Arthur Conan Doyle lecture coming up at Ashfield Library, July 18, 2014

The always-intriguing Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, is an object of great fascination for so many people. With a renewed interest in the character of Holmes (though I am personally not such a big thing of the re-invented series), people are once more fascinated by this great author, one of the most successful in his time.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson

Doyle was a complex man. Incredibly energetic and prolific in his writing, he was tortured by his own successful literary creation and staked his claim to literary greatness on turgid historical novels that are now almost forgotten. Born into a Roman Catholic family and being provided with a traditional Jesuit education, he was patriotic and conservative. He also became, in his latter years, a proponent of the then-new religion of Spiritualism. This was the belief that death was not the end of life, but merely the beginning of a new existence on a more harmonious plane, and that the living were capable of communicating with the dead if they could simply develop a sensitive enough spirituality.

A Spiritualist image of Conan Doyle

Conan Doyle also courted public scorn by championing the Cottingley Fairy pictures. In what seems an obvious forgery now, Conan Doyle, already interested in the manifestation of spiritual phenomena in photography, felt sure that the presence and reality of fairies had been recorded on film for the first time. 

Spiritualism was Conan Doyle's abiding concern in his latter years

In her book Brief Encounters, Susannah Fullerton reminds us that Conan Doyle also visited Australia (there's a plaque commemorating the visit down at Circular Quay). While here he conducted lectures in the truths of Spiritualism, and his popularity was viewed with great horror by the Anglican Church in Sydney.

Here are the details of the talk:

David Lewis will give an  illustrated lecture on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes)

Free event - All welcome


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