There are many writers that we know today as great authors who struggled through rough times when they were young. These talented writers lived in places that would be considered unacceptable by today’s standards. Living in squalor, these authors penned some of the greatest works known today in a time when it was common to have things like a cockroach infestation, and there was no such thing as termite control.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (May 1859 – July 1930), became a great writer due to several unfortunate events in his early childhood. Doyle’s love of literature started when he broke his leg as a child, and his father brought him books to pass the time. Doyle’s father was an alcoholic, and the family was forced to live in filthy tenement flats where a cockroach infestation was a part of their everyday life. Later, Doyle gained the support of his wealthy uncles who sent him to study at universities and colleges, where he was able to become a doctor. Despite receiving his degree, he was never a successful doctor, but this failure led to his becoming a successful writer.
H.G. Wells (September 1866 – August 1946), was born Herbert George Wells, to a family from the lower class. Wells’ father was a professional cricket player, but after breaking his leg, he couldn’t support the family, so Herbert’s parents placed him as an apprentice to help support the family. Wells didn’t do well in his apprenticeships, which included being a draper, a chemist, and a student-teacher. Finally, Wells managed to attain a position at Midhurst Grammar School, where he soon won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science. The scholarship provided Wells with an allowance, but it was barely enough for him to get by on. H.G. Himself spoke of always being hungry when he was young; this seems to be true, as pictures of him depict a very thin, malnourished young man. With such limited funds, the tenements he could afford to live in suffered from all types of spider, fly, and cockroach infestation, and naturally, termite control was non-existent, and the wood in the buildings was always crumbling apart. While attending school, Wells published his first book, titled a Text-book of Biology. Eventually, H.G. Wells left the school to focus on his writing. Wells became a successful author, crafting books like The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and many others. H.G. Wells became a household name after he accidentally caused a public panic while reading his book The War of the Worlds, on a live radio broadcast.
Throughout time, authors and artists have been more than willing to suffer through horrible living conditions, including starvation, to produce works of art that are astounding. Authors such as Doyle and Wells are excellent examples of the positive effects of hard work and dedication.