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I thought this would be of interest to the members of this comm.
How very him! ;) Especially the last two questions.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Wants Nothing To Do With Your Proust Questionnaire



Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, at 11:20 AM

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When some of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s papers arrived at the Harry Ransom Center

at the University of Texas at Austin, archivists found this mysterious questionnaire filed among his other works. Doyle signed the bottom of the sheet and indicated that he had taken the quiz on Oct. 29, 1899, at Undershaw, the family’s residence in Surrey, England. But we don’t know why or for whom he filled it out.

Archives assistant Arcadia Falcone, who has worked with the Doyle papers, speculates that the quiz may have been part of a parlor game. The famous list of personal questions that Marcel Proust answered, and that Vanity Fair asks celebrities to respond to in each issue, was a fashionable diversion in the late 19th century.If the parlor game hypothesis is true, it doesn’t seem like Doyle was much interested in playing along. The answers to the questions reveal a taciturn and stolid Victorian nature, with Doyle resisting speculation and elaboration at every turn.

Favorite occupation? “Work.” Favorite food and drink? “Anything when hungry—nothing when not.” Favorite color and flower? “Quite impartial.” Favorite heroes in real life? “Men who do their duty without fuss.”When asked “If not yourself, who would you be?” Doyle contributed an answer, crossed it out elaborately, then puckishly noted in a parenthetical: “Hope this is clear.”

Doyle did admit to enjoying the poetry of Rudyard Kipling, whom he had visited personally in Vermont in 1894, and the 1861 historical novel The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade.Thanks to Arcadia Falcone and Jennifer Tisdale of the Harry Ransom Center.

Doyle Quiz

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center.

source: slate.com


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 22nd, 2013 09:04 pm (UTC)
I think they caught him on a bad day, he made no effort at all over that! 'Quite impartial', 'no strong opinions'.
Feb. 22nd, 2013 09:07 pm (UTC)
Indeed, doesn't look like his heart was in the game, was it ;) Surely he had some literary heroes whom he admired.

Some of the questions are the opinions he held, though...
Feb. 23rd, 2013 09:39 am (UTC)
I disagree. There is a difference between lack of effort and conscious concealment. I think some of the answers are very revealing, and the non-answers are too, taking his life up until this point, and his particular circumstances at the time (thinking particularly of the Touie/Jean Leckie issue)
Feb. 23rd, 2013 09:58 am (UTC)
In some cases maybe, but characters in history you most dislike 'very tolerant to them all', your favourite painters and composers, 'no strong opinions' - that sounds to me that he just couldn't be bothered. Similarly, I find it hard to believe that he had no favourite heroes in fiction, and there was no reason why he should have wanted to conceal who they were if he had. Perhaps the clue lies in his answer about his present state of mind: jaded!

Edited at 2013-02-23 09:59 am (UTC)
Feb. 23rd, 2013 10:44 am (UTC)
Could be, and he was defintiely also making fun of a lot of the questions. State of mind may indeed have had something to do with it. The ones he did answer are interesting, because to me they say as much about what he wanted to be like as what he was like.
Feb. 23rd, 2013 11:06 am (UTC)
I was amused by his answers to the favourite qualities in a man and woman, - manliness and womanliness - but I'm not sure whether he was making fun of the question in that case, that would have been a good Victorian sentiment!
Feb. 23rd, 2013 01:09 am (UTC)
"Present state of mind - jaded".

Ummm...yeah. coulda' guessed that one.
Feb. 23rd, 2013 09:37 am (UTC)
This is fascinating, and explains a lot, thanks so much for posting it!
Feb. 23rd, 2013 09:24 pm (UTC)
My pleasure!
Feb. 23rd, 2013 09:57 am (UTC)
I found this to be much more interesting than, apparently, a lot of people
User tweedisgood referenced to your post from I found this to be much more interesting than, apparently, a lot of people saying: [...] Found amongst the papers of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [...]
Feb. 23rd, 2013 02:23 pm (UTC)
A great find! Sir ACD was indeed a man of great humour! And so very ahead of his time!
Feb. 23rd, 2013 09:25 pm (UTC)
Indeed, in some ways he was :)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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