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From Doyle +‎ -ist, with reference to Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Adjective formed by analogy to Doyle as the real author of the text, as opposed to Dr. John Watson as the fictional author within the text. Started in Sherlock Holmes fandom before spreading to other fandoms. Possibly originating in the "Baker Street Irregulars" fan club and entering the science fiction fandom usage (fanspeak) via the Lois McMaster Bujold mailing list.


Doylist (comparative more Doylist, superlative most Doylist)

  1. (fandom slang, narratology) From a real-world perspective; of or relating to an explanation outside the text; external to the narrative.
    • 2000 October 6, Martin Bonham, “Banks was Re: Multi-culturalism in space?”, in rec.arts.sf.written[1] (Usenet), message-ID <970804830.406747@hermes>:
      I would accept that many of them behave like humans born on earth would, but that must be an artefact of poor translation or our poor understanding of their motives and objectives [Watsonian] or lack of vision on the writers part [Doylist - to borrow some terms from the Bujold mailing list - think 'as written by' Dr Watson or by Arthur Conan Doyle].
    • 2001 September 30, Rob Wynne, “Re: OK, Enterprise...”, in[2] (Usenet), message-ID <74Jt7.875$>:
      Roddenberry's official explaination[sic] was "They always looked like that. We just didn't have the budjet[sic] in the 1960's to show them properly."¶ This is one case where I prefer the Doylist explaination[sic].
    • 2012, Laurie Cubbison, “Russell T Davies, 'Nine Hysterical Women,' and the Death of Ianto Jones”, in New Media Literacies and Participatory Popular Culture Across Borders, →ISBN:
      While fans recognize and do engage in Doylist readings, they tend to find Watsonian readings more engaging. Fan fiction writers in particular engage with the text intradiegetically.




Doylist (plural Doylists)

  1. An enthusiast of the works of Arthur Conan Doyle.
    • T. Raymond
      One can imagine the devout Doylist wringing his hands over every fresh appearance of Sir Arthur in the character of an exponent of spiritualism.