Through the Magic Door by Arthur Conan Doyle
Best known now for his Sherlock Holmes stories, Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was also an astute and entertaining critic. In this collection of essays first published in 1907, he takes the reader on a tour of his own bookshelf and explores an eccentric range of topics, from the unreasonable opinions of Samuel Johnson to the deficiencies of Ivanhoe and the fascination of Treasure Island. While the importance of deep, intellectual reading is emphasised throughout, across an impressive scope of scientific and literary subjects, Conan Doyle is also firm in his belief that popular fiction is vital and that creativity should not be restricted by strict fact. Including sixteen illustrations, twelve essays and a full index, this book presents reading as a form of unlimited escape, a stance still at the heart of literary debate today, and will interest students of literary theory and the general reader alike.