Where would we be without Sherlock Holmes? Allusions to him are pervasive. Adaptations and derivations continue year after year. He is brilliant, compulsive, and always right. And yet, despite his iconic stature, he almost never was.
Arthur Conan Doyle, who was born in Scotland, first pursued a career in medicine, studying at the University of Edinburgh. Fellow students included other aspiring writers, namely James Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson. At university, Conan Doyle encountered an inspirational professor named Dr. Joseph Bell who demonstrated extraordinary skill at observation and reasoning. Later Conan Doyle would draw on this man's memory and manner in shaping his famous protagonist.
Conan Doyle's first attempts at writing were reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe, a favorite author. Poe defined the detective genre with his story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." But while a fledgling author, Conan Doyle struggled for years to progress his medical career, begin a family, and establish himself in the world.
A legend is born
The character Sherlock Holmes originally appeared in "A Study in Scarlet" published 135 years ago on December 1, 1887 in the Beeton's Christmas Annual. In the original version of the story, Sherlock was named Sheridan Hope. After some initial success, Conan Doyle's writing career really got a boost after a dinner party with Oscar Wilde, the result of which was the commissioning of the second Sherlock story, "The Sign of Four." And with its publication, Conan Doyle was established as a well-known author, and his hero as a literary icon.
Subsequent stories followed in series, eventually leading to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle's first book of Sherlock short stories, in 1892. By that time, Conan Doyle was ready to drop the guise of a struggling medical practice and fully enter into his career as a writer.
Despite his success, Conan Doyle, who desired to write more serious historical works, grew tired of Sherlock and decided to kill him off in a story the following year. His fans revolted. Within a few more years, however, Conan Doyle revived the character to much applause, even from the British monarch, King Edward VII, who was a particular supporter of his work.
We are so grateful that he did! Storiarts celebrates the legacy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by bringing his quotes and stories to our carefully crafted literary pieces. Enjoy the mystery all over again with our Sherlock Holmes collection.