CONAN DOYLE, Sir Arthur




Author Tags: Famous Visitor, Publishing, Transient

During his fourth visit to North America in 1923 (following visits in 1894, 1914 and 1922), the creator of the rationalist-hero detective Sherlock Holmes travelled across Canada, from west to east, to lecture on his favourite topic, Spiritualism, having converted to Spiritualism in 1916. Starting from New York, Conan Doyle travelled with his wife Lady Jean and their three children to Rochester, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Columbus, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Port Arthur and Montreal. "The evils of religion have all come from accepting things which cannot be proved," Doyle wrote. Many Holmes fans were not amused by Doyle's fervent belief in psychic phenomena such as fairies and telepathy.

Conan Doyle once lectured on "The Future of Canadian Literature" in Montreal on 4 June 1914. "[Canadian literature] . . ." he suggested, with precious little knowledge of the subject at hand, "in time to come may well influence the literature of the world." A short account of Conan Doyle’s four trips to North America is contained in Howard Lachtman's Sherlock Slept Here (Santa Barbara: Capra Press, 1985). He described his 1922 trip in Our American Adventure (London: Hodder & Stoughton, Ltd., 1922). The visit to Vancouver is mentioned in Our Second American Adventure (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1924).

Conan Doyle offers the following analysis of the Komagata Maru Incident of May, 1914: "The whole incident seemed to me to be so grotesque--for why should sun-loving Hindus force themselves upon Canada--that I was convinced some larger purpose lay behind it. That purpose was, as we can now see, to promote discord among the races under the British flag. There can be no doubt that it was German money that chartered that ship."

According to an excellent website contribution by Alessandro Gebbia (at www.soalinux.comune.firenze.it/holmes/inglese/ing_gebbia.htm): "The West Coast is the home of several Sherlockian societies. There, Barbara and Christopher Roden have founded Calabash Press, a small, privately-owned publishing house specialising in Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Their motto is "Books by Sherlockians for Sherlockians" and in just a few years the Rodens have transformed their Press into the world's premiere Sherlockian publisher. They have published such significant works as Stephen Clarkson’s The Canonical Compendium (1998), designed both for scholars who are seriously interested in studying Sherlock Holmes’s adventures and for casual readers who want simply to learn a little more about the protagonists of those adventures. The Compendium is divided into two major parts. The first is a "Topical Index" which collects canonical references to more than 80 categories and 144 sub-categories, from Addresses to Weapons. The second part is comprised of sixty individual "Story Indexes," each index containing an introduction that highlights anomalies, presents issues for discussion, and lists in detail the categorical references which appear in the story. The Story Indexes also tell where each item can be found in the five major editions of the Canon (the Doubleday, the Baring-Gould Annotated, the Heritage, the John Murray, and Oxford editions). Calabash Press also published Sidelights on Holmes (1996) by John Hall, in which the popular Sherlockian author examines in detail the Canon and discusses the problems that have fuelled the `game’ over the years. The Case Files of Sherlock Holmes is a series of volumes that will eventually represent the complete Canon. Each volume of the series focusses on different aspects of Holmes’s adventures; articles by leading Sherlockian and Doylean writers treat the subject both in conventional and unconventional ways. Calabash Press and its founders are patient talent scouts too, and have discovered new skilful Canadian pastiche authors including Ronald C. Weyman, Denis O. Smith, David Stuart Davis, and John Hall." Calabash Press operates from Ashcroft, B.C. and be easily found on the internet.

BOOKS:

Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur. Our Second American Adventure (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1924).

[BCBW 2005] "Famous Visitor" "Transient" "Publishing"