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History of Real Sherlock Holmes

The history of the real Sherlock Holmes begins with author and medical doctor Arthur Conan Doyle. Born May 22, 1859 in Edinburgh Scotland (the year Darwin published On the Origin of Species), Arthur was one of ten children. His early education was through Jesuit schools before he entered the University of Edingburg and pursued a medical degree. It was here that he encountered Dr. Joseph Bell, a physician teacher who astounded audiences with his sharp wit and profound power of deduction through observation of his patients.

Dr. Arthur Doyle
arthur conan doyle picture

In 1882 after graduation, Arthur Conan Doyle joined a medical practice in Plymouth but this relationship quickly went sour and he left for Southsea. There he built a thriving practice, and between responsibilities, he began writing. The character of Sherlock Holmes, a brilliant detective, was born during this period borrowing from memories of real life Dr. Joseph Bell. Sherlock Holmes first adventure was A Study in Scarlet, which Doyle sold for 25 pounds to Beeton's Christmas Annual in 1887. It was later sold as a book in 1888.

Sherlock Holmes
sherlock holmes picture

In 1891, The Strand mystery magazine began and Arthur Conan Doyle began contributing his Sherlock Holmes stories to it, all of which became very successful. However, despite their success, Arthur felt unfulfilled. He fancied that he should be writing books which would provide him a "lasting name in English literature," and toyed with the idea "of slaying Holmes . . . and winding him up for good and all. He takes my mind from better things." In 1893 he produced 'The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes' to the horror of fans worldwide, in which Holmes died pitted against the archvillain Professor Moriarty.

In 1902Arthus Conan Doyle was awarded a knighthood largely for writings he had produced in support of British policies during the Boer War. Doyle continued to write for the remainder of his life contributing approximately 60 stories to the world in addition to numerous factual pieces including an autobiography Memoirs and Adventures in 1924.

Ironically, after the death of his son in World War 1, Arthur Conan Doyle in stark contrast to the ultralogical Sherlock Holmes he had created, became a staunch supporter of spiritualism, writing on the subject and traveling widely to speak upon it. He died on July 7th 1930.

Dr. Arthur Doyle's Grave site
sherlock holmes gravesite picture

MLA Citation for School Reports, Links, and Presentations:
Helpful Links:

  • Arthur Conan Doyle Wiki
  • Conan Doyle Official Site
  • Chronicles of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Literature Conan Doyle Article

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    April 22 2016
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