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Arthur Conan Doyle: The Unknown Novel

9 September 2011 - 5 January 2012

Arthur Conan Doyle

In 1883, the 23-year-old Arthur Conan Doyle wrote The Narrative of John Smith, his very first attempt at a novel. Lost in the post on its way to the publishers and later reconstructed from memory, it has never before seen the light of day.

This display showcases the manuscript of the novel – now published for the first time by British Library Publishing – and, through other items drawn from the Library’s extensive Conan Doyle holdings, explores the context of his literary apprenticeship and his early struggles to gain professional recognition.

Purchase the book (£9.95) or Audio book (£20.00) at

Venue: British Library - Sir John Ritblat Gallery

Free admission