Arthur Conan Doyle : biography
In 1884 Conan Doyle began working at “The Firm of Girdlestone” a social drama with criminal-detective topic (the novel was written under the influence of Dickens). It was about rude and cynical money-grabbing merchants. The novel was published in 1890.
In March of 1886 Conan Doyle started at “A Study in Scarlet” and finished the novel in April that very year. In the beginning he titled the work “A Tangled Skein” and later changed his mind. Publishing house “Word, Lock and Co” bought the novel for just 25 pounds and published it in Christmas issue “Beaton’s Christmas Annual” in 1887 offering Doyle the elder to illustrate the novel.
In 1889 the third novel by Arthur Conan Doyle was released. It was called “The Mystery of Cloomber” and probably it might be called the strangest writing of Doyle. That was the story of lives of three revengeful Buddhist monks – the first piece of literary artwork by Doyle showing his interest in paranormal phenomena. Working at the novel the writer became convinced spiritualism follower.
In February of 1888 Arthur Doyle finished working at novel “Micah Clarke” devoted to the riot in Monmouth (1685) and fighting for overthrowing James II. The novel was released in November and was warmly appreciated by critics. Since that period Conan Doyle’s literary career found a hitch consisting in conflict between his own ambitions and the expectations of the audience. On one hand the publishers and audience wanted more stories about adventures of Sherlock Holms and on the other the writer wanted to create more important novels, mostly historical novels and also plays and poems.
The first important historical writing by Conan Doyle was novel “The White Company”. Conan Doyle decided to write a novel devoted to the critical period in history of feudal England. He put a real historical episode of 1366 for basis of the novel. The events of the novel took place during the period when there was a lull in Hundred Years’ War and new “white companies” of volunteers and hirelings appeared. Continuing the war on France territory they played the leading role in the fight of claimants to Spanish throne. Conan Doyle used the episode for his creative idea, he meant to revive the lifestyle and mores of that time, and he also showed knighthood in heroic halo actually being in declining period at the described period of history. The novel “The White Company” was published in magazine “Cornhill”, the publisher James Penn called the work the best historical novel since “Ivanhoe”. Later in 1891 the novel was republished as a single book. The writer himself would often say that he supposed “The White Company” to be the best work he ever wrote.
With some assumption we can reckon one more Doyle’s novel “Rodney Stone” (which was written in 1896) among historical novels. The events took place in the beginning of the 20th century, such names as Napoleon, Nelson and dramatist Sheridan were mentioned in the writing. In the beginning the play was thought to be a play titled “The House of Temperley”, the play was meant to be written for Britain actor Henry Irwin popular at that time. When working at the novel the writer studied lots of scientific and historical literature (for example “History of fleet” or “History of box”).
Conan Doyle devoted “The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard” and “The Adventures of Gerard” to the events of Napoleon’s wars starting with Trafalgar and finishing with Waterloo. The character himself was probably created in 1892 when George Meredith presented to Doyle three-volume memoirs of Marbo whose might become the prototype for Brigadier Gerard. The first story of the new series “The Medal of Brigadier Gerard” the writer firstly read aloud on scene in 1894 while travelling in United States. That very year in December the story was published in “Strand magazine” and after that the writer continued working at the continuation in Davos. Since April till September of 1895 “The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard” were being published in “Strand magazine”. That very magazine also published “The Adventures of Gerard” (since August 1902 till May 1903). In spite of the fact that the stories about brigadier Gerard were fantastic stories all the historical details in the writing were described with trustworthiness. Famous Britain historian Archibald Forbs wrote to Conan Doyle that the spirit and events of the stories were remarkable, the exactness in historical names and titles showed the great work of made by the writer studying books; just few people would be able to find historical mistakes in the stories and the Archibald himself having distinctive flair for finding mistakes actually could not find any mistakes except tiny exclusions.