“-and behold the result!”*
Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure by Arthur Conan Doyle, edited by Jon Lellenberg and Daniel Stashower, was published on Tuesday 25 September 2012 by the British Library (Hardback, 368 pages, £25).
In February 1880, when Arthur Conan Doyle was only twenty years old, he embarked upon ‘the first real outstanding adventure in my life,’ spending seven months as a ship’s surgeon on an Arctic whaler. The voyage took the young Conan Doyle into unknown regions and plunged him into dangerous and bloody work on the ice floes of the Arctic seas. His unforgettable adventure was echoed in a number of his early landmarks as a writer.
A ghost story based on the experience, ‘The Captain of the Pole-Star,’ got him noticed in publishing circles as a promising young writer and a magazine article called ‘The Glamour of the Arctic’ won him the respect of intrepid Arctic explorers.
During the voyage Conan Doyle kept a detailed diary. This incredible document, hidden from public view for more than a century, is written in his clear handwriting and is illustrated with many charming pen-and-ink sketches of scenes of life on board and of the sea-creatures and other sights he saw. It provides a vivid account of the coming of age of the young man who would go on to create Sherlock Holmes, and of a life at sea that no longer exists. The book features a facsimile of this remarkable diary, with a transcript as well as several non-fiction and fiction pieces based on the experience, including the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of Black Peter. It also includes photographs of the ship, its captain, and young Conan Doyle on deck.
The publication of this unknown diary will be welcomed by all Arthur Conan Doyle enthusiasts.
Want To See More?
There was an excellent article about the new book in the Daily Mail on 15 September 2012. You can read it here.
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The main article above was culled from the British Library ‘Advance Information Sheet.’ *Headline quotation taken from The Adventure of Black Peter.