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The White Company

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The White Company
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle KGStJ, DL (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a British physician and writer who is most noted for his fictional stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, which are generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction. He is also known for writing the fictional adventures of a second character he invented, Professor Challenger, and for popularising the mystery of the Mary Celeste.[1] He was a prolific writer whose other works include fantasy and science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction and historical novels.Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born on 22 May 1859 at 11 Picardy Place, Edinburgh, Scotland.[2][3] His father, Charles Altamont Doyle, was born in England of Irish Catholic descent, and his mother, Mary (née Foley), was Irish Catholic. His parents married in 1855.[4] In 1864 the family dispersed due to Charles's growing alcoholism and the children were temporarily housed across Edinburgh. In 1867, the family came together again and lived in squalid tenement flats at 3 Sciennes Place.[5]

Supported by wealthy uncles, Doyle was sent to the Roman Catholic Jesuit preparatory school Hodder Place, Stonyhurst, at the age of nine (1868–70). He then went on to Stonyhurst College until 1875. From 1875 to 1876, he was educated at the Jesuit school Stella Matutina in Feldkirch, Austria.[5] By the time he left, he had rejected religion and become an agnostic,[6] though he would eventually become a spiritualist mystic.[7]

From 1876 to 1881 he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School, including a period working in Aston (now a district of Birmingham) and Sheffield, as well as Ruyton-XI-Towns, Shropshire.[8] While studying, Doyle began writing short stories. His earliest extant fiction, "The Haunted Grange of Goresthorpe", was unsuccessfully submitted to Blackwood's Magazine.[5] His first published piece The Mystery of Sasassa Valley, a story set in South Africa, was printed in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal on 6 September 1879.[5][9] On 20 September 1879, he published his first academic article, "Gelsemium as a Poison" in the British Medical Journal.[5][10][11]

Doyle was employed as a doctor on the Greenland whaler Hope of Peterhead in 1880[12] and, after his graduation from university in 1881 as MB/CM, as a ship's surgeon on the SS Mayumba during a voyage to the West African coast.[5] He completed his M.D. degree (an advanced degree in England beyond the usual medical degrees) on the subject of tabes dorsalis in 1885.[13]

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