Arthur Conan Doyle

A Life in Letters

By Jon Lellenberg; Daniel Stashower; Charles Foley
Penguin Press HC, The, Hardcover, 9781594201356, 720pp.

Publication Date: November 1, 2007

List Price: $37.95*
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Description

This remarkable annotated collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's previously unpublished private correspondence offers unique insight into one of the world's most popular authors. For the first time, Conan Doyle emerges from the shadow of Sherlock Holmes, revealing a man whose character and exploits rival that of his famous creation. In particular, Conan Doyle's correspondence with his mother exposes his endless search for fulfillment and success outside the Holmes stories.

At age sixteen Conan Doyle began studying medicine at Edinburgh University. Just months shy of graduating, he made the adventurous decision to accept a position as a surgeon on a whaling ship heading to the Arctic. He returned to Edinburgh, graduated, and struggled to establish his own medical practice while simultaneously writing and promoting his stories. He suffered years of disappointment as both doctor and author; yet, to his amazement, just two months after the first Sherlock Holmes short stories, he had garnered such a following that he completely abandoned medicine for literature.

As the public clamored endlessly for Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle explored other pursuits: He was a doctor during the Boer War, a World War I correspondent, and the foremost spokesman for Spiritualism. As his life changed, Doyle's correspondence with his mother remained constant. In his letters to "the Mam," Doyle shares the dismay he felt over the critical reception of his other writing, and as his irritation with the Holmes adventures mounts he announces his desire to kill off the character. She is his confidante and trusted counsel throughout her long life.

The editors are known for their expertise and scholarship on the works of Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. Daniel Stashower is an award-winning mystery novelist and author of Teller of Tales, a widely praised biography of Conan Doyle. Jon Lellenberg is the U.S. agent for the Conan Doyle estate and author of The Quest for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Charles Foley is the writer's great-nephew and executor of the estate. Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters will be a must-have collection for readers interested in the author, Sherlock Holmes, and the Victorian era.

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