Torture, Literature, and History in Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Leather Funnel'

Academic Article


  • Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story “The Leather Funnel” is a brief, rather ghastly tale that centers on a dream vision of a woman being brutally tortured. Doyle’s other major publication of 1902, The War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct, was his defense of the British army against claims made by W. T. Stead in Methods of Barbarism (1901) that Boer women and children had been the victims of war crimes and systematic torture. Doyle structures the story so that the narrator’s naïve response of moral outrage at seeing a woman being tortured gradually develops into a more sophisticated understanding of justice as his vision is placed in its proper legal and historical context. Taken together, “The Leather Funnel” and The War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct offer useful insights into Doyle’s understanding of the relationship between literature and history, and the deployment of state power through written language.
  • Authors

    Publication Date

  • 2018
  • Start Page

  • 11
  • End Page

  • 22
  • Volume

  • 17
  • Issue

  • 2