Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Arthur Machen on Their Own Best Work

In 1924 the Milton scholar and weird fiction writer E.H. Visiak asked a number of authors to select their own best works for an article in John o’London’s Weekly, entitled “My Best Book: Famous Authors Name Their Favourites for John o’London.” Some of the replies have been collected at Wormwoodiana. Here are Algernon Blackwood, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (being contrarian), Arthur Machen, and Rafael Sabatini:

Algernon Blackwood

Mr. Algernon Blackwood selects the Centaur, as having expressed most of himself.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

“I think Sir Nigel my best novel, and The White Company second.”

Arthur Machen

“I should think that on the whole The Hill of Dreams is my most successful experiment in literature… [sic]

“Whatever merit the book may have is perhaps due to the fact that it is a reflection of the impressions of my native county, Gwent, or Monmouthshire, which I gathered when I was a boy.

“I am a great believer in the doctrine that a man of letters knows everything vital that he is to know by the time he is 18.

“When I read that Mr. Thingumbob has gone to Penzance or Pernambuco ‘to get local colour for his new novel’ I know that Mr. Thingumbob, is, roughly speaking, a rotter.”

Rafael Sabatini

“In my own opinion Scaramouche is the best novel I have written. At least, in Scaramouche I was less conscious than usual when the work was done of a gap between the aim and the achievement.”

Read more at Wormwoodiana.


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