Arthur Conan Doyle, fully Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan
Doyle, fully Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle

English Physician and Detective-Story Writer, famous for detective Sherlock Holmes crime fiction adventures, also Science Fiction Stories, Plays, Romances, Poetry, Historical and Non-fiction Novels

Author Quotes

Some people's affability is more deadly than the violence of coarser souls.

The chief proof of man's real greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness.

The longer one stays here the more does the spirit of the moor sink into one’s soul, its vastness, and also its grim charm. When you are once out upon its bosom you have left all traces of modern England behind you, but on the other hand you are conscious everywhere of the homes and the work of prehistoric people. On all sides of you as you walk are the houses of these forgotten folk, with their graves and the huge monoliths which are supposed to have marked their temples. As you look at their grey stone huts against the scarred hillsides you leave your own age behind you, and if you were to see a skin-clad, hairy man crawl out from the low door, fitting a flint-tipped arrow on to the string of his bow, you would feel that the presence there was more natural than your own. The strange thing is that they should have lived so thickly on what must always have been most unfruitful soil. I am no antiquarian, but I could imagine that they were some unwarlike and harried race who were forced to accept that which none other would occupy.

The pressure of public opinion can do in the town what the law cannot accomplish. There is no lane so vile that the scream of a tortured child, or the thud of a drunkard's blow, does not beget sympathy and indignation among the neighbors, and then the whole machinery of justice is ever so close that a word of complaint can set it going, and there is but a step between the crime and the dock. But look at these lonely houses, each in its own fields, filled for the most part with poor ignorant folk who know little of the law. Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser.

Then, with your permission, we will leave it at that, Mr. Mac. The temptation to form premature theories upon insufficient data is the bane of our profession.

There is no satisfaction in vengeance unless the offender has time to realize who it is that strikes him, and why retribution has come upon him.

These pictures are not occult, but they are psychic because everything that emanates from the human spirit or human brain is psychic. It is not supernatural; nothing is. It is preternatural in the sense that it is not known to our ordinary senses. It is the effect of the joining on the one hand of imagination, and on the other hand of some power of materialization. The imagination, I may say, comes from me — the materializing power from elsewhere.

To let the brain work without sufficient material is like racing an engine. It racks itself to pieces.

Watson: Then you are yourself inclining to the supernatural explanation. Holmes: if Dr. Mortimer's surmise should be correct, and we are dealing with forces outside the ordinary laws of Nature, there is an end of our investigation. But we are bound to exhaust all other hypotheses before falling back upon this one.

What did we care, any one of the three of us, where we sat or how we lived, when youth throbbed hot in our veins, and our souls were all aflame with the possibilities of life?

Winwood Reade is good upon the subject, said Holmes. He remarks that, while the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty.

You know my method. It is founded upon the observance of trifles.

Sherlock Holmes closed his eyes and placed his elbows upon the arms of his chair, with his finger-tips together. The ideal reasoner, he remarked, would, when he had once been shown a single fact in all its bearings, deduce from it not only all the chain of events which led up to it but also all the results which would follow from it. As Cuvier could correctly describe a whole animal by the contemplation of a single bone, so the observer who has thoroughly understood one link in a series of incidents should be able to accurately state all the other ones, both before and after. We have not yet grasped the results which the reason alone can attain to. Problems may be solved in the study which have baffled all those who have sought a solution by the aid of their senses. To carry the art, however, to its highest pitch, it is necessary that the reasoner should be able to utilize all the facts which have come to his knowledge; and this in itself implies, as you will readily see, a possession of all knowledge, which, even in these days of free education and encyclopaedias, is a somewhat rare accomplishment. It is not so impossible, however, that a man should possess all knowledge which is likely to be useful to him in his work, and this I have endeavoured in my case to do.

Something of his birth place seemed to cling to the man, and I never looked at his pale, keen face or the poise of his head without associating him with gray archways and mullioned windows and all the venerable wreckage of a feudal keep.

The devil's agents may be of flesh and blood, may they not?

The love of books is among the choicest gifts of the gods.

The Professor snorted like an angry buffalo. You really touch the limit, said he. You enlarge my view of the possible. Cerebral paresis! Mental inertia! Wonderful!

There are always some lunatics about. It would be a dull world without them.

There is no scent so pleasant to my nostrils as that faint, subtle reek which comes from an ancient book.

They all agreed that it was a huge creature, luminous, ghastly, and spectral. I have cross-examined these men, one of them a hard-headed countryman, one a farrier, and one a moorland farmer, who all tell the same story of this dreadful apparition, exactly corresponding to the hell-hound of the legend. I assure you that there is a reign of terror in the district, and that it is a hardy man who will cross the moor at night.

To see their sons and daughters so flushed and healthy and happy, gave them also a reflected glow, and it was hard to say who had most pleasure from the game, those who played or those who watched.

We are bound to go. My answer was to rise from the table. You are right, Holmes. We are bound to go. He sprang up and shook me by the hand. I knew you would not shrink at the last, said he, and for a moment I saw something in his eyes which was nearer to tenderness than I had ever seen. The next instant he was his masterful, practical self once more.

What is the meaning of it, Watson? said Holmes solemnly as he laid down the paper. What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end? There is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever.

Without, the sun shines bright and the birds are singing amid the ivy on the drooping beeches. Their choice is made, and they turn away hand-in-hand, with their backs to the darkness and their faces to the light.

You know my powers, my dear Watson, and yet at the end of three months I was forced to confess that I had at last met an antagonist who was my intellectual equal. My horror at his crimes was lost in my admiration at his skill.

Author Picture
First Name
Arthur Conan
Last Name
Doyle, fully Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle
Birth Date
Death Date

English Physician and Detective-Story Writer, famous for detective Sherlock Holmes crime fiction adventures, also Science Fiction Stories, Plays, Romances, Poetry, Historical and Non-fiction Novels