes.
Arthur Conan Doyle was born on May 22nd, 1859 in Edinburgh Scotland. Arthur was born into a very strict Irish-Catholic household. Despite this, Arthur’s mother was a lovely, educated young woman. She would constantly read to Arthur when he was a young boy, helping spark his imaginative side. Unfortunately, Arthur’s father was almost the opposite. Drowning himself in alcohol, Charles was quite well known in the art world. However, because of Charles’ crippling alcoholism, he has very few accomplishments to note.
When Arthur was only 9 years old, he was shipped off so he could attend school at Hooder Place, Stonyhurst. He attended this preparatory school from 1868 to 1870. Arthur then went on to attend Stonyhurst College for five years. Life at this preparatory school was very hard on Arthur because he was constantly bullied. Luckily for him, his love for literature came in handy during dark times. He eventually found solace in literature and even telling his own stories.
In 1876, Arthur graduated from college and unexpectedly began to work towards a medical degree. Arthur began attending the University of Edinburgh, where Arthur would meet Professor Dr. Joseph Bell, who would later become the inspiration for Arthur’s famous detective. While studying medicine, Arthur continued to pursue his creative passions and began working on a short story titled The Mystery of Sasassa Valley.
In his third year of medical school, Arthur decided to take leave as a surgeon on a whaling ship. Arthur Conan Doyle finally returned from his adventure in 1880 and immediately returned to school. One year later, Arthur received in Bachelor of Medicine. The first paying medical job that Arthur received was as a medical officer on the Mayumba, a steamship that traveled from Liverpool to Africa. Over the years, Arthur struggled between his two loves, writing and medicine. He opened his own practice in Portsmouth, but still attempted to get recognition as a writer.
Luckily, Arthur’s hard work paid off because A Study in Scarlet was published in 1887. This novel introduced one of the most beloved literary characters to ever be written, Sherlock Holmes. A Study in Scarlet was the first novel to introduce Sherlock Holmes and audiences would eventually see him in 60 more stories. Over the years, Arthur released three more books that weren’t about Sherlock Holmes. These books are considered more autobiographical than fictional. Arthur’s work began to grow so popular that he didn’t need to work in medicine anymore. Arthur made the decision to retire from medicine and work on a few larger historical novels that would be known as The Great Shadow and Rodney Stone.
After working on telling Sherlock’s story for so long, Arthur grew very tired of him. He then attempted to kill off his most beloved character in order to focus on Spiritualism. However, Sherlock Holmes was then brought back to life in The Adventure of the Empty House. Due to the popularity of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur was able to fund his missionary work and still continued to write about Spiritualism. He finished four books over the course of his career about his beloved Spiritualism.
Arthur Conan Doyle was diagnosed with Angina Pectoris. However, due to his stubbornness, Arthur ignored his doctor and proceeded to go on a missionary tour through the Netherlands. Upon his return, he was suffering from chest pains that were so severe he had to be carried back to land. Arthur was then completely bedridden until his death on July 7th, 1930.
Arthur Conan Doyle lived a very long and prosperous life. He became a successful doctor only to realize his true passion. Luckily for his fans, Arthur pursued his real passion and created one of the most famous literary characters to exist.