In Pursuit of Lost Worlds: Arthur Conan Doyle, Amos Tutuola and Wilson Harris

  • Alan Riach

Abstract

Scottish by birth, Irish by descent, British by self-determination, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was one of the grand old men of Empire. His dates, 1859–1930, when we put them alongside Stevenson’s, 1850–1894, may remind us how young Stevenson was when he died, how prophetic Stevenson’s writing was of modernity, and how easy it is to see Doyle firmly rooted in the imperial world from which he came. However, the magic of his writing will not be confined to history. The Sherlock Holmes stories are legitimately works of Scottish literature not only because they were written by a Scots-man, not only because their hero was based on a Scottish doctor Doyle knew, but also because the London they depict is in many respects modelled on Edinburgh, a much more walkable city. And they are perennially popular. Stevenson himself enjoyed them keenly, writing to Doyle from Samoa on 5 April 1893:

I hope you will allow me to offer you my compliments on your very ingenious and very interesting adventures of Sherlock Holmes. That is a class of literature that I like when I have the toothache. As a matter of fact, it was a pleurisy I was enjoying when I took the volume up; and it will interest you as a medical man to know that the cure was for the moment effectual. Only the one thing troubles me: can this be my old friend Joe Bell?1

Keywords

Europe Amid Assure Doyle Nial 

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Notes

  1. 1.
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© Alan Riach 2005

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  • Alan Riach

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