Information about the author.
A passionate lifelong fan of the Sherlock Holmes adventures, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Michael Dirda is a member of The Baker Street Irregulars—the most famous and romantic of all Sherlockian groups. Combining memoir and appreciation, On Conan Doyle is a highly engaging personal introduction to Holmes’s creator, as well as a rare insider’s account of the curiously delightful activities and playful scholarship of The Baker Street Irregulars.
Because Arthur Conan Doyle wrote far more than the mysteries involving Holmes, this book also introduces readers to the author’s lesser-known but fascinating writings in an astounding range of other genres. A prolific professional writer, Conan Doyle was among the most important Victorian masters of the supernatural short story, an early practitioner of science fiction, a major exponent of historical fiction, a charming essayist and memoirist, and an outspoken public figure who attacked racial injustice…[more]
Among the most enjoyable of literary critics, Michael Dirda combines erudition with enthusiasm, a taste for the outré and the forgotten, and a playful, understated wit. Like George Orwell or Gore Vidal, Dirda delights in popular genres, such as the detective novel and the ghost story, without neglecting the deeper satisfactions of sometimes-overlooked classics. This new work features scores of Dirda’s most engaging essays, never previously collected in book form, all intended to introduce readers to wonderful writers, from the anecdotal Herodotus and James Boswell to the sensuous Colette and Steven Millhauser to such European masters as Joseph Roth, Flann O’Brien, and Penelope Fitzgerald. With his trademark enthusiasm, Dirda also explores The Arabian Nights, the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone, the crime novels of Chester Himes and K. C. Constantine, and the worlds of Tarzan, Cormac McCarthy, and Proust. Bound to Please is a glorious celebration of just how much fun reading can be.