Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.
The quote is one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous one. This post remembers him on his 158th Birthday and celebrates the genius that the legendary writer was. The famous author and creator of Sherlock Holmes was born on 22nd May 1859 in Edinburg Scotland.
There are some fun facts about the author which I am sure many of his followers and fans are not aware of. This is bookGeek’s list of 14 fun facts about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
- A few people know that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle can actually be credited for the Jurassic Park. He wrote the book The Lost World in 1912, at a time when people hardly knew what dinosaurs were. His book gained immense popularity and inspired a lot of novels and movies.
- His surname does not have Conan. It is actually a part of his two middle names. His actual name was Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle which he changed upon graduating from high school. Conan thus only later became a part of his surname.
- It is a known fact that Sir Arthur Conan was knighted by King Edward VII in 1902. But it wasn’t for writing fiction but for penning a pamphlet which justified British actions during the ongoing Boer War.
- Talking about the knighthood, at the outset, Doyle had wanted to refuse knighthood on the grounds that what he did was his duty. His mother, however, was shocked to learn this and later convinced him to accept the honour.
- Talking about the Boer War, Doyle wanted to volunteer as a soldier but he was not accepted because of him being overweight.
- Since he could not be a soldier, he later volunteered as a medical officer on a ship to Africa and it was this experience which inspired him to write one of his story which he titled “The Captain of the Polestar.”
- Conan Doyle was also an enthusiastic investigator. He amateurishly solved a couple of mysteries. A particular one which gained much popularity was when he successfully got the Oscar Slater released from prison. Oscar Slater was wrongly convicted of the murder of an 82-year-old woman.
- He was a failed doctor – Arthur Conan Doyle set up an ophthalmology practice in London which means he studied to be an eye and vision care specialist. Doyle wrote in his autobiography that not a single patient ever crossed his door. It was his failure as a doctor which gave him all the time to focus on his writing.
- Doyle killed his most famous creation Sherlock Holmes, the same year his alcoholic father died in an asylum – 1893. It is also said and believed that he killed Sherlock so that he could focus on writing about his passion – Spiritualism.
- The celebrated detective returned, however. Doyle had to resurrect him ten years later, on public demand and monetary grounds. Doyle believed that the money earned through Sherlock books could be used to for popularizing spiritualism.
- His mother loved Sherlock more than he did. He is said to have written to his mother “I think of slaying Holmes,… and winding him up for good and all” He admitted to having gotten weary of his best creation and it was his mother who persuaded him against it for a long time before he actually killed him in 1893.
- Doyle believed in fairies. In 1917, there was a famous hoax called the Cottingley Fairy photographs and Doyle believed in them and he also spent millions promoting them. He also wrote a book called The Coming of the Fairies (1921), to promote their authenticity. The photos were later proved to have been faked.
- Doyle ran for parliament twice in 1900 and in 1906. He did receive some good number of votes but never actually got to win.
- Doyle’s first book was lost in the post. At the age of 23, he wrote his first book and had it sent in the mail to a publisher. But the post was lost and he actually rewrote the book up to 150 pages before finally deciding to give up. The mail and book remain a mystery to this date.
- Doyle died in a fashion befitting an author like him. At the time of his death, Doyle was in his Garden and he collapsed, clutching a flower in his hand and is said to have whispered these last words to his wife: “You are wonderful”.