Micah Clarke

Last updated
Micah Clarke
MicahClarke.jpg
First edition
Author Arthur Conan Doyle
CountryUnited Kingdom
Genre Historical novel
Publisher Longmans, Green & Co.
Publication date
1889
Media typePrint (hardback)
Pagesvi, 424 pp
Preceded by A Study in Scarlet  
Followed by The Mystery of Cloomber  
Text Micah Clarke at Wikisource

Micah Clarke is a historical adventure novel by British author Arthur Conan Doyle, published in 1889 and set during the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685 in England. The book is a bildungsroman whose protagonist, Micah Clarke, begins as a boy seeking adventure in a rather romantic and naive way, falls under the influence of an older and vastly experienced, world-weary soldier of fortune, and becomes a grown up after numerous experiences, some of them very harrowing. At the conclusion he must go into exile as a hunted outlaw, becomes a soldier of fortune himself and is launched on lifetime military career. In the process the book also records much of the history of the Monmouth Rebellion, from the point of view of someone living in 17th century England.

Contents

Much of the focus is upon the religious dimension of the conflict. The Rebellion was prompted by the desire of many to replace the Catholic King James with a Protestant rival. Micah is the son of a committed Protestant father who sends Micah to fight in the same cause which he himself had fought in during the English Civil War. Micah fights at the Battle of Sedgemoor, which in a narrative aside Doyle obliquely acknowledges to be the last clear-cut pitched battle on open ground between two military forces fought on English soil. Micah also witnesses the bloodletting and indiscriminate hangings in the aftermath, is prosecuted along with many others in the Bloody Assizes of the notorious Judge Jeffries, is condemned to be sold to slavery in Barbados and is at the last moment saved from the very hold of the slave ship.

Much is made of the role of Protestant ministers in recruiting the rebel army and in motivating its soldiers. Micah Clarke himself becomes increasingly disillusioned with religious extremism and ultimately expresses the view that toleration is a great good. Conan Doyle had himself been brought up as a Catholic and it is likely that Micah expresses Doyle's own thoughts on the subject.

Main characters

Historical figures who appear in the novel

Adaptations

A radio play adaptation by John Holloway was broadcast on BBC Radio on 15 July 1937. [1]

A seven-part adaptation by John Hale was broadcast on the BBC Home Service 16 March - 27 April 1966. [2] The cast included Brian Jackson as Micah Clarke, Patrick Troughton as Decimus Saxon and David Jackson as Reuben Lockarby,

BBC Radio 4 broadcast a five-part adaptation by Constance Cox and directed by David Johnstone 31 March - 3 May 1985. [3] The cast included Martyn Read as Micah Clarke, Patrick Troughton as Decimus Saxon, James Bryce as Reuben Lockarby and Nicholas Courtney as Joseph Clarke,

Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde

In 1889, shortly after the publication of Micah Clarke, Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde were both invited for a dinner party in London with Joseph Marshall Stoddart of the American Lippincott's Monthly Magazine . As a result of the dinner, both authors agreed to write novels to be published by Lippincott's. Conan Doyle's novel was his second Sherlock Holmes novel, The Sign of the Four (1890). Wilde's was The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891). [4] During the dinner party the two authors chatted, and Wilde disclosed that he had read Micah Clarke and liked it.[ citation needed ]

Conan Doyle mentioned the incident in his 1924 autobiography, Memories and Adventures . He explained that he and Wilde became friendly, but that the friendship remained a distant one at best, and that it grew more distant as Wilde's reputation became questionable. The actual friendly relationship appears to be true, but that Wilde liked Micah Clarke remains at issue. In the 1999 biography of Conan Doyle, Teller of Tales, author Daniel Stashower suspects that Wilde would never have liked such a novel. But Conan Doyle claimed in his autobiography that what Wilde liked was the characterization of Judge George Jeffreys in the novel. Jeffreys, the notorious bully of the law courts of his day, was shown as a handsome, brilliant man with a flaw in his character - a fallen angel type, such as figured in some of Wilde's writing.

(...)It hath ever been the custom, since his [Jeffreys'] wickedness hath come to be known to all men, to picture him as a man whose expression and features were as monstrous and as hideous as was the mind behind them. This is by no means the case. On the contrary, he was a man who, in his younger days, must have been remarkable for his extreme beauty. He was not, it is true, very old, as years go, when I saw him, but debauchery and low living had left their traces upon his countenance, without, however entirely destroying the regularity and the beauty of his features. He was dark, more like a Spaniard than an Englishman, with black eyes and olive complexion. His expression was lofty and noble, but his temper was so easily aflame that the slightest cross or annoyance would set him raving like a madman, with blazing eyes and foaming mouth. I have seen him myself with the froth upon his lips and his whole face twitching with passion, like one who hath the falling sickness. Yet his other emotions were under as little control, for I have heard say that a very little would cause him to sob and to weep, more especially when he had himself been slighted by those who were above him. He was, I believe, a man who had great powers either for good or for evil, but by pandering to the darker side of his nature and neglecting the other, he brought himself to be as near a fiend as it is possible for a man to be.

Claire Deftstone remarked that "Whether of not Doyle's characterization fits with the kind of the person that the historical Judge Jeffreys really was, it is not completely implausible that it had some influence or bearing on how Wilde shaped the main character of 'Dorian Grey'" [5] .

Related Research Articles

Oscar Wilde 19th-century Irish poet, playwright and aesthete

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, the early 1890s saw him become one of the most popular playwrights in London. He is best remembered for his epigrams and plays, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the circumstances of his criminal conviction for gross indecency for consensual homosexual acts, imprisonment, and early death at age 46.

Sherlock Holmes best known fictional detective, created by Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes is a fictional private detective created by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Referring to himself as a "consulting detective" in the stories, Holmes is known for his proficiency with observation, deduction, forensic science, and logical reasoning that borders on the fantastic, which he employs when investigating cases for a wide variety of clients, including Scotland Yard.

<i>The Picture of Dorian Gray</i> Novel by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a Gothic and philosophical novel by Oscar Wilde, first published complete in the July 1890 issue of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine. Fearing the story was indecent, prior to publication the magazine's editor deleted roughly five hundred words without Wilde's knowledge. Despite that censorship, The Picture of Dorian Gray offended the moral sensibilities of British book reviewers, some of whom said that Oscar Wilde merited prosecution for violating the laws guarding public morality. In response, Wilde aggressively defended his novel and art in correspondence with the British press, although he personally made excisions of some of the most controversial material when revising and lengthening the story for book publication the following year.

Adrian Conan Doyle English scion and writer

Adrian Malcolm Conan Doyle was the youngest son of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his second wife Jean, Lady Doyle or Lady Conan Doyle. He had two siblings, sister Jean Conan Doyle and brother Denis, as well as two half-siblings, sister Mary and brother Kingsley.

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1685.

Battle of Sedgemoor Monmouth Rebellion battle, Somerset, UK, 1685

The Battle of Sedgemoor was the last and decisive engagement between the Kingdom of England and rebels led by the Duke of Monmouth during the Monmouth rebellion, fought on 6 July 1685, and took place at Westonzoyland near Bridgwater in Somerset, England, resulting in a victory for the English army.

Monmouth Rebellion Attempted overthrow of James II

The Monmouth Rebellion, also known as the Pitchfork Rebellion, the Revolt of the West or the West Country rebellion, was an attempt to overthrow James II. Prince James, Duke of York, had become King of England, Scotland, and Ireland upon the death of his elder brother Charles II on 6 February 1685. James II was a Roman Catholic and some Protestants under his rule opposed his kingship. James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, the eldest illegitimate son of Charles II, claimed to be rightful heir to the throne and attempted to displace James II.

<i>The Sign of the Four</i> novel

The Sign of the Four (1890), also called The Sign of Four, is the second novel featuring Sherlock Holmes written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle wrote four novels and 56 short stories featuring the fictional detective.

<i>The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes</i> collection of short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of twelve short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, first published on 14 October 1892. It contains the earliest short stories featuring the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes, which had been published in twelve monthly issues of The Strand Magazine from July 1891 to June 1892. The stories are collected in the same sequence, which is not supported by any fictional chronology. The only characters common to all twelve are Holmes and Dr. Watson and all are related in first-person narrative from Watson's point of view.

<i>Captain Blood</i> (novel) 1922 British pirate novel by Rafael Sabatini

Captain Blood: His Odyssey is an adventure novel by Rafael Sabatini, originally published in 1922.

John Gray (poet) English poet (1866–1934)

Reverend Canon John Gray was an English poet and Catholic priest whose works include Silverpoints, The Long Road and Park: A Fantastic Story. It has often been suggested that he was the inspiration behind Oscar Wilde's fictional Dorian Gray despite evidence to the contrary. His great nephew is the alternative rock musician Crispin Gray.

Brigadier Gerard is the comedic hero of a series of 17 historical short stories, a play, and a major character in a novel by the British writer Arthur Conan Doyle. Brigadier Etienne Gerard is a Hussar officer in the French Army during the Napoleonic Wars. Gerard's most notable attribute is his vanity – he is utterly convinced that he is the bravest soldier, greatest swordsman, most accomplished horseman and most gallant lover in all France. Gerard is not entirely wrong, since he displays notable bravery on many occasions, but his self-satisfaction undercuts this quite often. Obsessed with honour and glory, he is always ready with a stirring speech or a gallant remark to a lady.

Ford Grey, 1st Earl of Tankerville English nobleman and statesman

Ford Grey, 1st Earl of Tankerville, 1st Viscount Glendale, and 3rd Baron Grey of Werke, was an English nobleman and statesman.

Canon of Sherlock Holmes 56 short stories and four novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Traditionally, the canon of Sherlock Holmes consists of the 56 short stories and four novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In this context, the term "canon" is an attempt to distinguish between Doyle's original works and subsequent works by other authors using the same characters.

Micah is a Hebrew name used for several people in the Bible. Micah may also refer to:

Arthur Conan Doyle British detective fiction author

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was a British writer and medical doctor. He created the character Sherlock Holmes in 1887 when he published A Study in Scarlet, the first of four novels and more than fifty short stories about Holmes and Dr. Watson. The Sherlock Holmes stories are generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction.

Dr. Watson Fictional character, associate of Sherlock Holmes

John H. Watson, known as Dr. Watson, is a fictional character in the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Along with Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson first appeared in the novel A Study in Scarlet (1887). The last work by Doyle featuring Watson and Holmes is the short story "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place" (1927), though this is not the last story in the timeline of the series, which is "His Last Bow" (1917).

<i>The Narrative of John Smith</i> book by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Narrative of John Smith (2011) is a novel written in 1883 by Arthur Conan Doyle, published posthumously by The British Library. In a work of narrative fiction, Doyle writes from the perspective of a middle-aged bachelor named John Smith recovering from rheumatic gout. Unlike his later work in detective fiction, fantasy, and science fiction, this novel unfolds through a series of tangential, essay-like thoughts stemming from observations on everyday life. The subjects are of a “personal-social-political complexion”.

The Great Shadow, also known as The Great Shadow and other Napoleonic Tales, is an action and adventure novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and published in 1892 in J.W. Arrowsmith’s Bristol Library. The novel takes place in the Napoleonic era on the English–Scottish border city called West Inch. The Great Shadow refers to the Napoleon’s influence and his reputation that forms a shadow over West Inch.

Joseph Marshall Stoddart American magazine editor

Joseph Marshall Stoddart, was an American business man, Editor of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine from 1886 to 1894 and later of the New Science Review.

References

  1. "BBC Genome - Micah Clarke". BBC Genome. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  2. "BBC Genome - Story Time: Micah Clarke". BBC Genome. Retrieved 2020-07-06.}}
  3. "BBC Radio 4 Extra - Micah Clarke". BBC. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  4. Conan Doyle, Arthur (1924). Memories and Adventures .
  5. Dr. Claire B. Deftstone, "Unlikely literary relationships and influences" in Steven F. Stranov (ed.), "A round-up of recent essays on Late Victorian and Edwardian Literature and Art"