A valued icon of British manhood, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has been the subject of numerous biographies since his death in 1930. All his biographers have drawn heavily on his own autobiography, Memories & Adventures, a collection of stories and anecdotes themed on the subject of masculinity and its representation. Diana Barsham discusses Doyle's career in the context of that nineteenth-century biographical tradition which Dr Watson so successfully appropriated. It explores Doyle's determination to become a great name in the culture of his day and the strains on his identity arising from this project. A Scotsman with an alcoholic, Irish, fairy-painting father, Doyle offered himself and his writings as a model of British manhood during the greatest crisis of British history. Doyle was committed to finding solutions to some of the most difficult cultural problematics of late Victorian masculinity. As novelist, war correspondent, historian, legal campaigner, propagandist and religious leader, he used his fame as the creator of Sherlock Holmes to refigure the spirit of British Imperialism. This original and thought-provoking study offers a revision of the Doyle myth. It presents his career as a series of dialoguic contestations with writers like Thomas Hardy and Winston Churchill to define the masculine presence in British culture. In his spiritualist campaign, Doyle took on the figure of St Paul in an attempt to create a new religious culture for a Socialist age.
Contents: Introduction; Model with damaged eyes: autobiographical writings; When did you last see your father? The early fiction; Sh … ! : reminiscences of a London medical man; Tortured bodies and nervous narratives: the novels of the 1890s; Figures in the sand: histories, war correspondence and legal campaigning; Beyond auto/biography: spiritualism and travel writing; Bibliography; Index.
The Nineteenth Century Series aims to develop and promote new approaches and fresh directions in scholarship and criticism on nineteenth-century literature and culture. The series encourages work which erodes the traditional boundary between Romantic and Victorian studies and welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to the literary, religious, scientific and visual cultures of the period. While British literature and culture are the core subject matter of monographs and collections in the series, the editors encourage proposals which explore the wider, international contexts of nineteenth-century literature – transatlantic, European and global. Print culture, including studies in the newspaper and periodical press, book history, life writing and gender studies are particular strengths of this established series as are high quality single author studies. The series also embraces research in the field of digital humanities. The editors invite proposals from both younger and established scholars in all areas of nineteenth-century literary studies.