The 1899 Questionnaire

Many years ago, I came across this fun artifact from the papers of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, meant to blog about it, and never actually did. This is a “favorites” survey which Doyle filled out in 1899 – basically like a modern-day blog tag! He has pretty readable handwriting, but you can find a typed-up version of his answers here. (Is it just me or was he clearly bored when he filled it out? πŸ˜› )

It has no title so I’ve dubbed it the (oh-so-creative) 1899 Questionnaire. I also thought it might be fun to fill it out, and if you’d like to as well, consider yourself tagged.

The 1899 Questionnaire

Your favourite virtue?


Your favourite qualities in man?

Kindness and intuition

Your favourite qualities in woman?

Wisdom and perseverance

Your favourite occupation?

Watching YouTube Writing πŸ™‚

Your chief characteristic?

Thinking too much

Your idea of happiness?

A deep conversation (aka Solving World Problemsβ„’) with a family member or friend

Your idea of misery?

Having no one to talk to

Your favourite colour and flower?

Favorite color is teal blue, favorite flowers are yellow roses

If not yourself, who would you be?

Something to do with music, probably an itinerant fiddler

Where would you like to live?

Same as where I live now, or maybe further out, in the forest

Your favourite poets?

Tolkien, Longfellow, and various lyricists like Adam Young

Your favourite painters and composers?

Painters: Monet, Caspar David Friedrich, Ivan Shishkin

Composers: Tchaikovsky, and so many more

Your favourite heroes in real life?

I don’t really have heroes, but I admire anyone who speaks the truth even when it’s not expedient.

Your favourite heroines in real life?


Your favourite heroes in fiction?

Sherlock Holmes, half the characters from Lord of the Rings, and Deputy Ryker from The Virginian TV show

Your favourite heroines in fiction?

Tatyana Larina from Eugene Onegin, Marian Halcombe from The Woman in White, and Alice

Your favourite food and drink?

Pretty much anything my mom makes. And Subway sandwiches. For drink: Swiss Miss hot cocoa with eggnog! It’s kind of a meal on its own, though.

Your favourite names?

I love old-fashioned names like Evelyn and Henry.

Your pet aversion?

Random strangers who act creepy or ask personal questions.

What characters in history do you most dislike?

The ones who tried to spread ideology or religion by force

What is your present state of mind?

Sheepish for staying up past midnight when I have to get up at 5:40

For what fault have you most toleration?

I’m not sure I would call it a fault exactly, but I have a lot of empathy for anyone who deals with extreme shyness and low self-esteem, having gone through that myself in the past.

Your favourite motto?

“Live not by lies” – Alexander Solzhenitsyn






7 responses to “The 1899 Questionnaire”

  1. smellincoffee Avatar

    I love this! Thanks for sharing it. And that quote from Solzhenitsyn, “live not by lies”…I’ll have to read that essay. I don’t remember encountering the phrase in the GA. I’ll have to try my own answers when I have time to think about them. πŸ™‚


    1. Marian Avatar

      I really should have linked to the essay! It’s only a few pages:

      Would enjoy reading your answers to this if you do fill out. It’s a surprisingly nice mix of trivial and non-trivial questions. πŸ™‚


      1. smellincoffee Avatar

        Believe it or not, I JUST encountered a similar essay (“Participation and the Lie”) by Solzhenitsyn in a work on anarchism which I am reading! Literally, the day after our above exchange.


        1. Marian Avatar

          Wow, nice timing! πŸ˜€


  2. Mudpuddle Avatar

    Doyle’s answers are about what you’d expect… he was a decent and good person; altho i was a bit surprised that his favorite poet was Kipling, but on second thought, the two had a lot in common…


    1. Marian Avatar

      I find it surprising, too, mostly because they were contemporaries and that seems like quite a big compliment.


  3. 1899 Questionnaire (via Classics Considered) | Reading Freely Avatar

    […] week Marian of Classics Considered posted a survey which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle participated in — a Victorian meme, if you will.Β  (He […]


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