The British Library is producing a facsimile copy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s diary from his days as a ship’s doctor in the arctic sea. The Sherlock Holmes creator spent most of a year on the whaler Hope, while still a medical student. It sounds like his time aboard involved lots of falling into icy water and patching up minor injuries.
It may not be a book for everyone — especially since The Guardian article about the upcoming publication includes some descriptions of the sailors and Conan Doyle clubbing and skinning seals. But the quotes do sound like Conan Doyle, like this one about a sailor’s funeral: “Poor old man. They were very kind to him forwards during his illness, and certainly I did my best for him. Made a list of his effects in the evening. Rather a picturesque scene with the corpse and the lanterns and the wild faces around.”
The British Library is clearly interested in mining their Conan Doyle archives. This year they published Doyle’s “lost” novel, The Narrative of John Smith. The manuscript was lost in the mail and Doyle attempted to rewrite it from memory, but did not finish. The British Library is giving fans and researchers a fascinating look into Conan Doyle’s pre-Sherlock Holmes life and development as a writer. Via Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Adventure Diary.