Arthur Conan Doyle

Watch Arthur Conan Doyle Explain How He Invented Sherlock Holmes
May 21, 2014

An amazing little video in which Doyle mocks his own creation.

That is So! That is So!
February 22, 2012

The Sense of an Ending By Julian Barnes (Knopf, 163 pp., $23.95) Is it worth it? Life, I mean—is it worth it? Julian Barnes isn’t sure. “I am certainly melancholic myself,” he says in Nothing to Be Frightened Of, a memoir-cum-meditation-on-death, “and sometimes find life an overrated way of passing the time.” Martha Cochrane, in England, England, thinks about “the thinness of life, or at least life as she had known it, or chosen it.” “She had done little in her time,” Jean Serjeant thinks in Staring at the Sun, and Gregory, her son, had done less.

The Embroiderer
February 10, 2011

Under the Sun: The Letters of Bruce Chatwin Selected and edited by Elizabeth Chatwin and Nicholas Shakespeare (Viking, 554 pp., $35) The expression “to embroider the truth” was already current when Sir Walter Raleigh—no mean embroiderer himself—complained about the exaggerations of Greek travelers such as Herodotus. But it could have been invented for the English writer and self-styled nomad Bruce Chatwin instead.

Sherlock Holmes, the Superhero
November 08, 2010

A battle rages within many college students of my acquaintance between a certain bravado meant to signal there’s nothing they don’t know and a looming suspicion there’s nothing they do. It’s the same battle that rages in the rest of us, but with age we grow more adept at concealing it.