Arthur Conan Doyle


Arthur Conan Doyle : biography

In 1909 Conan Doyle’s social and political interests were touched by the events in Africa again. That time he stated that Belgian colonial politic course in Congo was too cruel. The writer also criticized British position in the case. Doyle’s letters to “Times” about the situation made effect of a bombshell. The book “The Crime of The Congo” was released in 1909 and caused much response. Many politicians got interested in the problem only after the publishing the book. Conan Doyle position was also supported by Joseph Conrad and Mark Twain. But Rudyard Kipling who used to hold the same views accepted the book with restraint, mentioning that criticizing Belgium might indirectly undermine the colonial positions of Great Britain. In 1909 Conan Doyle also started to protect the case of Jew Oscar Slater who had been wrongly convicted for murder. The writer would win the discharge but only eighteen years later.

Conan Doyle had several unquestionable authorities in literature: in the first place – Walter Scott (Arthur Doyle was grown up with the writer’s books), then George Meredith, Mayne Reid, Ballantyne and Stevenson. When Doyle being a beginner in writing met with Meredith – already advanced in age by that time – the young man got a depressive impression. Doyle noticed that the writer spoke slightingly about new writers and praised himself. Arthur Doyle had never met with Stevenson but used to lead correspondence with him. In spite of that Doyle was very depressed when learnt about the writer’s death; he comprehended that as if his close friend died.

In the beginning of 90s Conan Doyle got acquainted and then led friendly relations with the leaders and staff of magazine “Idler”. They were: Jerome K. Jerome, Robert Barr and James Barry. The latter aroused Doyle’s interest for theatre and initiated Doyle’s collaborations in that field. However the collaborations were not a lot fruitful.

In 1893 Doyle’s sister married writer Ernest Hornung. As the writers became relatives they held friendly relations although they didn’t share some views and ideas. Hornung’s character “noble housebreaker” Raffles was very much alike “noble detective” Holmes.

Conan Doyle highly appreciated Kipling’s works. He also supposed Kipling to be his political ally – they both were furious patriots. In 1895 Doyle supported Kipling in his debates with American opponents and then was invited to Vermont where Kipling lived with his American Conan Doyle had strained relations with Bernard Shaw. The latter once said about Sherlock Holmes that the character was a drug user having no pleasant quality. Some people said that Conan Doyle’s lunges at Hall Caine (a little-known author nowadays) who was fond of self-advertisement were taken by the Irish dramatist as referring to himself. In 1912 Conan Doyle and Bernard Shaw started a public squabble on pages of one paper. The former was protecting the command of Titanic and the latter was blaming the officers of the sunken liner for their behavior.

Conan Doyle was also familiar with Herbert Wells and held friendly relations with him for outward appearance. However Doyle considered Wells to be his antipode. The conflict was strengthened by the fact that Herbert Wells was a part of group of “serious” British writers and Conan Doyle was considered to a talented author writing entertaining books for young people. Doyle himself didn’t agree with that. The confrontation appeared on pages of “Daily Mail” quite openly. Answering a big article by Herbert Wells about workers’ disturbances written in the 20th of June in 1912, Conan Doyle made a well-reasoned lunge showing the banefulness of any revolution activity in Great Britain.

Writing the article Conan Doyle appealed to people to express the protest democratically, through election. Doyle also mentioned that it was not only the working class that had difficulties and the intellectuals with the middle class (which Wells actually didn’t like) too. Agreeing with Wells that there was necessity in a land reform, Doyle denied Wells’s hatred for the ruling class.