The Lost World: a reader’s guide




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The Lost World: A reader’s guide

Word version of the readers’ guide produced for The Lost World Read 2009
The Lost World Read 2009
The Lost World Read 2009 celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Darwin with a mass-read of the classic adventure story The Lost World. It is part of Darwin 200 – the global celebrations of the life and work of the man who transformed the world with his theory of evolution by natural selection.
The project brings communities together to share the joy of reading, learn about the past and discuss issues of current concern. People will be taking part in locations across England and Scotland.
Thousands of copies of the full-text version of the book and a specially commissioned adaptation for younger or less confident readers are being distributed across the participating areas, along with a graphic-style biography of Darwin.
Support material includes a dedicated website providing information on activities taking place during the course of the project. Visit www.lostworldread.com for further details.
This illustrated guide provides historical background information of relevance to the novel. It includes biographies of Conan Doyle and Darwin, pointing out where their lives and interests overlapped; a look at fossils and dinosaurs and the impact their discovery had upon the popular imagination; and a survey of evolutionary themes in British science fiction.
Further background material can be found on the website. This guide can also be downloaded from the website in PDF and Word format.
Once you’ve finished the book please submit your comments via the online survey.
We hope you enjoy taking part in The Lost World Read 2009.
*** SPOILER ALERT *** You may want to leave this guide and the other background material until you have read the book in case you see something that will give the plot away.
Key Dates


Year

Darwin

Conan Doyle

Other Events

1809

Born in Shrewsbury




Fulton’s steamboat

1825

University of Edinburgh




Stockton & Darlington Railway

1828

University of Cambridge




Wellington becomes PM

1831

Graduates. Beagle departs Plymouth




Reform Bill riots

1836

Beagle returns




Battle of Alamo

1839

Marries Emma. First child born




Chartist riots

1842

Moves to Down House




Britain acquires Hong Kong

1851

Death of daughter Anne




Great Exhibition

1859

On the Origin of Species

Born in Edinburgh

Deaths of Stephenson and Brunel

1868

Variation of Animals and Plants

Starts boarding school

Gladstone becomes PM

1876

Writes autobiography

University of Edinburgh

Bell patents telephone

1879

Biography of grandfather published

First story and first non-fiction published

Zulu rebellion

1881

Revises his autobiography

Graduates Bachelor of Medicine (CM)

End of first Boer War

1882

Dies

Plymouth. Southsea

Treasure Island

1885




Marries Louise. Graduates MD

Benz Patent motorcar

1887

Life and Letters published

‘A Study in Scarlet’

Golden Jubilee

1891




Full-time writer

Edison’s kinetoscope

1895




Visits Egypt

Dreyfus Affair

1900




Serves in Boer War

Relief of Mafeking

1901




‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’

Death of Victoria

1907




Marries Jean

New Zealand independent dominion

1912




The Lost World book

Titanic sinks

1917




Speaks publicly on spiritualism

Russian Revolution

1918




Son Kingsley dies

End of World War One

1920




Cottingley fairies

Prohibition in USA

1925




The Lost World film

Scopes’ ‘Monkey Trial’

1930




Dies

Gandhi leads salt protest


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
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