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Old 12-22-2007, 05:04 AM
DutchPhil DutchPhil is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2007
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Default Re: Jesuit-Trained Movers and Shakers

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, DL (22 May 18597 July 1930) was a Scottish author most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, which are generally considered a major innovation in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger. He was a prolific writer whose other works include science fiction stories, historical novels, plays and romances, poetry, and non-fiction.

Arthur Conan Doyle was born on 22 May 1859, in Edinburgh, Scotland, to an English father, Charles Altamont Doyle, and an Irish mother, Mary Foley, who had married in 1855. Although he is now referred to as "Conan Doyle", the origin of this compound surname is uncertain.[1] Conan Doyle's father was an artist, as were his paternal uncles (one of whom was Richard Doyle), and his paternal grandfather John Doyle.

Conan Doyle was sent to the Roman Catholic Jesuit preparatory school St. Mary's Hall, Stonyhurst, at the age of eight. He then went on to Stonyhurst College, but by the time he left the school in 1875, he had rejected Christianity to become an agnostic.

From 1876 to 1881 he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, including a period working in the town of Aston (now a district of Birmingham). While studying, he also began writing short stories; his first published story appeared in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal before he was 20.[2] Following his term at university, he served as a ship's doctor on a voyage to the West African coast. He completed his doctorate on the subject of tabes dorsalis in 1885.[3]

Conan Doyle's education took place at home and in a local Edinburgh school until, at the age of nine, he was sent to the Jesuit preparatory school of Hodder in Lancashire. Hodder was attached to the Jesuit secondary school of Stonyhurst, and it was to the latter that Conan Doyle moved two years later. The time spent at Stonyhurst was not a particularly happy one, although the records show that the young Doyle was a better than average performer. The spartan surroundings and the Jesuit discipline did not appeal to the young ACD, and it appears that he experienced his fair share of corporal punishment. Fortunately, Conan Doyle's mother struggled to meet the expense of his education at Stonyhurst, rather than dedicate the boy's life to the Jesuits in return for a free education.

It was during his Stonyhurst years that Conan Doyle began seriously to examine his religious beliefs and, by the time he left the school in 1875, he had firmly rejected Catholicism, and probably Christianity in general, and had become an agnostic. The turmoil and questioning which must have taken place in his own mind is dealt with in some detail in the semi-autobiographical novel, The Stark Munro Letters.

After leaving Stonyhurst, Conan Doyle spent a further year with the Jesuits in Feldkirch, Austria, before returning to Edinburgh to study medicine at the University from 1876 to 1881. Besides providing him with a medical degree, Edinburgh University also brough Conan Doyle into contact with two characters who were to be important models for future fictional creations: Professor Rutherford, whose Assyrian beard, prodigious voice, enormous chest, and singular manner became translated into Professor George Edward Challenger of The Lost World; and Dr Joseph Bell, whose amazing deductions concerning the history of his patients were to provide the ideas behind the deductive skills of Sherlock Holmes.
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