Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure, Text-only Edition


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Arthur Conan Doyle - Wikipedia

Conan Doyle was still a third-year medical student at Edinburgh University at the time — just 20 years old — and he only got the job by pure dumb luck. It also gave him the opportunity to leave the stifling rote-learning of his medical studies behind for six months and indulge his passion for literature. Conan Doyle also struck up a strong friendship with the year-old Captain of the Hope, John Gray, and it seems the two men had numerous lively discussions about literature during the course of the voyage.


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Starting at Peterhead on 28 February , the Hope stopped off at Lerwick to pick up extra crew before sailing north on 11 March. On 17 March, the strong crew encountered their first sea ice and on 3 April the sealing season officially began.

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Conan Doyle was keen to pull his weight in the sealing stakes and he took to the work with enthusiasm. On 22 May, the Hope reached 80 degrees north, and turned south, looking for whales.

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It would be a whole month, however, before it made its first kill, and although there were further successes, overall the season was deemed a failure. One sailor, Andrew Milne, died of what contemporary doctors believe was probably an infarction of part of the intestine — not something a 19th-century medical student could have done much about on dry land, let alone in the middle of the ocean — and another sailor cut his head badly when it was hit by the wheel.

In addition to his skills as a writer, Conan Doyle was also a decent draughtsman, and in this beautiful edition of his Arctic diaries, edited by John Lellenberg and Daniel Stashower, we get a complete facsimile of the original logbooks, written in neat copperplate with numerous illustrations, as well as an annotated transcript of the text.


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  8. Answer: Both characters were created by writers who sailed on whaling vessels, who knew firsthand the heft of a harpoon, the bite of raging gales and the blisters raised by oars. Inside, a map charts his passage north from Scotland to the ice-clogged waters between Greenland and Spitsbergen. It is here that the book holds the ghost of the writer. During the voyage, he wrote of the books he read, the cold waters into which he fell, the animals he saw and often killed and the food and wine he consumed upon the sea.

    Let Saturday sink into oblivion. He did not write to be read.

    He was beginning to understand what to include and what to leave out in a manner that paints several pictures at once, each important on its own but together adding to a sum far greater than its parts. A few of a hundred possible answers: Both books disguise great depth beneath the cloak of an adventure story.

    Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure, Text-only Edition
    Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure, Text-only Edition
    Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure, Text-only Edition
    Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure, Text-only Edition
    Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure, Text-only Edition
    Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure, Text-only Edition
    Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure, Text-only Edition

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