Saturday, June 24, 2006

Anybody know?

Correct me if I'm wrong...

Read a bio quite a while
ago, that stated that Sir
Arthur Conan Doyle was
also a doctor, an oculist-
(eye doctor) I believe it
was, although quite an
unsuccessful one. He
preferred the title "Dr."
to "Sir," but as a result of
his lack of patients, he re-
luctantly continued writing
his incredibly popular
stories about Sherlock
Holmes.

I have a lousy memory,
so as I said, please correct
me if I mis-state a fact...

Sherlock Holmes was based
on a real man that Conan-
Doyle had worked for. He
was a very successful doctor,
and his astuteness at diag-
nosing a patient astounded
Doyle.

Doyle's position was as an
assistant. He would inter-
view each patient in the
waiting room, carefully
writing down all their
symptoms before they
saw the doctor- described
by Doyle as being a thin,
hawkish looking man...

When the patient would
enter the doctor's office,
Doyle would marvel at
the doctor, who could
"deduce" their symptoms
just by looking at them-
repeating them exactly as
Doyle had written them
down, without having
seen the list...

Do you see what I see?

7 comments:

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

As one who has read and re-read the Sherlock Holmes stories, I can see (deduce?) that Dr. Doyle was the Watson of the MD from whom he worked as an assistant. Interesting insight, that!

Michelle said...

Was going to say what Nick said,just not as unique :o)

rhapsody said...

Excellent deduction, Nick!

I rechecked the bio I had read while I was at work yesterday...

This doctor was renown for being able to look at a person, and even be able to tell what they did for a living. He had a large office, and kept himself surrounded by students and assistants- (the Baker Street Irregulars?) Pardon me, but isn't this an old magician's trick? This is only a theory on my part, as the book, (& apparantly Doyle)didn't say- but I think he'd have the students set out in the crowded waiting room while Doyle queried the patients, have them discreetly enter his office and relay the info to him, thereby creating the illusion that he could diagnose you just by looking at you. How likely is that? And, if that were actually the case...

What would he have needed Doyle for:)

Again, this is all only a theory on my part. Doyle was an adventurer- he could be a bit gullible (again, my opinion) in some regards, but he was an accomplished, intelligent man whose passions included a love for Napoleonic history.

Thanks to both of you for writing:)

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Did you per chance see the PBS program on the Piltdown man hoax? It seems that Sir Arthur was one of the suspected culprits in creating the hoax.

rhapsody said...

Thanks again for writing! I didn't know about it. Will keep my eyes open, & check the net for info too.

Doyle tended to believe in rather unlikely things.

There was a Turner cable movie a few years ago about Harry Houdini. It was advertised as being a movie that Houdini himself would have liked, as it incorporated ever myth associated with him, as fact:)

Doyle & Houdini knew each other- the movie touched on Houdini's extreme annoyance with Doyle concerning a seance or some other kind of psychic occurrence they had endeavored together. I think Doyle claimed his wife could "contact" Houdini's deceased mom, & something went wrong... I don't quite recall exactly.

Thanks for the info- going to look it up!

nightfly said...

Sorry for being late, but I'm a huge Holmes fan and felt like I had to say something.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was indeed an eye doctor, and Holmes' powers of observation and deduction could well have sprung from his time as apprentice to the man you've described. But for whatever reason, ACD turned out to have much less popular a practice - he turned to the Holmes stories in order to keep from starving while establishing his practice!

He considered it slumming, I suppose - after the first twelve tales made him known far and wide, he wanted to turn full-time to writing, but of more serious long-length works. (One of these was The Lost World, and no doubt ACD would have been apalled at the Kroft Bros. for what they did with it.) He asked for an exorbitant sum for the next twelve Holmes stories and was shocked and embarrassed when his price was met without debate; his revenge was to kill Holmes at the end of the run.

Of course, the public sentiment was such that he was forced to bring Holmes back, the precursor to so many lame and implausable "not really dead" story arcs that he'd surely weep some more.

And yes, ACD, much unlike Holmes, was a spiritualist at the end. IIRC he'd lost a son and was desperately upset about it. Wiki probably has a lot more...

rhapsody said...

Thanks for writing, Mr. Nightfly:)

Well... from what I remember- he set up his practice on doctor's row, expecting, at the very least, the professional courtesy where there would be an exchange of references for the different specialties... but it never happened, as this scenario was unfortunately not the case. So he did, very reluctantly, write to eat. I vaguely remember reading that he had only had one patient at this particular practice...

I believe it was prior to this, that he was invited to join a doctor friend in his very successful practice. This guy would fuss & fawn over every little boo-boo that walked through his door- making each patient feel especially special & cared for. & it worked very well. Again, Doyle marvelled- and would write to his mum (I think it was) about his partner's very unique technique...

If I remember correctly, the partner & his wife were reading Doyle's letters. They concocted a preposterous story, & sent Doyle packing. Doyle accidentally but accurately discovered the truth- & got a big laugh out of it- although the friendship was over.

Going to check out your recommendation- & please feel free to correct any boo-boos I may have made, anytime-

It's never too late:)

CVA

Pier One

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