Memories and Adventures

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Cambridge University Press, Feb 16, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 434 pages
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Known as 'the great northern diver' to his crewmates, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) fell into the Arctic Ocean on three occasions during his voyage as doctor on a whaler, before becoming part of the harpooning crew. This adventure sets the scene for the remarkable variety of his later life. In his autobiography, first published in 1923, he details everything from that first voyage to his literary success, his collaboration with playwright J. M. Barrie (whose Sherlock Holmes parody is included), and his involvement in the setting up of volunteer groups during the First World War. He describes how the methods of Sherlock Holmes helped him solve several real-life mysteries and, in a touching counterpoint to this scientific approach, closes with a chapter on his belief in spiritualism. Characteristically astute and entertaining, this book will appeal to students of early twentieth-century history, Holmes fans and the curious general reader alike.
 

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Contents

CHAP PAGE EARLY RECOLLECTIONS
7
UNDER THE JEsu1Ts
13
REcoL1 EcT1oNs or A STUDENT
22
WHALING IN THE ARCTIC OCEAN
34
MY VoYAeE To WEsT AFRICA
47
MY Fmsr EXPERIENCES IN PRACTICE
57
MY START AT SoUTnsEA
64
MY FmsT LITERARY Succrzss
72
An INTERLUDE or PEAcE
144
THE START FOR SOUTH AFRICA
152
DAYs wrrn THE ARMY
165
FINAL EXPERIENCES IN Sourn AFRICA
178
AN APPEAL TO THE WoE1 ns Ormron
189
MY PomT1cAL ADVENTURES
200
cnAr PAGE XXI TEE YEARS BETWEEN THE WARS
210
THE YEAns BETWEEN TEE WARS contd
228

Punmne UP THE Aucnon
82
THE GREAT BREAK
93
CONTENTS
96
SmEuenTs on Smanrocx HOLMES
101
Noawoon AND SWITZERLAND
116
Eevrr m 1896
126
ON THE EDGE or A Sronm
134
SonE NQTAELE PEOPLE
242
SoIrE RECOLLECTIONS 011 S203
269
To TEE Rocxv MouNrAINs IN 1914
294
EXPERIENCES oN TEE BRITISH FRONT 843
361
BREAKING THE HINDENBURG LINE 881
381
THE Psrcnrc QuEsT
396
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About the author (2012)

The most famous fictional detective in the world is Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. However, Doyle was, at best, ambivalent about his immensely successful literary creation and, at worst, resentful that his more "serious" fiction was relatively ignored. Born in Edinburgh, Doyle studied medicine from 1876 to 1881 and received his M.D. in 1885. He worked as a military physician in South Africa during the Boer War and was knighted in 1902 for his exceptional service. Doyle was drawn to writing at an early age. Although he attempted to enter private practice in Southsea, Portsmouth, in 1882, he soon turned to writing in his spare time; it eventually became his profession. As a Liberal Unionist, Doyle ran, unsuccessfully, for Parliament in 1903. During his later years, Doyle became an avowed spiritualist. Doyle sold his first story, "The Mystery of the Sasassa Valley," to Chambers' Journal in 1879. When Doyle published the novel, A Study in Scarlet in 1887, Sherlock Holmes was introduced to an avid public. Doyle is reputed to have used one of his medical professors, Dr. Joseph Bell, as a model for Holmes's character. Eventually, Doyle wrote three additional Holmes novels and five collections of Holmes short stories. A brilliant, though somewhat eccentric, detective, Holmes employs scientific methods of observation and deduction to solve the mysteries that he investigates. Although an "amateur" private detective, he is frequently called upon by Scotland Yard for assistance. Holmes's assistant, the faithful Dr. Watson, provides a striking contrast to Holmes's brilliant intellect and, in Doyle's day at least, serves as a character with whom the reader can readily identify. Having tired of Holmes's popularity, Doyle even tried to kill the great detective in "The Final Problem" but was forced by an outraged public to resurrect him in 1903. Although Holmes remained Doyle's most popular literary creation, Doyle wrote prolifically in other genres, including historical adventure, science fiction, and supernatural fiction. Despite Doyle's sometimes careless writing, he was a superb storyteller. His great skill as a popular author lay in his technique of involving readers in his highly entertaining adventures.

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