Wednesday, May 22, 2013
May 22 - Arthur Conan Doyle
Physician and author Arthur Conan Doyle was born on May 22, 1859, in Edinburgh, Scotland, to Irish parents. While studying medicine and in private practice, he built up a portfolio of short stories but struggled to find a publisher. His first major story, “A Study in Scarlet,” appeared in 1887. It was the debut of “consulting detective” Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. He modeled Sherlock partly after Dr. Joseph Bell, a professor at the University of Edinburgh who emphasized the importance of observation in diagnosis and who demonstrated this skill to his students. Doyle’s prolific output included fantasy and science fiction stories, plays and poetry. The first 12 of his 56 Holmes stories were collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892). He was knighted largely for two books on the Boer War. He was an ardent Swedenborgian spiritualist who believed that the living could communicate with the dead. Notably, Sherlock used the words “elementary” and “my dear Watson” but never spoke them as one phrase.