Arthur Conan Doyle, who brought Sherlock Holmes to literature – Part II

Friends, here we are again in the company of the famous Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his  character Sherlock Holmes. In  the English literature, Holmes has his own special place, due to his unique personality, brilliant and alert mind. But how did the author succeed to invent such a peculiar individual whose deductive analytical skills are able to cover really vast and diverse knowledge and after that to bind everything in one credible theory?

Sherlock Holmes, with all his eccentricity and sharp intellect, is a creation of the author’s imagination, but there is one man whose personality has deeply impressed Conan Doyle and he based the character on that particular man- that’s the university professor Joseph Bell . The author himself admits that he used the personality of the professor as a prototype – especially Bell’s ability to observe carefully and thoughtfully, to guess and make deductions and conclusions. Another very famous writer – Robert Louis Stevenson – recognizes the professor and even in a letter to Conan Doyle openly attempts to receive a verification of his doubts.

The first novel with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson is “A study in Scarlet”. Written in just 3 weeks, it was published in a popular British magazine in November 1886 by Ward Lock & Co. The author got paid £25, which is equivalent to around £2,900 nowadays. The publishers, though, got the rights of the novel. The dark story told by Conan Doyle, got very good reviews in the newspapers. A sequel was agreed and published in 1890, but in an American magazine, under the name –  “The Sign of the four”.

Arthur Conan Doyle realized that his publishers have started taking advantage of him and therefore strted distributing  the subsequent stories with the famous characters all by himself in the British magazine, Strand. The audience, not without a reason of course, was totally captivated by the adventures and personality of Sherlock Holmes and were looking forward to each subsequent story. Doyle himself though had a contradictory attitude towards his character. He even wrote a letter to his mother saying that he was tired of Holmes’ adventures and has considered “killing” Sherlock. His mother’s adamant response arrived in a letter “You will not! You cannot! You should not!”. But still in 1893 Sherlock Holmes and his mortal enemy – Professor Moriarty – fell down in the foaming waters of the Reichenbach Falls,  supposedly  to their tragic end. The audience’s  reaction was so  sharp and  demanding that in 1901 a new novel was published, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” – another brilliant success, both for the author and for the eccentric detective and his brave friend Dr. Watson.

In 1903 in another novel – “The Adventure of the Empty House” – Arthur Conan Doyle explained the return of the detective amongst the living: only Moriarty died in the waterfall, and Holmes – to hide from other powerful  enemies faked his death.

The famous detective is the hero of as many as 56 short stories and 4 novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But his image is so memorable and provokes such a fascination among readers that other authors after that included him into their novels, too. Opposite Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s birthplace in Edinburgh, which continued to existed until its demolition in 1970, is the statue of Sherlock Holmes – the brilliant detective to whom the author gave eternal life in literature.

Dear friends of  ‘Training Centre Raya – London,  through engaging texts we would like to facilitate your learning process and to make it funny and amusing. The rich British culture is able to provide a lot. By studying it, its traditions and language, you will easily fit into the new environment and you will be successful in whatever you do. Don’t forget to switch to the English version of the text, pressing the button on the top right!

Author: Iveta Radeva

Image: vermonthumanities.org

Training Centre Raya London is a new and fastly developing English Language School specialized in teaching English as a second language. Founded in 2015 we are small enough to provide a personal service, but large enough to have very good facilities and resources for the students to learn English in UK.