The Many Disguises of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Doyle (Sherlock Holmes, Fairies, and the Symbolist Movements in Art and Literature)
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While fairies and Sherlock Holmes may not seem to have much in common, both were thought to be real by many Victorians. Most people are unaware that in addition to the Sherlock Holmes series, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote what he considered a non-fiction book expressing his belief in supernatural fairies. His father, Charles Doyle, shared in this belief and created numerous fairy paintings. Many Victorians believed that Sherlock Holmes was real and Arthur Conan received numerous letters requesting that fictional detective’s assistance. While at first glance the Sherlock stories appear to be very straightforward mysteries, upon further consideration it becomes clear that they are literature of Fin de Siècle and include intellectual Symbolist elements. The following is an investigation of two topics which initially seem widely disparate, fairies and Sherlock Holmes, and how a connection between the two can be explained through the Symbolist movements in art and literature.