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Conan DoyleWriting, Profession, and Practice$
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Douglas Kerr

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199674947

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199674947.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 15 September 2019

Medicine

Medicine

Chapter:
(p.41) 3 Medicine
Source:
Conan Doyle
Author(s):

Douglas Kerr

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199674947.003.0003

Conan Doyle trained and practiced as a doctor before turning to a writing career. This chapter looks at the practice of medicine, fully professionalized in his own lifetime, and firmly divided into an aristocracy of consultants and a “subordinate grade” of general practitioners, or family doctors, of whom he was one. Examples of both appear in many of his stories, discussed in this chapter, but the medical hierarchy also exemplifies the emergence and hegemony, in the late nineteenth century, of the expert, a trained specialist of narrow, deep and modern knowledge, very much the avatar of modern professional society. An amateur himself by temperament, and a GP in practice, Conan Doyle had very mixed feelings about this paragon, exemplified above all by Sherlock Holmes, the consulting detective, and contrasted by Dr Watson, the pedestrian but warm-hearted generalist.

Keywords:   Professionalisation, expertise, knowledge, consultants, general practitioners, Sherlock Holmes, medicine

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