Saturday, March 20, 2021

The Oceanic Feeling - Pictures from a Booklaunch

Cover image: Katharina Jaeger / Cover design: William Bardebes (2020)
[All Photographs by William Bardebes (11/3/21)]

The Oceanic Feeling. Drawings by Katharina Jaeger. Afterword by Bronwyn Lloyd.
ISBN 978-0-473-55801-7. Auckland: Salt & Greyboy Press, 2021. 72 pp.

So Bronwyn and I drove down to Hamilton last Thursday with our good friend Liz Morton for the dual launch of Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2021 and my own new poetry book The Oceanic Feeling.

Poppies Bookshop Hamilton
[l-to-r: Mark Houlahan, Aimee-Jane Anderson-O'Connor, Alison Southby, Bronwyn Lloyd, Janet Charman]

Luckily my publishers at Salt & Greyboy Press, William Bardebes and Emma Smith, were able to come down as well - and the former got a number of pictures of the event.

Tracey Slaughter launching the book

& me reading from it

So what is this "Oceanic Feeling," anyway?

J. M. Masson: The Oceanic Feeling (1980)

Here's a book on the subject by Sanskritist and animal-expert Jeffrey Masson. To quote my own abstract (alas, those of us in Academia do have to compose such statements when claiming such works as 'creative research'):
In a 1927 letter to Sigmund Freud, French writer Romain Rolland coined the term "the oceanic feeling" as a way of referring to that "sensation of ‘eternity’," of "being one with the external world as a whole," which underlies all religious belief (but does not necessarily depend on it). In his reply, Freud described this as a simple characterisation of the feeling an infant has before it learns there are any other people in the world.
Of course, those of us who live in Oceania, may have our own alternative interpretations of the phrase. This, at any rate, is mine.

Huge, heartfelt thanks, then, to everyone who worked so hard to make this event a success: Tracey Slaughter, for her luminous launch speech (and for inviting me along in the first place); Katharina Jaeger, for the use of her beautiful images in the book; Bronwyn Lloyd, for her afterword, not to mention her imperturbability in the midst of crisis; William Bardebes, for his amazing book design, as well as for rushing the copies down-country in time for the launch; Alison Southby for offering to sell it at her delightful bookshop Poppies Hamilton; and (of course) to all those who turned up on the day for the Yearbook launch, and kindly stayed on for this part of the event.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Classic Ghost Story Writers: Margaret Irwin

Lafayette: Margaret Irwin (1928)

I suppose that this one is a bit of a stretch. While two of the finest ghost stories I've ever read - "The Book" and "The Earlier Service" - were written by Margaret Irwin, there's no denying that her real fame stems (not unreasonably) from her work as an historical novelist.

Dorothy Sayers, ed.: Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery, and Horror (3 vols: 1928-34)

I first encountered these two stories in the multi-volume anthology above. As for her novels, I collected those gradually from various secondhand bookshops.

The four set in the seventeenth century, around about the time of what we used to refer to as the English Civil War (and would now have to call the British Wars), are probably my favourites. I've read each of them a number of times, and they've been a great help to me in disentangling many of the political complexities of the era.

They are, in order of publication (though not chronology):

Margaret Irwin: Royal Flush (1932)

  • Royal Flush: The Story of Minette. 1932. London: Chatto & Windus, 1947.
  • The Proud Servant: The Story of Montrose. 1934. London: Pan Books, Ltd., 1966.
  • The Stranger Prince: The Story of Rupert of the Rhine. 1937. London: Chatto & Windus, 1947.
  • The Bride: The Story of Louise and Montrose. London: Chatto & Windus, 1939.

Margaret Irwin: The Proud Servant (1934)

The best of these, I suppose, is The Proud Servant - about that super-romantic figure the Marquis of Montrose, and his one-man war against the Covenanters in Scotland. But all of them are interesting. In particular, the portrait given of the Dutch household of the 'Winter Queen,' the exiled Queen of Bohemia, daughter of the British monarch James 1st and mother of Prince Rupert, in both The Stranger Prince and The Bride, retains a certain fascination.

Margaret Irwin: The Stranger Prince (1937)

She followed up these triumphs with another group of novels set in the sixteenth century: one rather disappointing one about Mary Queen of Scots, followed by a brilliant trilogy about Queen Elizabeth the First:

Margaret Irwin: The Gay Galliard (1941)

  • The Gay Galliard: The Love Story of Mary Queen of Scots. London: Chatto & Windus, 1941.
  • The Queen Elizabeth Trilogy:
    1. Young Bess. 1944. Grey Arrow. London: Arrow Books, Ltd., 1960.
    2. Elizabeth, Captive Princess. 1948. London: The Reprint Society, 1950.
    3. Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain. London: Chatto & Windus, 1953.

George Sidney, dir.: Young Bess (1953)

The most famous of these is undoubtedly Young Bess. It was even used as the basis of a film starring Jean Simmons and Deborah Kerr (not to mention Charles Laughton as Henry the Eighth!).

Besides that, there are a number of other novels. She started off in the fantasy genre, in the gentler, pre-Tolkien, early twentieth century mode of Stella Benson and Robin Hyde:

Margaret Irwin: Still She Wished for Company (1924)

  • Still She Wished for Company. 1924. A Peacock Book. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979.
  • These Mortals. 1925. Uniform Edition. 1952. London: Chatto & Windus, 1968.
  • Knock Four Times. 1927. Uniform Edition. London: Chatto & Windus, 1951.
  • Fire Down Below. London: Chatto & Windus, 1928.
  • None So Pretty. 1930. London: Chatto & Windus, 1935.

Margaret Irwin: None So Pretty (1930)

Still She Wished for Company is an intricately told ghost story, and None So Pretty a tautly written period piece. Both show her already developing the skills which would lead to her mature historical novels a few years later.

The middle three are rather twee fantasy novels, which don't quite work for me, but which were certainly very popular at the time - hence the need for a 'uniform edition' of her works in the 1950s. I should note, though, that Rob Maslen mounts a spirited defence of These Mortals in the third of three posts about "Margaret Irwin between the wars" on his City of Lost Books blog.

A number of the online bibliographies for Irwin list another couple of late novels which I can't find available for sale anywhere, on Amazon or elsewhere, and whose existence I've therefore begun to doubt.

  • The Heart's Memory (1951)
  • Hidden Splendour (1952)

The fact that those same bibliographies (on Wikipedia, the Fiction Database, Fantastic Fiction and Agora Books) significantly misdate a number of her books, and - what's more - repeat the same errors from list to list, suggests to me that they're based on a comparison with each other, rather than independent library research.

The dates in my own listings are based on my own copies of each of the books in question (with the exception of Fire Down Below and her two, fabulously rare, early volumes of short stories, Madame Fears the Dark and Mrs. Oliver Cromwell, all of which I'm still searching for).

Margaret Irwin: That Great Lucifer (1960)

Irwin also published one work of non-fiction - a spirited biography of Sir Walter Ralegh.
[NB: The Featherstones and Halls: Gleanings from Old Family Matters, Letters and Manuscripts (1890, reprinted 2018), is not hers, though it's listed under her name in several bibliographies]
My main interest here, however, is in her short stories. Here are her three collections (with the stories I don't have access to marked in italics):

Margaret Irwin: Madame Fears the Dark (1935)

  • Madame Fears the Dark: Seven Stories and a Play. London: Chatto & Windus, 1935:

    1. The Book
    2. Mr Cork
    3. The Earlier Service
    4. Madame Fears the Dark
    5. Monsieur Seeks a Wife
    6. Time Will Tell
    7. The Curate and the Rake
    8. "Where Beauty Lies"

  • Margaret Irwin: Mrs. Oliver Cromwell (1940)

  • Mrs. Oliver Cromwell and Other Stories. London: Chatto & Windus, 1940:

    1. Courage
    2. Breaking-Point
    3. The Doctor
    4. Mayfly
    5. Mrs. Oliver Cromwell
    6. The Country Gentleman
    7. Bloodstock
    8. 'I See You'
    9. The Collar
    10. The Cocktail Bar

  • Margaret Irwin: Bloodstock (1953)

  • Bloodstock and Other Stories. 1935 & 1940. Uniform Edition. London: Chatto & Windus, 1953:

      Stories from Ireland
    1. Courage
    2. The Country Gentleman
    3. The Doctor
    4. Bloodstock
    5. The Collar
    6. Uncanny Stories
    7. The Book
    8. Monsieur Seeks a Wife
    9. Mistletoe
    10. The Earlier Service
    11. Mrs. Oliver Cromwell and Where Beauty Lies
    12. Mrs. Oliver Cromwell
    13. Where Beauty Lies

  • So, after all that preamble, what are the two ghost stories I mentioned above actually about? [Warning: plot spoilers ahead ...]

    Margaret Irwin: The Book (1930)

    The first one, "The Book," is concerned with that favourite theme of the ghost story writer, the haunted book. In this case the early, sound financial advice given by the book to the hapless Mr. Corbett becomes rapidly more sinister as he becomes more and more dependent upon it.

    I guess what's really stuck in my mind about this story are the 'tainted' literary opinions - presumably conveyed by the book itself - which gradually poison his favourite authors for Corbett. Having taken out The Old Curiosity Shop and Marius the Epicurean from his shelves for some late night reading, since "Reading was the best thing to calm the nerves, and Dickens a pleasant, wholesome and robust author."
    Tonight, however, Dickens struck him in a different light. Beneath the author's sentimental pity for the weak and helpless, he sensed a revolting pleasure in cruelty and suffering, while the grotesque figures of the people in Cruikshank's illustrations revealed too clearly the hideous distortions of their souls.

    George Cruikshank: Illustration for Oliver Twist (1838)

    "What had seemed humorous now appeared diabolic, and in disgust at these two old favourites, he turned to Walter Pater for the repose and dignity of a classic spirit."
    But presently he wondered if this spirit was not in itself of a marble quality, frigid and lifeless, contrary to the purpose of nature. "I have often thought," he said to himself, "that there is something evil in the austere worship of beauty for its own sake.” He had never thought so before, but he liked to think that this impulse of fancy was the result of mature consideration, and with this satisfaction he composed himself for sleep.
    However, his sleep is plagued with dreams "of these blameless Victorian works."
    Sprightly devils in whiskers and peg-top trouses tortured a lovely maiden and leered in delight at her anguish; the gods and heroes of classic fable acted deeds whose naked crime and shame Mr. Corbett had never appreciated in Latin and Greek Unseens. When he had woken in a cold sweat from the spectacle of the ravished Philomel’s torn and bleeding tongue, he decided there was nothing for it but to go down and get another book that would turn his thoughts in some more pleasant direction.
    He can't quite nerve himself up to do so, though. Instead, in the days that follow, he finds that, like his children, who have started to detect cruelty and cynicism in such works as Thackeray's The Rose and the Ring, and even an expurgated Boy's Gulliver's Travels, he is "off reading":
    Authors must all be filthy-minded; they probably wrote what they dared not express in their lives. Stevenson had said that literature was a morbid secretion; he read Stevenson again to discover his particular morbidity, and detected in his essays a self-pity masquerading as courage, and in Treasure Island an invalid's sickly attraction to brutality.
    "This gave him a zest to find out what he disliked so much, and ... he explored with relish the hidden infirmities of minds that had been valued by fools as great and noble."
    He saw Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë as two unpleasant examples of spinsterhood; the one as a prying, sub-acid busybody in everyone else's flirtations, the other as a raving, craving maenad seeking self-immolation on the altar of her frustrated passions. He compared Wordsworth's love of nature to the monstrous egotism of an ancient bell-wether, isolated from the flock.
    Well might Mr. Corbett conclude that "with a mind so acute and original he should have achieved greatness".

    The interesting thing about these opinions is that they are extremely cogent. Commentators on the story find it difficult to explain just why we should reject these "jejune" or "prematurely cynical" conclusions on their own merits, and are forced to fall back on the fact that - in the context of the story, at least - they are portrayed as the emanations of a deceiving, unholy spirit.

    That description of Wordsworth, in particular, is worthy of an F. R. Leavis or a Leslie Fiedler - but the "possessed" Corbett is pretty close to the mark on Dickens and Stevenson, also. Or so a Bloomsbury-inspired critic might well have thought. The date of the story, 1930, was, after all, the heyday of Lytton Strachey's influence.

    J. C. Squire (1884-1958)

    The London Mercury, where the story first appeared, was a notoriously reactionary literary monthly edited by the anti-modernist, "wholesome and hearty" J. C. Squire. The true cunning of "The Book," then, is to smuggle in such opinions in the guise of satire, leaving them to germinate secretly in unsuspecting readers.

    Margaret Irwin's story is a masterpiece. It continues to provoke and nag at us to this day. Whether she shared any of these against-the-grain opinions of canonical British authors is impossible to say. Certainly she was capable of formulating them, which is proof that they must have existed somewhere within her.

    She hasn't stopped me reading (and enjoying) any of the five authors she skewers - or, rather, whom her character challenges under the influence of an evil monk-turned-book - but she has made me think harder about each of them. The bleatings of Wordsworth, turned from love of the French Revolution to fulsome praise of his worthless patron Lord Lonsdale - the hypocritical sympathy of Dickens for oppressed young ladies while living under an assumed name with the powerless young Ellen Ternan - the gloating tone of Stevenson as he describes deaths and summary executions in The Black Arrow - the sheer weirdness of Charlotte Brontë's universe - the glaring omissions in Jane Austen's - all of these lend some weight to the insidious power of the story and of its ideas.

    Who can say what it's really about? It enters the ranks of supernatural classics because it continues to tease and irritate us, like the very finest of the works of Poe or Hoffmann.

    Margaret Irwin: The Earlier Service (1935)

    The second of the two, "The Earlier Service," transfers the basic conceit of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" - a witch cult concealed under a facade of piety - to an English country church, with a time-shift element built in for good measure.

    The extra turn of the screw this time comes from the presence of a crusader tomb in the church, which gives comfort to Jane, the young girl at the centre of the plot, as she finds herself increasingly drawn under the influence of these sinister past events. She finds herself repeatedly reciting - or rather, misquoting - Coleridge's lines:
    The knight is dust.
    His good sword rust.
    His soul is with the saints we trust.
    The young man York, an enthusiastic antiquarian, and the only one who takes her premonitions seriously, eventually unearths the reason for this shadowy presence hovering over the parish:
    In the reports of certain trials for sorcery in the year 1474, one Giraldus atte Welle, priest of the parish of Cloud Martin in Somerset, confessed under torture to having held the Black Mass in his church at midnight on the very altar where he administered the Blessed Sacrament on Sundays. This was generally done on Wednesday or Thursday, the chief days of the Witches’ Sabbath when they happened to fall on the night of the full moon. The priest would then enter the church by the little side door, and from the darkness in the body of the church those villagers who had followed his example and sworn themselves to Satan, would come up and join him, one by one, hooded and masked, that none might recognize the other. He was charged with having secretly decoyed young children in order to kill them on the altar as a sacrifice to Satan, and he was finally charged with attempting to murder a young virgin for that purpose.
    Jane, it seems, has been chosen to fill in for the young virgin, since Giraldus never succeeded in completing his ritual:
    All the accused made free confessions towards the end of their trial, especially in as far as they implicated other people. All however were agreed on a certain strange incident. That just as the priest was about to cut the throat of the girl on the altar, the tomb of the Crusader opened, and the knight who had lain there for two centuries arose and came upon them with drawn sword, so that they scattered and fled through the church, leaving the girl unharmed on the altar.
    York is too late to prevent Jane's abduction by the hungry ghosts.
    He walked up to the little gate into the churchyard. There was a faint light from the chancel windows, and he thought he heard voices chanting. He paused to listen, and then he was certain of it, for he could hear the silence when they stopped. It might have been a minute or five minutes later that he heard the most terrible shriek he had ever imagined, though faint, coming as it did from the closed church; and knew it for Jane’s voice. He ran up to the little door and heard that scream again and again. As he broke through the door he heard it cry “Crusader! Crusader!” The church was in utter darkness, there was no light in the chancel, he had to fumble in his pockets for his electric torch. The screams had stopped and the whole place was silent. He flashed his torch right and left, and saw a figure lying huddled against the altar. He knew that it was Jane; in an instant he had reached her. Her eyes were open, looking at him, but they did not know him, and she did not seem to understand him when he spoke. In a strange, rough accent of broad Somerset that he could scarcely distinguish, she said, “It was my body on the altar.”
    I guess one reason I like this story so much is the careful detailing of the backdrop - the shy attraction of Jane to York, and his own growing fascination with this intelligent but troubled young girl.

    But I do have to admit that I also like that moment of what Tolkien would call Eucatastrophe (the opposite of catastrophe: the sudden lucky turn that saves everything) when the Crusader comes to life and hunts the devil worshippers from the church.

    So much did I like it that I wrote a long poem about it when I was in my teens (now, luckily, long burnt to ashes). It completely failed to reproduce the atmosphere of Irwin's story. That may have been the first moment when I really started to understand how much skill and careful artifice went into the creation of such effects.

    I don't have much to say about the rest of Irwin's short stories. Some of them are quite good of their kind, such as the one about Cromwell's nominee attempting to take over his new estate in Ireland, but none of them rise to the heights of the two discussed above. Irwin clearly had a fascination with the supernatural, but it was the deep romanticism of her nature which brought the historical novels so vividly to life.

    J. R. R. Tolkien: Moments of Eucatastrophe (The Return of the King: 1955)

    Bassano Ltd.: Margaret Irwin (1939)

    Margaret Emma Faith Irwin


    1. Still She Wished for Company. 1924. A Peacock Book. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979.
    2. These Mortals. 1925. Uniform Edition. 1952. London: Chatto & Windus, 1968.
    3. Knock Four Times. 1927. Uniform Edition. London: Chatto & Windus, 1951.
    4. Fire Down Below. London: Chatto & Windus, 1928.
    5. None So Pretty. 1930. London: Chatto & Windus, 1935.
    6. Royal Flush: The Story of Minette. 1932. London: Chatto & Windus, 1947.
    7. The Proud Servant: The Story of Montrose. 1934. London: Pan Books, Ltd., 1966.
    8. The Stranger Prince: The Story of Rupert of the Rhine. 1937. London: Chatto & Windus, 1947.
    9. The Bride: The Story of Louise and Montrose. London: Chatto & Windus, 1939.
    10. The Gay Galliard: The Love Story of Mary Queen of Scots. London: Chatto & Windus, 1941.
    11. The Queen Elizabeth Trilogy:
      1. Young Bess. 1944. Grey Arrow. London: Arrow Books, Ltd., 1960.
      2. Elizabeth, Captive Princess. 1948. London: The Reprint Society, 1950.
      3. Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain. London: Chatto & Windus, 1953.
    12. The Heart's Memory (1951) [?]
    13. Hidden Splendour (1952) [?]

    14. Short stories:

    15. Madame Fears the Dark: Seven Stories and a Play. London: Chatto & Windus, 1935.
    16. Mrs. Oliver Cromwell and Other Stories. London: Chatto & Windus, 1940.
    17. Bloodstock and Other Stories. 1935 & 1940. Uniform Edition. London: Chatto & Windus, 1953.

    18. Biography:

    19. That Great Lucifer: A Portrait of Sir Walter Ralegh. 1960. London: The Reprint Society, 1961.

    Margaret Irwin: These Mortals (1925)

    Tuesday, March 09, 2021

    Classic Ghost Story Writers: Arthur Conan Doyle

    Towards the end of his life, the vogue of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was still such that it made good commercial sense to collect his works in convenient omnibus form. First of all (of course) came Sherlock Holmes, with one volume (1928) for the five volumes of short stories and another (1929) for the four novels.

    Next came the collected short stories (1929), then two volumes of 'historical romances' (1931 & 1932). Long after that, in the 1950s, came the Professor Challenger stories (The Lost World and its successors) and even an omnibus of Napoleonic Stories (though the latter overlaps considerably with the second volume of historical romances) - seven books in all, then, containing 16 novels and at least 11 volumes of short stories.

    Arthur Conan Doyle: The Sherlock Holmes Short Stories (1928)

    Sherlock Holmes was a rationalist, concerned only with what could be scientifically proven and deduced from the evidence. His creator was anything but. I've written elsewhere (here and here) about Charles Sturridge's wonderful film Fairy Tale (1997), which retells the strange story of the Cottingley Fairies.

    Peter O'Toole does an excellent job of impersonating the distinctly credulous but still (paradoxically) occasionally astute Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It becomes clear in the course of the action that it was the loss of his son Kingsley in the First World War - he died of influenza caught at the front two weeks before the armistice - that compels Doyle to continue his quest for communication beyond the veil.

    This monstrous pall of loss hanging over the whole western world does explain, to some extent, the post-war growth of interest in spiritualism. The hitherto widely respected physicist Sir Oliver Lodge's book Raymond, or Life and Death (1916), about the séances he held to contact his own dead son, had an immense influence over other grieving parents, and Doyle gradually became their spokesman and standard-bearer.

    Arthur Conan Doyle: The Land of Mist (1925-26)

    Even the hard-headed Professor Challenger, the dinosaur hunter of The Lost World (1912), was pressed into service as a psychic investigator in Doyle's late novel The Land of Mist (1926). Sherlock Holmes must be said to have had a narrow escape in not being conscripted similarly - even in The Hound of Baskervilles, where all the spectral appearances turn out to have a distinctly rational explanation.

    Arthur Conan Doyle: "The Story of the Brown Hand" (1899)

    It's not really those stories I want to discuss here, though. It's the ones collected in those two sections of The Conan Doyle Stories entitled "Tales of Terror & Mystery" and "Tales of Twilight & the Unseen." These include such frequently anthologised classics as "The Brown Hand" and "The Brazilian Cat."

    Arthur Conan Doyle: "The Story of the Brazilian Cat" (1898)

    A great many of the others are equally memorable, though. For the most part they predate the period of his full-fledged involvement with Spiritualism, but it was already plain that he already had a strong affinity with the supernatural and mystical. Two stories that made a particular impression on me when I first read them as a boy were "The Terror of Blue John Gap" and "The Leather Funnel."

    Arthur Conan Doyle: "The Terror of Blue John Gap" (1910)

    The first of these is somewhat reminiscent of H. P. Lovecraft's early story "The Beast in the Cave," written in 1904 (though not published until 1918). The fourteen-year-old Lovecraft could certainly not yet match the storytelling prowess of the immensely experienced Conan Doyle, but a comparison of the stories does offer some interesting reflections on what two different writers can do with not dissimilar material.

    Arthur Conan Doyle: "The Leather Funnel" (1902)

    "The Leather Funnel," by contrast, with its interest in psychometry and the sadistic excesses of the Inquisition, has an atmosphere of sadistic sexuality quite alien to Lovecraft but clearly quite attractive to Doyle.

    [NB: It's worth stressing here the availability of these and other works by Doyle on the wonderfully comprehensive Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia website. You can find there both the texts and contemporary illustrations for all of the stories mentioned in this post.]

    Arthur Conan Doyle: "Lot No. 249" (1892)

    What else? There's a wonderfully vivid Egyptian-mummy-coming-to-life story in "Lot No. 249" - which predates by a decade Bram Stoker's classic Jewel of Seven Stars (1903). Nor did Doyle avoid conventional 'occultism' in his earlier stories. There's also a striking account of a séance going terribly wrong in "Playing with Fire," and a nice piece of automatic writing in "How It Happened" (1913).

    Need I go on? Doyle is, I think, at his best as a ghost story writer when he can combine aspects of his fascination with historical detail with nasty doings in the present. This is certainly the case in "The Leather Funnel," and also in "The New Catacomb" (1898), a neat variation on Poe's "Cask of Amontillado."

    Not all of his work in this genre is included in the 1200 pages of The Conan Doyle Stories, however. A useful round-up of his unknown and uncollected pieces is provided by the late Richard Lancelyn Green's excellent The Unknown Conan Doyle: Uncollected Stories.

    Uncollected Stories. Ed. John Michael Gibson & Richard Lancelyn Green (1982)

    If it's Doyle's occultism that really interests you, though, you could do worse than try to find the recent (2013) Hesperus Press volume On the Unexplained, a selection from his late collection The Edge of the Unknown.

    Arthur Conan Doyle: The Edge of the Unknown (1930)

    Arthur Conan Doyle (1914)

    Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle


    1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes Long Stories. 1929. London: John Murray, 1949.
      1. A Study in Scarlet (1887)
      2. The Sign of the Four (1890)
      3. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)
      4. The Valley of Fear (1915)

    2. The Conan Doyle Historical Romances. Volume 1 of 2. London: John Murray, 1931.
      1. Micah Clarke (1889)
      2. The White Company (1891)
      3. The Refugees (1893)
      4. Sir Nigel (1906)

    3. The Mystery of Cloomber (1889)

    4. The Firm of Girdlestone (1890)

    5. Mysteries and Adventures (1890) [short stories]

    6. The Captain of the Polestar and Other Tales. 1890. London & New York: Longmans, Green & Co., 1893. [short stories]

    7. The Doings of Raffles Haw (1891)

    8. The Complete Sherlock Holmes Short Stories. 1928. London: John Murray, 1949.
      1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892)
      2. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894)
      3. The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1905)
      4. His Last Bow (1917)
      5. The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (1927)

    9. The Complete Napoleonic Stories. London: John Murray, 1956.
      1. The Great Shadow (1892)
      2. The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard (1896)
      3. Uncle Bernac (1897)
      4. The Adventures of Gerard (1903)

    10. The Gully of Bluemansdyke (1893) [short stories]

    11. The Parasite (1894)

    12. Round the Red Lamp: Being Facts and Fancies of Medical Life (1894) [short stories]

    13. The Stark Munro Letters (1895)

    14. The Conan Doyle Historical Romances. Volume 2 of 2. London: John Murray, 1932.
      1. The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard (1896)
      2. Rodney Stone (1896)
      3. Uncle Bernac (1897)
      4. The Adventures of Gerard (1903)

    15. The Original Illustrated Arthur Conan Doyle. Castle Books. Secausus, New Jersey: Book Sales, Inc., 1980.
      1. The Tragedy of the Korosko (1898)

    16. A Duet, with an Occasional Chorus (1899)

    17. The Green Flag and Other Stories of War and Sport (1900) [short stories]

    18. Round the Fire Stories (1908) [short stories]

    19. The Last Galley (1911) [short stories]

    20. The Complete Professor Challenger Stories. 1952. London: John Murray, 1963.
      1. The Lost World (1912)
      2. The Poison Belt (1913)
      3. The Land of Mist (1926)
      4. "The Disintegration Machine" (1928)
      5. "When the World Screamed" (1929)

    21. Danger! and Other Stories (1918) [short stories]

    22. Three of Them (1923) [short stories]

    23. The Conan Doyle Stories. 1929. London: John Murray, 1951.
      1. Tales of the Ring & the Camp
      2. Tales of Pirates & Blue Water
      3. Tales of Terror & Mystery
      4. Tales of Twilight & the Unseen
      5. Tales of Adventure & Medical Life
      6. Tales of Long Ago

    24. The Maracot Deep. 1929. London: John Murray, 1961.

    25. The Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Four Novels and the Fifty-Six Short Stories Complete, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Ed. William S. Baring-Gould. 2 vols. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1967.

    26. The Unknown Conan Doyle: Uncollected Stories. Ed. John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green. 1982. London: Secker & Warburg, 1983.

    27. The Uncollected Sherlock Holmes. Ed. Richard Lancelyn Green. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983.

    28. A Study in Scarlet: Based on the Story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A Sherlock Holmes Murder Mystery. 1887. Webb & Bower (Publishers) Limited. 1983. London: Peerage Books, 1985.

    29. The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: After Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Ed. Richard Lancelyn Green. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985.

    30. The Original Illustrated 'Strand' Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Facsimile Edition. 1989. Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions Ltd., 1990.

    31. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes. Vol. 1: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes & The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Ed. Leslie S. Klinger. New York & London: W. W. Norton, 2005.

    32. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes. Vol. 2: The Return of Sherlock Holmes, His Last Bow & The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes. Ed. Leslie S. Klinger. New York & London: W. W. Norton, 2005.

    33. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes. Vol. 3: A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles & The Valley of Fear. Ed. Leslie S. Klinger. New York & London: W. W. Norton, 2006.

    34. Poetry:

    35. Songs of Action (1898)

    36. Songs of the Road (1911)

    37. The Guards Came Through, and Other Poems (1919)

    38. The Poems: Collected Edition. 1922. London: John Murray, 1928.

    39. Non-fiction:

    40. The Great Boer War (1900)

    41. The War in South Africa – Its Cause and Conduct (1902)

    42. Through the Magic Door (1907)

    43. The Crime of the Congo (1909)

    44. The Case of Oscar Slater (1912)

    45. The German War: Some Sidelights and Reflections (1914)

    46. A Visit to Three Fronts (1916)

    47. The British Campaign in France and Flanders. 6 vols (1916–20)

    48. Memories and Adventures (1924)

    49. Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure (2012)

    50. Spiritualism:

    51. The New Revelation (1918)

    52. A Full Report of a Lecture on Spiritualism Delivered by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at the Connaught Hall, Worthing on Friday July 11th 1919 (1919)

    53. The Vital Message (1919)

    54. Our reply to the Cleric: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Lecture in Leicester, October 19th 1919 (1920)

    55. Spiritualism and Rationalism (1920)

    56. Verbatim Report of a Public Debate on 'The Truth of Spiritualism' between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Joseph McCabe (1920)

    57. The Wanderings of a Spiritualist (1921)

    58. The Coming of the Fairies (1922)

    59. The Case for Spirit Photography (1922)

    60. Our American Adventure (1923)

    61. Our Second American Adventure (1924)

    62. The Spiritualist's Reader (1924)

    63. The Early Christian Church and Modern Spiritualism (1925)

    64. Psychic Experiences (1925)

    65. The History of Spiritualism (1926)

    66. Pheneas Speaks (1927)

    67. A Word of Warning (1928)

    68. What Does Spiritualism Actually Teach and Stand For? (1928)

    69. The Roman Catholic Church: A Rejoinder (1929)

    70. An Open Letter to Those of My Generation (1929)

    71. Our African Winter (1929)

    72. The Edge of the Unknown (1930)
      • On the Unexplained. London: Hesperus Press Limited, 2013.

    73. The New Revelation (1997)

    74. Secondary:

    75. Baker, Michael. The Doyle Diary: The Last Great Conan Doyle Mystery. With a Holmesian Investigation into the Strange and Curious Case of Charles Altamont Doyle. London: Book Club Associates, 1978.

    76. Baring-Gould, William S. Sherlock Holmes: A Life of the World’s First Consulting Detective. 1962. London: Panther, 1975.

    77. Carr, John Dickson. The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 1949. London: Pan Books, 1953.

    78. Edwards, Owen Dudley. The Quest for Sherlock Holmes: A Biographical Study of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 1983. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984.

    79. Meyer, Nicholas. The Seven Per Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D.. 1974. Coronet Books. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1975.

    80. Nordon, Pierre. Conan Doyle. 1964. Trans. Frances Partridge. London: John Murray, 1966.

    81. Pearson, Hesketh. Conan Doyle: His Life and Art. 1943. Guild Books, 224. London: The British Publishers Guild, 1946.

    82. Starrett, Vincent. The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. 1960. Introduction by Michael Murphy. New York: Pinnacle Books, 1975.

    83. Tracy, Jack. The Encyclopaedia Sherlockiana or, A Universal Dictionary of the State of Knowledge of Sherlock Holmes and His Biographer, John H. Watson, M.D. 1977. New York: Avon, 1979.

    Leslie S. Klinger, ed. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes (3 vols: 2005-6)