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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

The Literature of the Scottish Borders (article 20 july 1904)

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

The Literature of the Scottish Borders is an article published in The Sketch on 20 july 1904.

Report of speech by Arthur Conan Doyle at the banquet of the London Scottish Border Counties Association.


The Literature of the Scottish Borders

The Sketch (20 july 1904, p. 22)

On proposing the toast, "The Literature of the Scottish Borders," at the banquet of the London Scottish Border Counties Association, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made some noteworthy remarks on Scott. He said that, whatever theme or personality Scott took up, his comprehensive and sympathetic brain enabled him always to make it his own, and to recreate it so as to be easily realised by anybody. In this respect Scott had a supreme gift unequalled by that of any novelist in the world. Sir Conan Doyle had a good word to say for "Count Robert of Paris," a book of which, so far as I know, Professor W. M. Ramsay is the only champion. He told of a scientist who had spent all his life in a profound but not very profitable study of Ancient Byzantium. At last, he read "Count Robert of Paris," whereupon he declared that, whereas his lifelong efforts to know the ancient city and its life had met with little success, here was a Scotch lawyer who in the pages of a novel made the city to live and its people to move about before his very eyes. But, great as was Scott's literary work, the real work that he did was that which he performed before he obtained fame, when he rode from farm-house to farm-house collecting those ballads — the real folklore of the people — which he brought together, and many of which but for his efforts might have been lost. In that work Scott had, perhaps, done more for Scottish literature than when at Abbotsford or Edinburgh he penned his great romances.





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