London Eye 2017 - Difficult - Lesson 7
- Hey, Jeremy, could you do me a huge favour?
- Sure, mate, what is it?
- Could you give me a lift to the library? I've got a bunch of books to drop off.
- Good Lord! Look at that pile! It’s enormous! You're quite the avid reader, aren't you!
- Yeah, I didn't use to read so much! I used to hate books, never set foot in a library before!
- I know! You've never been such a nerd! So what's changed?
- Don't know, something's just clicked inside my head, I got this thirst for knowledge!
- Wow, this is admirable!
- Oh, I’m just pulling your leg... I haven't even read these books... I've just got the hots for the librarian.
Arthur Conan Doyle was born on May 22, 1859. In fact, Conan was his middle name and Doyle was his surname.
Doyle studied medicine in Edinburgh and after graduation started an independent practice in 1882. At first, it was not very successful, and while waiting for patients, he began to write fiction.
In the mid-1880s, he wrote his first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet. His model for Sherlock Holmes was his university teacher Joseph Bell. The writer Robert Stevenson, after reading the story, immediately wrote Conan Doyle that he had recognised Bell's personality easily.
Doyle had difficulties publishing A Study In Scarlet. Finally, in 1886, it was published. Doyle received 25 pounds (around 2900 pounds in today's money).
The Sherlock Holmes series turned out to be a vast success. In 1893, in order to dedicate himself more to historical novels, Doyle "killed" Holmes, throwing him from a cliff together with Professor Moriarti. However, it led to such a great numbers of indignant letters that in 1901 Holmes was featured again in The Hound of Baskervilles.
Altogether, Holmes appears in 56 stories and 4 novels, as well as in many works by other authors.
All his life Doyle had an interest in mystical subjects. For examples, he was convinced that five photos of "fairies" were real (although, decades later it was proved they were a hoax).
Doyle was friends for a time with Harry Houdini, the American magician. Doyle was sure that Houdini himself had supernatural powers. Houdini was unable to convince Doyle that his feats were simply illusions, which led to a big public argument between the two.
Doyle was married twice. In the times of his first marriage to Mary Louise, he was in love with his future second wife, Jean, but kept a platonic relationship with her until Mary Louise's death. Doyle had five children by two wives. Doyle's youngest child, Jean Lena, died in 1997.
On 7 July, 1930, Doyle, aged 71, was found clutching his chest in the hall of Windlesham Manor, his house in Crowborough, East Sussex, on 7 July 1930. He died of a heart attack at the age of 71. His last words were directed toward his wife: "You are wonderful."