This chapter starts with Conan Doyle's enthusiastic participation in all kinds of sports, most particularly boxing and cricket. Sports – increasingly popular, organized, and codified – played an important part in the popular culture of Victorian times, which saw the emergence of the ethos of the amateur, and tended to view sports as both a training and an expression of character, individual and national. But sport was becoming increasingly commercialised and professionalised. This chapter looks at sport in Conan Doyle's autobiographical and fictional writing, and its meanings in terms of class, health, masculinity, nation, fairness and style. From pugilism to the MCC and the Olympic Games, sport prompted Conan Doyle to stories about heroism, grace and beauty, and their opposites.
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