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Dorothy L. Sayers
     

Dorothy L. Sayers

by Barbara Reynolds
 
No definitive biography of Dorothy L. Sayers can be written until her letters are published. The present work is based on a selection of the most personal and significant, from which ample quotations are provided. The result is that she largely tells her own story, and in her own voice. In theory, she would have approved, for she stated, in her unfinished work on

Overview

No definitive biography of Dorothy L. Sayers can be written until her letters are published. The present work is based on a selection of the most personal and significant, from which ample quotations are provided. The result is that she largely tells her own story, and in her own voice. In theory, she would have approved, for she stated, in her unfinished work on Wilkie Collins, that the secret of success in biography was to allow the subject to speak for himself as far as possible in diaries and letters. In fact, as far as she was concerned, she abhorred the personal approach. She expressed the hope that no account of her life would be written until fifty years after her death. She told her son that she intended to destroy all letters and private papers in her possession. But she did not do so; and she must have realised that the recipients of her own remarkable letters were unlikely to throw them away. Some use of them has already been made by previous biographers but the portraits of her that have emerged so far have left me dissatisfied. I had the good fortune to know Dorothy Sayers. Over a period of eleven years we met and corresponded (mainly about Dante) and we became close friends. The person I knew is recognisable in her letters and I have retraced her there. Despite her vehement protestations to the contrary, all her writings ? novels, plays, poems, theological articles, translations and literary criticism ? are deeply and consistently personal. I have no doubt that the more we get to know and understand her, the more we will appreciate and comprehend her works. That is my justification, if any is needed, for presenting this new ? though still interim ? biography of Dorothy L. Sayers in the centenary year of her birth.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sayers, The Passionate Intellect of Reynolds's earlier book, is revealed as a more exciting person in this biography, published in observance of the centenary of the writer's birth. As the author of sophisticated mysteries featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, aristocratic detective, and feminist Harriet Vane, Sayers gained fame during the l920s; she was also among the first women to earn a degree from Oxford, and when she died in l957 at the age of 64 she was involved in translating Dante's Divine Comedy . She was religious as well as scholarly and expressed her Christian beliefs in stage and radio dramas. Sayers had a sense of humor and countless interests, from music to motorcycling. But she also suffered from failed love affairs and from secretly bearing a son out of wedlock in the intolerant moral climate of her day. Excerpts from her correspondence and publications illuminate Reynolds's discerning depiction of this intriguing woman. Photos. ( Oct. )
Booknews
Remembered above all as the detective writer who created Lord Peter Wimsey, Sayers was also a scholar and one of the first women to be awarded a degree from Oxford University. Reynolds, who completed the translation of Dante's Divine Comedy that Sayers left unfinished when she died and who is chairman of the Dorothy L. Sayers Society, profiles the famous writer on the 100th anniversary of her birth. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312153533
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
03/01/1997
Edition description:
First St. Martin's Griffin Edition
Pages:
398
Sales rank:
922,134
Product dimensions:
6.06(w) x 9.04(h) x 1.02(d)

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