DOROTHY L. SAYERS
Dorothy Leigh Sayers (/ˈsɛərz/ sairz; 13 June 1893 – 17 December 1957) was a renowned English crime writer, poet, playwright, essayist, translator, and Christian humanist. She was also a student of classical and modern languages.
She is best known for her mysteries, a series of novels and short stories set between the First and Second World Wars that feature English aristocrat and amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey, which remain popular to this day. However, Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante's Divine Comedy to be her best work.
She is also known for her plays, literary criticism, and essays.
Cover of Are Women Human?, which contains two of Sayers' feminist essays
Sayers's most notable religious book is probably The Mind of the Maker (1941) which explores at length the analogy between a human creator (especially a writer of novels and plays) and the doctrine of The Trinity in creation.
She suggests that any human creation of significance involves the Idea, the Energy (roughly: the process of writing and that actual 'incarnation' as a material object), and the Power (roughly: the process of reading and hearing and the effect that it has on the audience). She draws analogies between this ‘trinity’ and the theological Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In addition to the ingenious thinking in working out this analogy, the book contains striking examples drawn from her own experiences as a writer, as well as elegant criticisms of writers who exhibit, in her view, an inadequate balance of Idea, Energy, and Power.
She strongly defends the view that literary creatures have a nature of their own, vehemently replying to a well-wisher who wanted Lord Peter to "end up a convinced Christian”. "From what I know of him, nothing is more unlikely … Peter is not the Ideal Man".
Creed or Chaos? is a restatement of basic historical Christian Doctrine, based on the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed, similar to but somewhat more densely written than C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity.
Both sought to explain the central doctrines of Christianity, clearly and concisely, to those who had encountered them in distorted or watered-down forms, on the grounds that, if you are going to criticize something, you had best know what it is first.
Her very influential essay The Lost Tools of Learning has been used by many schools in the US as a basis for the classical education movement, reviving the medieval trivium subjects (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) as tools to enable the analysis and mastery of every other subject.
Sayers also wrote three volumes of commentaries about Dante, religious essays, and several plays, of which The Man Born to be King may be the best known.
Her religious works did so well at presenting the orthodox Anglican position that, in 1943, the Archbishop of Canterbury offered her a Lambeth doctorate in divinity, which she declined. In 1950, however, she accepted an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Durham.
Her economic and political ideas are rooted in the classical Christian doctrines of Creation and Incarnation, and are very close to the Chesterton–Belloc theory of Distributism – although she never describes herself as a Distributist.