The Book I Most Enjoyed Writing

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

The Book I Most Enjoyed Writing is a collection of short articles by various authors: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Miss Kathlyn Rhodes, Mr. Rafael Sabatini, Mr. J. D. Beresford, Mr. Bernard Shaw, Mrs. Baillie Reynolds, Mr. G. K. Chesterton, Mr. Compton Mackenzie, Mr. W. W. Jacobs, Mr. Frank Swinnerton, Miss Clemence Dane, Mr. Hugh Walpole, Mr. Barry Pain, Miss Sheila Kaye-Smith, Ian Hay (Major Beith, C.B.E.), Mr. Keble Howard, Mrs. Belloc Lowndes, Mr. H. A. Vachell. First published in The Strand Magazine in march 1922, and collected by George Newnes Ltd. in march 1927 in the book: What I Think (p. 80-81). In the same book, Conan Doyle also wrote How I Write My Books (p. 39-42) and The Greatest Hymns (p. 156).


[Note: below is reproduced the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle article only]

The Book I Most Enjoyed Writing

Sir A. Conan Doyle (Photo Ransford) in The Strand Magazine (1922)



I have never written to order in my life or sold any work until it was well on the way to completion. Therefore I have enjoyed writing every book, whereas, if I had written under pressure with a feeling of compulsion, I should never have regarded it as anything but a task. Naturally, as I regard the psychic question as the most important in the world, it is writing books on that subject which has given me most satisfaction, though the least productive from the financial point of view.

I had great satisfaction, also, from my "British Campaign in Flanders," because I had devised my own system of intelligence quite apart from (in fact, in opposition to) that of the War Office. I knew that my facts were true, and I knew that I had got them by my own wits, and that no one else had got them, and that was naturally a source of satisfaction. I have had little to change, save to fill up names and places which the Censor deleted. Of my novels, "The White Company" gave me most pleasure. I was young and full of the first joy of life and action, and I think I got some of it into my pages. When I wrote the last line, I remember that I cried : "Well, I'll never beat that," and threw the inky pen at the opposite wall, which was papered with duck's-egg green ! The black smudge was there for many a day.

"Rodney Stone" I enjoyed also ; for I always had, and have, a love of boxing and an admiration of the old fighting men, who were humble heroes.

Verse gives greater pleasure than prose, for it is a more compact, carefully-chiselled article. There, also, I have had occasional satisfaction and occasional disappointment.