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Seven Facts About Arthur Conan Doyle

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1. Remembered today mainly as the "father" of Sherlock Holmes (and it is a valid question how many of his casual readers ever bothered to try something else by him), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was also a fascinating person, with a full and rich life. He was not only a succesfull writer, but he trained to be a medic and worked as a surgeon, he was a politician, an adventurer, passionate about spiritualism and very much into sports. So saying that he was only one of the very best authors in the "detective genre" is rather diminishing.

2. The writer was a fan of engines, inventions and science, and he was also one of the very first drivers in the UK. He also attended the Prince Henry Tour in 1911, purely writing automotive history. And as a fan of sports was also one of the very first promoters of skiing, besides football and cricket.

3. His full name was Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle and he was born on May 22, 1859, in Edinburgh, Scotland, coming from a Catholic Irish family. It was his mother that had a profound influence on the future writer as the one who made him discover the magic of reading.

4. Despite his passion for science and technology Arthur Conan Doyle was also a firm believer in spiritualism, talking to the dead, mediums and even fairies. Not only that he contacted and frequented several such mediums (although quite a few of them were later proven to be frauds) but he was also a firm promoter of their practices, writing several articles about them. Doyle was also a friend of famous magician Harry Houdini, and was convinced that he had magical powers. And last but not least the author believed in the famous "fairies photographs fraud", which caused somewhat of a stir at that time.

5. There are many who think that without his 1912 book The Lost World the general public wouldn't have rediscovered dinosaurs and they wouldn't have become so popular in fiction. So you could say that without Doyle we wouldn't have had Jurassic Park.

6. He had some very famous literary friends, some of them being by far the very best of his times. He was very close to Bram Stoker and Robert Louis Stevenson, and not only played cricket together with JM Barrie (famous nowadays for Peter Pan) but they even worked on a comic opera together.

7. In the beginning he settled for a very comfortable career as an ophthalmologist in London. It was a total failure. There were many other famous specialists, so practically nobody came to the new doctor. So Arthur Conan Doyle became a writer.

Photo: arthurconandoyle.com
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