Synopses & Reviews
This remarkable annotated collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's previously unpublished private correspondence offers unique insight into one of the world's most popular authors. For the first time, Conan Doyle emerges from the shadow of Sherlock Holmes, revealing a man whose character and exploits rival that of his famous creation. In particular, Conan Doyle's correspondence with his mother exposes his endless search for fulfillment and success outside the Holmes stories.
At age sixteen Conan Doyle began studying medicine at Edinburgh University. Just months shy of graduating, he made the adventurous decision to accept a position as a surgeon on a whaling ship heading to the Arctic. He returned to Edinburgh, graduated, and struggled to establish his own medical practice while simultaneously writing and promoting his stories. He suffered years of disappointment as both doctor and author; yet, to his amazement, just two months after the first Sherlock Holmes short stories, he had garnered such a following that he completely abandoned medicine for literature.
As the public clamored endlessly for Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle explored other pursuits: He was a doctor during the Boer War, a World War I correspondent, and the foremost spokesman for Spiritualism. As his life changed, Doyle's correspondence with his mother remained constant. In his letters to "the Mam," Doyle shares the dismay he felt over the critical reception of his other writing, and as his irritation with the Holmes adventures mounts he announces his desire to kill off the character. She is his confidante and trusted counsel throughout her long life.
The editors are known for their expertise and scholarship on the works of Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. Daniel Stashower is an award-winning mystery novelist and author of Teller of Tales, a widely praised biography of Conan Doyle. Jon Lellenberg is the U.S. agent for the Conan Doyle estate and author of The Quest for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Charles Foley is the writer's great-nephew and executor of the estate. Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters will be a must-have collection for readers interested in the author, Sherlock Holmes, and the Victorian era.
"This fascinating collection of previously unpublished letters from the creator of Sherlock Holmes offers a revealing glimpse of a Renaissance man fated to be overshadowed by his most famous character. Beginning with correspondence from Doyle as an eight-year-old in 1867, the editors offer a warts-and-all picture of his life until 1920, 10 years before his death, covering the author's frank accounts of life at a boarding school, his struggles as a young doctor and aspiring writer, and his political advocacy. Those seeking insights into the creation of Holmes may be disappointed; while Doyle's ambivalence toward Holmes is well known, this collection reveals the extent to which he viewed his character principally as a source of income rather than a lasting legacy. The editors Doyle experts Lellenberg and Stashower, and Doyle's great-nephew Foley have nicely balanced the content: the letters reveal Doyle's stiff upper lip when he lost a son during the Great War, and his sense of humor, as in a hilarious report to his mother on the birth of his daughter Mary. This will be essential reading for all fans of Conan Doyle and his sleuth. (Andrew Lycett's biography of Conan Doyle, The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes, is due from the Free Press this fall.) Illus. (Nov. 1)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A remarkable annotated collection of previously unpublished private correspondence from the creator of Sherlock Holmes
This extraordinary annotated collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?s private correspondence offers unique insight into one of the world?s most popular authors. Detailing Conan Doyle?s life from his beginnings as a country doctor to his struggle with the success of Sherlock Holmes and his ultimate calling as the foremost spokesman for Spiritualism, Conan Doyle?s letters expose his innermost thoughts on literature, world events, and matters of the heart. Under the stewardship of editors renowned for their expertise on both Conan Doyle?s life and the Sherlock Holmes stories, this remarkable volume reveals a man whose character and exploits rival that of his famous creation.
About the Author
The authors, Daniel Stashower, Jon Lellenberg, and Charles Foley, are premier scholars and experts on both Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. Daniel Stashower, most recently the author of The Beautiful Cigar Girl, is an award-winning mystery novelist, an Edgar Award winner and the recipient of the Raymond Chandler Fulbright Fellowship in Detective and Crime Fiction Writing. He is also the author of Teller of Tales, a widely praised biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Jon Lellenberg is the U.S agent for the Conan Doyle estate and coeditor of a number of anthologies of new Sherlock Holmes stories by mystery writers, as well as the historian of the Baker Street Irregulars. Charles Foley is the great-nephew of Arthur Conan Doyle and great-grandson of Mary Foley Doyle, as well as the present executor of the Conan Doyle Estate.