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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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Army and Empire

Army and Empire

(p.159) 6 Army and Empire
Conan Doyle

Douglas Kerr

Oxford University Press

Conan Doyle's lifetime coincided with the zenith of the British Empire. His English historical novels of adventure were Conan Doyle's form of national epic, their heroes exemplifying the bravery, selflessness and gaiety which he believed sustained the Empire of his own day. While the adventure genre was a popular alternative to the novel of domestic realism, it gave Conan Doyle, like Stevenson, a reputation as a writer for the young, specifically boys, at odds with his epic ambitions. From the Sudan to the Western Front, he was an enthusiastic war reporter and historian, an unconditional admirer of the British soldier. He saw Britain's oriental Empire primarily as a military responsibility, but came in later life to view Britain and its white dominions as a potential spiritual (or Spiritualist) empire, to which he was a tireless missionary.

Keywords:   historical novel, adventure fiction, imperial romances, war reporting, boys’ fiction, boer War, first world war, empire - spiritualism

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