Talk:Arthur Conan Doyle

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Former good articleArthur Conan Doyle was one of the Language and literature good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
January 13, 2006Good article reassessmentDelisted


RfC about Arthur Conan Doyle's nationality[edit]

Should Arthur Conan Doyle be identified as Scottish or British? 22:52, 12 August 2021 (UTC)


  • Scottish - see my arguments below in the discussion section. Skyerise (talk) 22:52, 12 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • British. My comments are also below. Deor (talk) 23:00, 12 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • British in lead sentence This is a somewhat complicated question (Irish should probably be listed as an option as well), however British is always going to be broadly correct, and should be the identifier we use immediately. Further discussion can occur further into the article. Also, if anyone is broadly "British", it would be Doyle, an Irishman born in Scotland and educated in England. BSMRD (talk) 07:34, 15 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • British. (Summoned by bot) It encompasses "Scottish" and appears closest to the way he has been referred to over the years. Coretheapple (talk) 11:54, 24 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • British. I would think 'British' is most accurate as it encompasses Conan's complete identity and it's what he is known for, unlike other writers who were strongly connected to or identified with any of the home nations.Halbared (talk) 14:49, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Why is Doyle listed as British? This is not a designation uniformly applied to other famous writers: Robert Louis Stevenson is listed as a "Scottish" author, as is Sir Walter Scott; Shakespeare is listed as English, as are any number of other authors born in England. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Scotland and lived there until he was 9, and returned for his university education. So why is he listed as a "British" writer instead of Scottish? If it's for the fact that he lived part of his life in England, then the British label should be more widely applied. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sp33df0rc3 (talkcontribs) 21:16, 30 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. But he actually identified as Irish. From his autobiography: "... thus it came about that I, an Irishman by extraction, was born in the Scottish capital." Memories and Adventures, Ch. I. I think the whole nationality question should be reopened. He was a Catholic, and at the time Catholics in Scotland primarily were of Irish descent and identified as Irish. Is there any evidence that he identified as British? He certainly did not identify as English, as one of the categories made out... Skyerise (talk) 18:18, 12 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, both times he stood for Parliament, it was in Scottish constituencies. Skyerise (talk) 18:31, 12 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Further, Google shows he is mostly identified as Scottish.
Skyerise (talk) 22:27, 12 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
MOS:CONTEXTBIO says that the lead should specify the "country, region, or territory, where the person is a citizen, national, or permanent resident; or, if the person is notable mainly for past events, where the person was a citizen, national, or permanent resident when the person became notable". It specifically says that ethnicity "should generally not be in the lead", so whether or not Doyle considered himself ethnically Irish is immaterial. His life began in Scotland, but his literary work was produced in England, so that "British" seems the best designation. Deor (talk) 22:31, 12 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Can you provide a source that he considered himself British? Because he acknowledged being born in Scotland, but as far as I know, never identified as British or English. Most sources, including E. Britannica, list him as Scottish. Skyerise (talk) 22:35, 12 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that the place where "the person was a citizen, national, or permanent resident when the person became notable" is evident. Deor (talk) 22:41, 12 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I disagree. Regarding his notability as a writer, his literary career started when he was still in Edinburgh. His first published story was published in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal before he moved to England. So the thing for which he was notable for began while he was still in Scotland and he was first published in a Scottish journal. As well as standing for Parliament twice in Scottish constituencies. So we have four things supporting Scottish:
  1. He was born there.
  2. He studied and practiced medicine there.
  3. He was involved in Scottish, not English, politics.
  4. His first literary work was written and published there.
He's starting to sound pretty Scottish, don't you think? Skyerise (talk) 22:48, 12 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't want to dispute about this; I've gone through similar discussions on other articles and I no longer have the stomach for such squabbles. You've said your piece, as have I, and we're clearly not going to establish a consensus between us. How about letting others weigh in? Deor (talk) 22:58, 12 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As you can see, I just started an RfC. Skyerise (talk) 22:59, 12 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The fact he was born and lived here until 9 shows me he is Scottish. If Shakespeare is going to be listed as English, ACD is Scottish. Faceitengland (talk) 14:53, 25 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How do third-party sources describe him? AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:19, 25 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is the most important question. Skyerise's Google searches support "Scottish". That's useful to know. It would also be useful to review key RS about Doyle. The Arthur Conan Doyle website doesn't explicitly use "Scottish", "Irish" or "British", but does describe the family as being Irish (Catholic). Britannica calls him Scottish. A BBC History page doesn't call him any of these, but again calls the family Irish. The British Library doesn't use "Scottish", "Irish" or "British". The Poetry Foundation doesn't use any of these terms, but again calls the family Irish. PBS don't use any of the terms. Most sites note he was born in Scotland. I think the Google searches and Britannica thus favour Scottish, but possibly phrasing like "to an Irish family" is warranted in the lead too. Bondegezou (talk) 14:29, 26 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment. Before changing cricket categories, please consult the Cricket Project. In terms of categorisation of cricketers, there is no such thing as a British cricketer. Cricketers are categorised by the constituent country of the UK from which they are from. StickyWicket (talk) 20:54, 28 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Name Change[edit]

Honestly I think the article should be titled "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle" because I'd imagine most people refer to him with that name.

See WP:OBE #4. Deor (talk) 16:39, 18 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
AFAIK, under English law at the time, one's name was the name one habitually used. If he used "Conan Doyle" as his surname and was known under that surname, then that was his surname. One's registered name at birth is of marginal relevance. In Conan Doyle's case, his family and descendants used the surname "Conan Doyle". I'm not a lawyer and am not certain enough of the relevant law to change the article, but if I'm right, the "Name" section should be changed and the repeated references to "Doyle" should be changed also. Longitude2 (talk) 23:49, 7 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't believe we ever include the word "Sir" in titles of biographical articles. Regarding "Doyle" vs. "Conan Doyle," this is a perennial discussion point in Sherlockian/Doylean circles (for example, whenever we're preparing a bibliography or an index), but it is best to use "Doyle" as the surname, as discussed in the article itself, here. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 00:00, 8 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Claims about of faith of AICD[edit]

In article there is written, thet AICD was "avowedly not Christian", but in which part of life? How long before death? When he last say or wrote something like that? Personally, i think, that AICD was kind of sceptic, looking for what is true, unnecesary even in dirt. If AICD is a Christian, God know. VVerka5 (talk) 09:51, 12 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]