“Playing with Fire” (1900)

Creators

Arthur Conan Doyle (writer).

Extent

Read in 2017.

Subject

A seance with a lackadaisical Frenchman and a disgruntled painter of heraldic animals.

Commentary

I like the cautious description of fin de siècle occultism:

He had, like many very hard and practical men of business, a mystic side to his nature, which had led him to the examination, and eventually to the acceptance, of those elusive phenomena which are grouped together with much that is foolish, and much that is fraudulent, under the common heading of spiritualism.

True to this elegant formulation, the supernatural is used here only lazily.

References here: “The Dreams in the Witch House” (1933).

fiction text