THE OXFORD SHERLOCK HOLMES General Editor: OWEN DUDLEY EDWARDS
SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE was born in Edinburgh in 1859 to Irish Catholic parents. A Jesuit pupil at Stonyhurst, he graduated in medicine from Edinburgh ( 1881), and won his doctorate ( 1885). He practised medicine at Southsea in the 1880s as well as in a Greenland whaler, a West African trader, and (after 20 years' retirement) a Boer War hospital. His literary career began in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal before he was 20, and he invented Sherlock Holmes when 26. After moving to London he transferred Holmes and Watson to short stories in the newly launched Strand magazine ( 1891) where he remained the lead author. A master of the short story, Conan Doyle's other great series revolved around Brigadier Gerard and Napoleon, while of his longer stories the same mix of comedy with adventure characterized his historical and scientific fiction, with unforgettable heroes such as the minute bellicose Sir Nigel, the Puritan crook Decimus Saxon, and the Shavian egomaniac Professor Challenger. His influence on the detective story was omnipresent, but his own literary stature as a classic is only now receiving its scholarly due. He died in 1930.
W. W. ROBSON was Emeritus David Masson Professor of English Literature at the University of Edinburgh and author of Modern English Literature. His editions of G. K. Chesterton Father Brown and Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Book are also in Oxford World's Classics.
OWEN DUDLEY EDWARDS, the general editor of The Oxford Sherlock Holmes, is Reader in History at the University of Edinburgh and author of The Quest for Sherlock Holmes: A Biographical Study of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.