Within that exclusive group of literarycharacters who have survived through the centuries--from Hamlet to HuckleberryFinn--few can rival the cultural impact of Sherlock Holmes. Since his firstpublic appearance 20 years ago, the gentleman with the curved pipe and a tastefor cocaine, the master of deductive reasoning and elaborate disguise, has lefthis mark everywhere--in crime literature, film and television, cartoons and comicbooks.
At Holmes' side, of course, was his trustedfriend Dr. Watson. Looming even larger, however, was another doctor, one whosemedical practice was so slow it allowed him plenty of time to pursue hisliterary ambition. His name: Arthur Conan Doyle. As the creator of thesefictional icons, Conan Doyle has himself become something of a cult figure, theobject of countless critical studies, biographies and fan clubs.
Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh in 1859,in a respectable middle-class Catholic family. Still, it was far from an easylife. There was never enough money; they moved frequently in search of lowerrents; and his father, a civil servant and illustrator was an alcoholic who hadto be institutionalized. Yet the early letters he wrote to his mother aresurprisingly optimistic, concerned mainly with food, clothes, allowances andschoolwork. At 14 came his first unforgettable visit to London, includingMadame Tussaud's, where he was "delighted with the room of Horrors, andthe images of the murderers."
A superb student, Conan Doyle went on tomedical school, where he was attracted by Dr. Joseph Bell, a professor with anuncanny ability to diagnose patients even before they opened their mouths. Fora time he worked as Bell's outpatient clerk and would watch, amazed, at how thelocation of a callus could reveal a man's profession, or how a quick look at askin rash told Bell that the patient had once lived in Bermuda. In 1886, ConanDoyle outlined his first novel, A Study in Scarlet, which he described as"a simple tale of mystery to make a little extra money." Its maincharacter, initially called Sherringford Hope and later called Sherlock Holmes,was based largely on Bell. But Holmes' first appearance went almost unnoticed,and the struggling doctor devoted nearly all of his spare time to writing longhistorical novels in the style of Sir Walter Scott—novels that he was convincedwould make his reputation. It wasn't to be. In 1888, Holmes reappeared in AScandal in Bohemia, a short story in Strand Magazine. And this time, its herotook an immediate hit and Conan Doyle's life would never be the same.
1. The typical features of Sherlock Holmeswere all EXCEPT
2. Which of the following is NOT true aboutConan Doyle and his family?
A. He came from amiddle-class family.
B. They led a hardlife in Edinburgh.
C. His father wasaddicted to drinking.
D. His mother hadreceived little education.
3. How did Conan Doyle feel about his firstvisit to London?
A. It was horrible.
B. It was pleasant.
C. It was awful.
D. It was memorable.
4. We can infer from the last paragraphthat
A. the more calluses aperson has, the more professional he would be.
B. writers often basetheir writing on personal experiences.
C. Conan Doyle hasgone through a period of hardship on his way to success.
D. inspiration wasvery important for a person to create something.
5. Conan Doyle's short story "AScandai in Bohemia" has proved to be __ at last.