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Arthur Conan Doyle


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A collection of letters between Arthur Conan Doyle (author and creator of Sherlock Holmes) and his mother, covering most of his life, written between 1867 and the year of her death in 1921. Doyle was raised almost solely by his mother in Dickensian circumstances, (his father latterly suffered from dipsomania and epilepsy and so spent much of his later life in asylums). Since Sherlock Holmes's inception in 1887, he has been one of the best-known and widely read literary characters, and the subject of more radio and television shows and motion pictures than any other fictional character in history. Although Doyle and his Holmes continue to be much written about, talked about and adapted, this is the first time that this material, along with other personal papers, has ever been made available. Conan Doyle although most famously remembered for Holmes, was also a physician, sportsman, public figure, war correspondent, pioneer of science fiction, psychic investigator, and prominent spiritual missionary. These letters reveal fascinating portraits of Doyle: his trip to the Arctic aged 21 where he served as a ship's surgeon on a whaling ship; his unprofitable stint as a Harley Street doctor and his decision to abandon this in favour of writing, more money and the opportunity to help his mother to look after his many younger brothers and sisters; his friendships with J.M.Barrie (among others); his attempts to write material other than Holmes; and his involvement in the spiritualist movement -- something that his mother, a devout Roman Catholic, was completely against. 'Mam' as he called her, was his most loyal confidant, and his letters functioned to a certain extent as confession and cleansing penance, until his mother's death in 1921. The collection is annotated by Daniel Stashower, award-winning mystery novelist and author of the recent Conan Doyle biography "Teller of Tales", and Jon Lellenberg, the U.S agent for the Conan Doyle estate. Lead title / 'Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters' is a never before published collection of letters eagerly awaited by Conan Doyle fans. It will reveal the most personal and intimate details of his life. / A new Sherlock Holmes wave is currently underway. 'The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes' won the Mystery Writer of America Edgar Award in 2005, while a host of 'Holmesian' new novels are sweeping the bestseller lists, such as Mark Haddon's 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time', Michael Chabon's 'The Final Solution' and Mitch Cullin's 'A Slight Trick of the Mind'. / The collection is annotated by Daniel Stashower, an award-winning mystery novelist and author of the recent Conan Doyle biography 'Teller of Tales' and Jon Lellenberg, the U.S agent for the Conan Doyle estate. / Will appeal to everyone who loved 'Arthur and George' which sold over 285,000 copies in the UK alone.

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By Daniel Stashower, Jon Lellenberg and Charles Foley


The enduring popularity of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) can largely be attributed to his stories of Sherlock Holmes-one of the most widely recognized characters in English literature. Edited by Lellenberg, U.S. agent for the Conan Doyle estate; Charles Foley, the Victorian writer's great-nephew; and mystery novelist/biographer Daniel Stashower, this volume excerpts Conan Doyle's previously unpublished letters, most written to his mother. In addition to covering his literary pursuits, it chronicles the near-complete range of Doyle's life, from letters he wrote as a schoolboy to correspondence dating from the decade before his death. The letters stand as a companion to Stashower's Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle, which relates the details of Conan Doyle's medical career, his enlistment in the Boer War, his attempts to stand for Parliament, and the untimely death of his son, Kingsley. This latter event deepened Doyle's interest in spiritualism, for which he became an avid crusader. The text is illustrated with portraits and photographs as well as reproductions of manuscript pages and early editions; the editors place the letters in context with copious annotations. An invaluable addition to public and academic libraries.-Alison M. Lewis, formerly with Drexel Univ. Lib., Philadelphia Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

'Fairly hums with Conan Doyle's trademark enthusiasm.' Independent on Sunday 'Superbly edited by three Conan Doyle scholars, (it) sheds new light on the writer's work and inner life, as well as his various love affairs and spiritualist crises!"A Life in Letters" is a monument to the enduring popularity of the occupant of 221b Baker Street and greatest investigator of all!This plum pudding of a book is essential reading to fans of Conan Doyle.' Financial Times 'The selected letters!convey an almost physical presence of the author, with his strange mixture of kindness and carelessness, overbearing self-confidence and depressive self-doubt.' Economist

This fascinating collection of previously unpublished letters from the creator of Sherlock Holmes offers a revealing glimpse of a Renaissance man fated to be overshadowed by his most famous character. Beginning with correspondence from Doyle as an eight-year-old in 1867, the editors offer a warts-and-all picture of his life until 1920, 10 years before his death, covering the author's frank accounts of life at a boarding school, his struggles as a young doctor and aspiring writer, and his political advocacy. Those seeking insights into the creation of Holmes may be disappointed; while Doyle's ambivalence toward Holmes is well known, this collection reveals the extent to which he viewed his character principally as a source of income rather than a lasting legacy. The editors-Doyle experts Lellenberg and Stashower, and Doyle's great-nephew Foley-have nicely balanced the content: the letters reveal Doyle's stiff upper lip when he lost a son during the Great War, and his sense of humor, as in a hilarious report to his mother on the birth of his daughter Mary. This will be essential reading for all fans of Conan Doyle and his sleuth. (Andrew Lycett's biography of Conan Doyle, The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes, is due from the Free Press this fall.) Illus. (Nov. 1) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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