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The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes: The Life and Times of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Paperback – November 18, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Lycett excels in unearthing the sources from which Doyle drew to endow Holmes with unique skills.... [A] brilliant analysis." -- Sunday Herald (Scotland)
"In Andrew Lycett's hugely enjoyable new biography, the sheer breathtaking dynamism of [Conan Doyle] shines through.... [An] impeccably researched book." -- The Sunday Telegraph (London)
"It is the precise and intelligent appreciation of the differences by which Conan Doyle was composed that makes Lycett's diagnosis of his subject so thoroughly satisfying. Using previously unseen archives, Lycett gives us Conan Doyle as a late Victorian and definitive Edwardian, battling with the uncertainties of his own age, weary of the uncertainties of the next one." -- The New Statesman (London)
"Conan Doyle has found a biographer of distinction in Andrew Lycett.... Lycett's brilliant piece of detective work on the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories now allows us to judge his literary worth against that of his peers and properly to set him in the context of his times.... [A] splendid biography." -- The Guardian, Book of the Week selection (London)
"[A] sympathetic new biography...shrewd and thorough...entertaining." -- The Independent on Sunday (London)
"Comprehensive and action-packed.... The first [biography] to incorporate private family papers that became available only after the death of the author's last surviving offspring.... We see Conan Doyle's flaws as clearly as his virtues.... Despite its wealth of detail, the book moves quickly." -- The Washington Post
"Lycett seamlessly interweaves Conan Doyle's letters, autobiography, and published travel writing.... The most detailed map yet published." -- Los Angeles Times
"A sophisticated and fascinating life study." -- Booklist
Top Customer Reviews
Doyle was born in 1859 in Scotland, of Irish parents. He was all her life devoted to his "Mam", perhaps excessively even by Victorian standards. Many of his words quoted here are from letters to her. His father was insane and an alcoholic, incarcerated for years in mental institutions. Doyle abandoned his family's Catholicism and as a young man claimed agnosticism at a time when the term and the idea was a new one, before eventually claiming spiritualism. Though Lycett covers Doyles other literary works, it is Sherlock who will always be most important.Read more ›
Despite his vivid imagination, Arthur embarked on a career path of medicine. Fortunately for Sherlock Holmes fans, he discovered that he was a mediocre doctor but a great writer. Oddly, although a man of science, his interests took him through phases of dabbling with the occult, studying hypnotism, playing with the Ouija board and toying with spiritualism.
"Becoming a spiritualist so soon after creating the quintessentially rational Sherlock Holmes: that is the central paradox of Arthur's life." It is possible that the introduction of Dr. John Watson was necessary to balance that out. Watson is more romantic, more human, more fallible --- sometimes even to the point of naïvete --- than Holmes. Together, they round each other out.
More than a mere biography, Andrew Lycett's book is a fascinating study in how a character is conceived, groomed and shaped into someone who readers demand to see more of. Conan Doyle possessed a very active, inquiring mind, which is well used in his beloved stories. He lived in a lively time of wondrous authors: Charles Dickens, H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson and Rudyard Kipling, to name a few.Read more ›
Some may know of his "Lost World" novel which predates "Jurassic Park" by 80 years. Fewer still are aware of his two successful campaigns to free unjustly convicted men from prison, using his gifts of deductive reasoning. Mr. Doyle was a remarkable man in whom the spiritual and the rational resided side by side. The biography is illustrated and a tad long, especially by the time the reader reaches the 1920's. Overall a fascinating read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Most readers are familiar with Conan Doyle’s famous character who solves crimes in Victorian London using forensic methods. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Daniel P. King
Excellent condition. Inexpensive. Great seller. The text itself i am but half way through but it is very interesting and quite detailed.Published 24 months ago by Katrina Hill
Doyle had an interesting life, but this biography was SO detailed that I became bogged down in minutia. Still, I learned a great deal.Published on October 17, 2013 by Devijun
Will enjoy this forever. It is written by a Brit, of course, who is a very gifted writer. It will take me forever I hope to read this 500 page book...surpasses my expectations.Published on August 20, 2013 by lesliek
Perhaps it is the author, perhaps it is the publisher, or perhaps it is Amazon who is making the claim that this book is the "first definitive biography" of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Read morePublished on April 2, 2013 by Treasure Island Books
A highly detailed, exquisitely researched biography. I would not be surprised to find that Lycett invented both a time machine and a shrink ray so that he could spend every single... Read morePublished on November 5, 2012 by Bitter Lawyer
How I looked forward to reading this biography based on the glowing reviews here! I'm glad, however, that instead of purchasing this book, I borrowed it from our local... Read morePublished on October 10, 2012 by An Avid Reader
There is nothing better than to read an autobiography of the person who created your hero. You get to understand all the reasons behind the actual character. Read morePublished on November 1, 2011 by seaboard