Thursday, February 18, 2016

Daily Dose of Literature: Sherlock Holmes

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) may not have single-handedly invented the detective story (Indeed, Edgar Allen Poe had more than a small hand in that honor as well), but he certainly created the single most famous, often-imitated, parodied and continually explored literary figure in the entire genre. We're talking, of course, of one Mr. Sherlock Holmes of 221B Baker Street (a fictional address, incidentally).

Doyle is another seminal figure of the early pulps (or more appropriately, pre-pulps). His Holmes stories directly influenced every generation of mystery and crime writers that has followed since. Writers such as Dashell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie and even James Patterson owe a huge debt to Doyle's work.

Like many writers of his day, Doyle led an adventurous life. He was a working doctor and ship's surgeon, an enthusiastic occult investigator and believer in spiritualism (his acquaintance, the noted illusionist and skeptic Harry Houdini would go around in circles with Doyle regarding this issue), a professional football (soccer) player and cricketeer, and even a politician.

Besides Holmes, Doyle must be remembered as a pioneer of the very genre of fiction that is named after his own novel: The Lost World. Doyle wrote a series of fantastic novels about a character who in many ways could be considered a forerunner of the Steampunk genre: Professor Challenger. The Lost World is one of these tales.

Do yourself a favor and check out some of Doyle's works. They're outstanding.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes stories on Feedbooks (ePUB, PDF and Kindle formats)
The Complete Professor Challenger stories on Feedbooks (ePUB, PDF and Kindle)
Full Arthur Conan Doyle story set on Feedbooks (ePUB, PDF, Kindle)

And, as always, when you've got the itch to run some epic Victorian pulp adventures, check out the Amazing Adventures Role Playing Game!


Vicki Weisfeld said...

Thanks for this informative post about Doyle. What a fascinating character! I linked to your post in my review today about a lively new Sherlock Holmes musical on stage in Chicago that also explores Doyle's persona: I tried to explain to my 7-year-old theater companion why people are still writing to 221B Baker Street!

The Grey Elf said...

No problem; glad you enjoyed it!

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