Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Mr. Perris

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Mr. Perris is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in The Daily News on 24 november 1906.

This letter is a reply to Perris critic from 17 november 1906 in the same newspaper.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Mr. Perris

The Daily News (24 november 1906, p. 4)

Sir, — A critic has the traditional licence of making uncontradicted remarks, be they wise or otherwise. When an outside correspondent, however, takes it upon himself to join in the discussion an author may surely say a word in reply. I could not have conceived it necessary to inform any educated man that if a writer draws the customs of any age with such spirit as he may, he does not necessarily mean that he thereby endorses the ideals of that age.

In the preface to Sir Nigel I have guarded myself carefully against such an impression. It would be as reasonable to say that I was a Cromwellian Puritan because I drew such types in Micah Clarke as to accuse me of mediaeval militarism because I have every sympathy with the knights of old. The first duty of a writer of historical romance is, so far as he can, to forget himself and his own age, and to look at the days of Froissart with Froissart's eyes.

Your correspondent recommends me to turn to the "Piers Plowman" side of the question, but it is clear that he cannot have read my book, since I have actually introduced the author of "Piers Plowman" into it, so that he might state his own case from a sympathetic point of view. Should anyone desire a modern author's ideals upon modern subjects he will naturally find them in those of his books which deal seriously with modern life.

Yours, etc.

Undershaw, Hindhead, Surrey, Nov. 22