SIR THOMAS HENRY HALL CAINE (1853-1931)
Three autograph letters signed to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Greeba Castle, Isle of Man and Regent's Park, 16 and 20 September 1897 and 19 July 1913, together 2 pages, 8vo, and 1½ pages, 4to; with a partly autograph letter signed (with initials, a retained copy) by Conan Doyle to Caine, Royal Links Hotel, Cromer, n.d., annotated in autograph 'Answer to H.C. No.2', approximately 2 pages, 8vo, in autograph, and 2 pages, 8vo, in another hand.
A literary spat over the impropriety of advertising one's work. The first letter from Hall Caine (annotated 'Hall Caine No 2') declares a sense of disappointment at an attack on him by Conan Doyle, which had consisted of the charge 'that I publish in advance of my books interviews, paragraphs, articles etc which are intended to influence the press & the public', and that his 'tactics' give an impression of 'illicit practices' -- Caine rebuts the charge, with the assertion that articles which preceded the publication of his most recent work were published without his foreknowledge or permission, and that he has no memory of previous instances of such practices. Conan Doyle in response reiterates his charge, accusing Caine of 'injudicious & reckless trust in newspaper men ... It is your duty to see interviews in proof', describing his behaviour as a breach of 'professional etiquette' ('It is for critics not for authors or editors to praise or blame') and accusing him of setting a bad example to young writers. Hall Caine's response is to reiterate that he is 'not guilty', and to question Conan Doyle's insistence on the monopoly of criticism by professional critics, as well as the biddable nature of editors. His brief letter of 16 years later is, however, perfectly friendly.
For further comments on the Hall Caine argument, see Conan Doyle's letters to James Payn (lot 105). (4)