Dr. Doyle and Sherlock Holmes

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Dr. Doyle and Sherlock Holmes is an article published in the New-York Tribune on 13 november 1894.

Dr. Doyle and Sherlock Holmes

New-York Tribune (13 november 1894)

The first of the talks and readings at Daly's Theatre.

Dr. A. Conan Doyle, the author of numerous books and the public exponent of numerous fascinating characters, most especially that of Sherlock Holmes, gave the first of his talks and readings at Daly's Theatre yesterday morning. If the two that remain are to be as interesting and entertaining to this one was — and they give promise of being even more so — they should be rewarded with far better audiences than that of yesterday. The audience also will be equally rewarded.

Dr. Doyle began yesterday with some account of his earliest literary efforts and experiences. The very first was his acquaintance with Thackeray, which is certainly a credit to his power of memory, as he met the great novelist only once and was only three years old when he did. His description of the man was certainly a vivid one, if it was drawn entirely from memory. Some of the things that he said about him, however, were just such as a child, even so young as he was at that time, would be most likely to remember. He told of his early passion for reading, of his attempts to write, of his discouragements and his successes, interspersing all his talk with bright and keen comments on the authors who were his favorites or his helpers. It is not possible to believe that one whose writing is so frank and manly, and whose bearing and personality are so genuine and so open, could be insincere with his audience, and so it is necessary to believe that Dr. Doyle has really found many of his suggestions and much of his inspiration in the works of American authors. He makes acknowledgements to Washington Irving, Francis Parkman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, J. Fenimore Cooper and E. A. Poe.

He declares that Poe invented the detective story, and that Poe's detective must always stand as the ideal detective of fiction. He admits that he always turned from the average detective of the story book with a feeling of dissatisfaction. He always found him deriving too much help from mere fortunate chance, and too little from his own resources. This led up to the discussion of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes's logical methods, Dr. Doyle said, were those of an old university professor, who had been his teacher. He told anecdotes illustrating these, and then read one or two selections to show the application of them in the case of Sherlock Holmes. He closed by reading a thrilling short story which has not yet been published.

There is more than a trace of diffidence in Dr. Doyle's manner of speaking, and it is easy to believe him when says that he finds himself in an uncomfortable position when he is forced to talk about himself and his works. He has the air of holding himself up to the task of conducting a clinic, in which he is both the demonstrator and the subject. Since he does bring himself to do it, this quality in his manner of addressing his audience becomes not its least charm. It adds to the honesty of the talk — a pervading spirit of modesty. Any one who had never heard of Dr. Doyle till he heard him speak — if there could be such a person — would know from listening to him that others would speak better things of him than he speaks of himself.

The two remaining readings will be given to-morrow and Friday mornings. To-morrow he will choose his readings from "Sherlock Holmes's Methods," from "The Adventures"; "An Eclipse at Versailles," from "The Refugees"; "The Green Flag," "Judge Jeffreys," from "Micah Clarke," and "The King of Bohemia," from "Sherlock Holmes." The list in which the selections for Friday morning will be taken is as follows: "An Unpublished Tale," from "The Medal of Brigadier Gerard"; "The Openings of the Bags," from "The Refugees". "The Straggler of 15," from "Round the Red Lamp"; "Waterloo," from "The Great Shadow"; "The Hairless Man," from "The Refugees," and "The Speckled Band," from "Sherlock Homes."