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Accueil » Toutes les news » Sir Arthur Conan Doyle était-il schizophrène ?
Thierry Saint-Joanis
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle était-il schizophrène ?
Was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle schizophrenic?
Février 19, 2007

Arthur Conan Doyle: Beyond Sherlock Holmes de Andrew Norman. Dans cette étude sur Sir Arthur, Andrew Norman s'interroge sur les raisons qui ont conduit l'écrivain vers le paranormal et le spiritisme, et envisage la schizophrénie de l'agent littéraire du docteur Watson...

"Arthur Conan Doyle: Beyond Sherlock Holmes" de Andrew Norman

Dans cette étude sur Sir Arthur, Andrew Norman s'interroge sur les raisons qui ont conduit l'écrivain vers le paranormal et le spiritisme. S'appuyant sur des rapports médicaux et des écrits de Sir Arthur, et considérant l'alcoolisme de son père comme un facteur déclancheur, l'auteur construit une thèse qui envisage la schizophrénie de l'agent littéraire du docteur Watson...

In the year 1900, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was at the height of his success. A qualified doctor who had travelled widely, a keen and able sportsman, chronicler of the South African war, writer of historical novels, champion of the oppressed and, most notably, the creator of that honourable, brave, scientific and eminently sensible master detective "Sherlock Holmes". Every new Holmes story was greeted with great anticipation and confidence, in the knowledge that however complex the crime, the supremely intelligent and logical detective would solve it. It therefore came as a great surprise to his readers, when in 1916, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle declared that he believed in spiritualism. And when, in 1922, Doyle published a book in which he professed to believe in fairies, his devotees were nonplussed. How could the creator of the inexorably logical Sherlock Holmes claim to believe in something as vague and unproven as the paranormal? In this fascinating study of the life of the creator of one of the greatest detectives of all time, Dr Andrew Norman traces the story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's strange beliefs. Can it be that Doyle's alcoholic father holds the key to the unanswered questions about his son? What was Doyle's involvement in the infamous Cottingley fairy affair? By delving into medical records and the writings of Doyle himself, Dr Norman unravels a mystery as exciting as any of the cases embarked upon by Sherlock Holmes, but in this case about the author himself.

Description :

    * Paperback: 192 pages
    * Publisher: Tempus Publishing Ltd (10 Feb 2007)
    * Language English
    * ISBN-10: 0752441876
    * ISBN-13: 978-0752441870

Une critique tirée de Scotland on Sunday du 18 février :

A former GP last night sparked a literary row after claiming to have unearthed proof that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was schizophrenic.
Doctor turned author Andrew Norman makes the claim in a new book, which uses Conan Doyle's medical records, family history and fictional works as evidence for his claim.

Arthur Conan Doyle: Beyond Sherlock Holmes, a biography due out next month, alleges that the Edinburgh-born author inherited the mental condition from his father Charles.
It has been widely reported that the writer's early life was marked by tragedy. After returning from a difficult time at boarding school, the young would-be author was asked to co-sign the committal papers of his father, who by then was suffering from dementia.
It has been suggested that Conan Doyle's 1880 story, The Surgeon Of Gaster Fell, echoes the dramatic circumstances surrounding the confinement of his father to a lunatic asylum.
Conan Doyle's father spent almost a decade in the Royal Asylum of Montrose and the Crichton Hospital in Dumfries.
The writer's world was turned upside down again when his first wife, Louisa Hawkins, contracted tuberculosis and died. He remarried but reports suggest he never really recovered.
In his book, Norman cites his father's alcoholism and mental illness to illustrate his most sensational claim that Conan Doyle "may well have inherited his delusional disorder from his father Charles (who had exhibited many of the features of a schizophrenia)."
While Conan Doyle was best known for his Sherlock Holmes stories, his body of work also included science fiction stories, historical novels, plays and romances, poetry and non- fiction.
Norman claims in the book that Conan Doyle went on to display classic signs of mental illness in his later life and believed voices were calling him from "another world".
In a chapter entitled 'Doyle's Delusions: An Inherited Disease?', Nelson writes: "Psychiatrists agree that there is a tendency for affective (mood) disorders and schizophrenia to be inherited, through the genetic mechanism."
Later in his life Conan Doyle became involved in spiritualism and wrote a novel, The Land of Mist, that focused on the subject.
His 1921 book The Coming Of The Fairies was published complete with theories about the nature and existence of fairies and spirits.
His work in this particular area was reportedly the reason that one of his short story collections, The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes, was banned in the Soviet Union in 1929 for supposed occultism.
But last night, many people remained to be convinced by the schizophrenia claims.
Former Bishop of Edinburgh and head of Creative Scotland, Richard Holloway, said: "I do not think that psychoanalysis should be a long-distance sport.
"Indeed, I am slightly allergic to this idea of pop psychology, especially in this case when the person in question is not even around any more and there has been no one-on-one contact. I think with this sort of thing you have to question, 'What's the point?'"
Composer and conductor, James MacMillan said he was "suspicious" of those keen to re-write history in all areas of art.
He added: "There's a lot of revisionism going on at the moment and not just about people in the arts. It seems to be very much part of the zeitgeist. It almost seems to be a hobby or a trend to rewrite traditional history.
"My suspicion would be that there is an agenda at work here. I'm always dubious about seeing a skewed revision of people's past."
Scotland on Sunday's literary editor, Stuart Kelly, said: "It is very tempting to use the work to get a greater insight into the life but authors do imagine as well as transcribe.
"Plenty of other authors have written, and still are writing, about schizophrenia who are not schizophrenic. After all, do we think that Robert Louis Stevenson was because he wrote Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde?
"It's been well documented that Conan Doyle's father had a drink problem and mental issues, so it's just as likely that the author got much of his ideas from there."
The Conan Doyle legacy has not been shy of controversy. Earlier this month crime writer Ian Rankin accused Tessa Jowell, the culture minister, of "literary snobbery" after she refused to protect the writer's former home.
Jowell's Department of Culture, Media and Sport decided not to give Grade I-listed status to Undershaw, the Surrey home Conan Doyle built for his ill wife and where he wrote The Hound Of The Baskervilles in 1902.
An advisory report by English Heritage suggested that the writer does not occupy a "position in the nation's consciousness" as great as that of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling and Charles Darwin, who have all been recognised by the Grade I listing of their homes.


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