The Arthur Conan Doyle EncyclopediaThe Arthur Conan Doyle EncyclopediaThe Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

History Made or Making

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

History Made or Making is an article published in The Sketch on 31 july 1907.

History Made or Making

The Sketch (31 july 1907, p. 66)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle thinks that "history ought to be the most interesting subject on earth." I cannot quite follow this statement. A subject is either interesting or uninteresting, according to individual taste. "Ought" has nothing, so far as I can see, to do with it. This is a form of intellectual snobbishness that cannot be too strongly condemned. Thousands and thousands of people waste their hours of "recreation" in trying to take an interest in things that they are told they "ought" to appreciate. If you have not the historical sense, you may wander round Westminster Abbey every day in the year and you will never be any the wiser, or the nobler, or the happier for it. Historical sense is the faculty of being seriously amused by the strengths and weaknesses and achievements of the dead and buried. Personally, I can find all the serious amusement I need in the strengths and weaknesses and achievements and possibilities of the living. By the way, that is where the living have the advantage of the dead as a subject for intelligent study. They are endowed with possibilities. Would Sir Arthur Conan Doyle pretend that the story of King Henry the Eighth's matrimonial adventures is one-tenth as interesting as a really human twentieth-century divorce-suit?