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Encyclopedia > Dorothy Sayers

Dorothy Leigh Sayers (Oxford, 13 June 1893Witham, 17 December 1957) was a British author, translator, student of classical and modern languages, and Christian humanist. Oxford is a city and local government district in Oxfordshire, England, with a population of 134,248 (2001 census). ... June 13 is the 164th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (165th in leap years), with 201 days remaining. ... 1893 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Location within the British Isles. ... December 17 is the 351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1957 was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The word author has several meanings: The author of a book, story, article or the like, is the person who has written it (or is writing it). ... Translation is an activity comprising the interpretation of the meaning of a text in one language—the source text—and the production of a new, equivalent text in another language—the target text, also called the translation. ...

Contents

dorothy L. Sayers, photo taken by her husband atherton fleming This work is copyrighted. ...


History and Personal Life

Dorothy L. Sayers (and she always insisted on that "L.") is perhaps best known for her Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, a series of novels and short stories featuring an English aristocrat who is an amateur sleuth. Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey is a fictional character in a series of detective novels and short stories by Dorothy L. Sayers. ... A novel is an extended work of written, narrative, prose fiction, usually in story form; the writer of a novel is a novelist. ... This article is in need of attention. ... Etymology The Ancient Greek term Aristocracy meant a system of government with rule by the best. This is the first definition given in most dictionaries. ... Detective fiction is a branch of crime fiction that centres upon the investigation of a crime, usually murder, by a detective, either professional or amateur. ...


Sayers was born in Oxford, where her father the Rev. Henry Sayers, M.A., was chaplain (and headmaster of the Choir School) of Christ Church College, Oxford. She was educated at Somerville College, Oxford, where she took first-class honours in modern languages, although women could not be granted degrees at that time; she was among the first women to receive a degree when they were allowed a few years later. She worked as a teacher and later as a copywriter in an advertising agency, S.H. Benson's, in London. This was to give her a useful insight into the advertising industry which she used in one of her mysteries, Murder Must Advertise. Oxford is a city and local government district in Oxfordshire, England, with a population of 134,248 (2001 census). ... Christ Church (in full: The Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford of the Foundation of King Henry VIII) is one of the largest and wealthiest of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. ... Full name Somerville College Motto Donec rursus impleat orbem Named after Mary Somerville Previous Names Somerville Hall Established 1879 Sister College Girton College Principal Dame Fiona Caldicott JCR President Nicholas Bell MCR President Allen Middlebro Location Woodstock Road, Oxford Undergraduates 396 Graduates 88 Homepage Boat Club Somerville College is one... A modern language is any human language that is used by societies in the world today. ... A copywriter is a person who writes text, or copy, for clients. ... The Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster which contains Big Ben Tower Bridge at night A red double-decker bus crosses Piccadilly Circus. ... Murder Must Advertise is a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery novel by Dorothy L. Sayers, published in 1933. ...


"Strictly Confidential. Particulars about Baby."

In 1922 Sayers became involved with an unemployed "motor car salesman" named Bill White. After brief, intense, and mainly sexual relationship, Sayers discovered she was pregnant. White reacted negatively, storming out "in rage & misery" when Sayers admitted to being pregnant. 1922 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...


Fearing the effect her unmarried pregnancy would have on her parents, who were in their 70s, Sayers opted to hide herself away from friends and family. She continued to work at Benson's until the beginning of her last trimester, at which point she pleaded exhaustion and took an extended leave. She went alone to a "mother's hospital" under an assumed name and the child, John Anthony, was born January 3, 1924, at Southbourne, Hampshire. She remained with John for three weeks, nursing him and caring for him. Hampshire (abbr. ...


Not able to return to her life or work with an unexplainable child, Sayers arranged for him to be raised by her cousin Ivy Shrimpton. She wrote to Ivy, telling her the sad story about "a friend" and asking for Ivy to take the child. When Ivy agreed to take John, Sayers sent a her another letter that began "Strictly Confidential. Particulars about Baby." which revealed the child belonged to her. Sayers swore her cousin to silence about the child's parentage.


Two years later, by which time she was already writing her detective novels, she married Oswald Arthur "Mac" Fleming (a journalist whose professional name was "Atherton Fleming") and they later adopted her son; but he never lived in the Sayers household.


The Lady as a Writer

After graduation, Sayers struggled to find her place in the world. It is conjectured that she began working out the plot to her first novel sometime in 1921. The seeds of the plot for Whose Body? can be seen in a letter Sayers wrote on January 22, 1921: 1921 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... January 22 is the 22nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1921 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ...

"My detective story begins brightly, with a fat lady found dead in her bath with nothing on but her pince-nez. Now why did she wear pince-nez in her bath? If you can guess, you will be in a position to lay hands upon the murderer, but he's a very cool and cunning fellow..." (p.101, Reynolds)

Lord Peter Wimsey burst upon the world of detective fiction with an explosive "Damn!" and continues to engage the reader through the course of ten novels and two sets of short stories. Sayers once commented that Lord Peter was a mixture of Fred Astaire and Bertie Wooster, which is most evident in the first five novels. However, it is evident through Lord Peter's development as a round character, that he existed in Sayer's mind as a living breathing, fully human entity. Fred Astaire Fred Astaire (May 10, 1899 – June 22, 1987), born Frederick Austerlitz in Omaha, Nebraska, was an American film and Broadway ballroom dancer and actor. ... Critics saw Bertie Wooster, here portrayed by Hugh Laurie in ITVs Jeeves and Wooster series, as detrimental to the worldwide image of a young British man. ...


When she tired of grinding out detective stories, Sayers introduced Harriet Vane, a detective novelist and amateur detective, in the definitive Strong Poison. She remarked on more than one occasion that she had developed the "husky voiced, dark-eyed" Harriet to put an end to Lord Peter via matrimony. But in the course of writing Gaudy Night, Sayers imbued Lord Peter and Harriet with so much life that she was never able to, as she put it, "see Lord Peter exit the stage." Harriet Deborah Vane, Lady Peter Wimsey, is a fictional character in the writings of Dorothy L. Sayers. ... Strong Poison is a 1931 novel by Dorothy L. Sayers, her fifth featuring Lord Peter Wimsey. ... Gaudy Night is a 1935 Lord Peter Wimsey detective story by Dorothy L. Sayers. ...


Sayers also wrote a number of short stories about Montague Egg, a wine salesman who also solves mysteries.


Turning Heart and Hands to God's Work

Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante's Divina Commedia to be her best work. She also wrote religious essays and plays, of which The Man Born to be King may be the best known. Translation is an activity comprising the interpretation of the meaning of a text in one language—the source text—and the production of a new, equivalent text in another language—called the target text, or the translation. ... Dante in a fresco series of famous men by Andrea del Castagno, ca. ... Dante shown holding a copy of The Divine Comedy, next to the entrance to Hell, the seven terraces of Mount Purgatory and the city of Florence, in Michelinos fresco. ... The Man Born to be King is a radio drama based on the life of Jesus, produced and broadcast by the BBC. It is a play cycle consisting of twelve plays depicting specific periods in Jesus life, from the events surrounding his birth to his death and resurrection. ...


Her religious works did so well at presenting an orthodox Anglican position that in 1943 the Archbishop of Canterbury offered her an honorary doctorate in divinity, which she declined. In 1950, however, she accepted an honorary doctorate in literature from the University of Durham. The term Anglican (from the Angles or English) describes those people and churches following the religious traditions developed by the established Church of England. ... 1943 is a common year starting on Friday. ... Arms of the Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior bishop of the state Church of England and of the worldwide Anglican Communion, outranking the other English archbishop, the Archbishop of York. ... 1950 was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... The University of Durham is a university in England. ...


Her essay "The Lost Tools of Learning" has been used by several schools in the US as a basis for a revival of classical education. Classical education as understood and taught in the middle ages of western civilization is roughly based on the ancient Greek concept of Paideia. ...


She was acquainted with C. S. Lewis and his circle, and on some occasions joined Lewis at meetings of the Socratic Club. Lewis said he read The Man Born to Be King every Easter, but he claimed to be unable to appreciate detective stories. J. R. R. Tolkien, however, read some of the Wimsey novels and scorned the later ones, such as Gaudy Night. Clive Staples Lewis (November 29, 1898 – November 22, 1963), commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis, was an author and scholar mostly resident in England. ... J. R. R. Tolkien in 1972, in his study at Merton Street (from by H. Carpenter) John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (January 3, 1892 – September 2, 1973) was the author of The Hobbit and its sequel The Lord of the Rings. ... Gaudy Night is a 1935 Lord Peter Wimsey detective story by Dorothy L. Sayers. ...


Literary Criticism

Addressing the question of "Just who is Harriet Vane?"

Many literary theorists have concluded that Harriet Vane is, in fact, Dorothy L. Sayers. Almost as if Sayers was projecting herself into Lord Peter's realm for a taste of the "happy ever after."


Addressing the issue of LPW as a character with a flaw

Detective characters must be free to detect, thus we have independently wealthy and titled individuals running amok in London between the wars, solving mysteries. Lord Peter (fondly, LPW) is both a second son (thus not tied to the family seat and in need of amusement) and well-invested (as the Dowager Duchess discovers in Busman's Honeymoon when she's told about the "London properties"). He's rich, well-educated, charming, and brave. To all this Sayers added one more thing, like the last fairy to come to the bassinet: Lord Peter is given a nervous disorder and phobia of responsibility, both brought on following his War service, when as a Major in the British Army he was blown up and buried and dug out by his men. Busmans Honeymoon is a 1937 novel by Dorothy L. Sayers, her eleventh (and last) featuring Lord Peter Wimsey. ...


Addressing the question of anti-semitism in Sayers' work

The subject of anti-semitism in her works has been much debated. Many have found in the novels an unblushing anti-semitism which was marked even for the time and place of their writing; others cite the most offensive passages in the Wimsey novels as the talk of characters who do not represent the authorial voice. The case is made less clear by the fact that the author's own voice tends to be patronizing at best toward any persons who are not the right sort of Christian English people - Jews and Americans receive particular disdain - and her own inconsistencies towards Judaism and Jews. For instance, in the 1920s she referred negatively to G. K. Chesterton and his brother as anti-Semitic. In 1943-44, however, she wrote an essay for inclusion in a book The Future of the Jews by J. J. Lynx, in which it is definitely the authorial voice that asserts, for instance, that Jews are bad citizens with little or no loyalty to the country they live in. Critical discussion of this piece has been limited, as the essay was withdrawn from the collection at the last minute due to the demand of the other contributors, and was never published. The Eternal Jew: 1937 German poster. ... Sometimes referred to as the Jazz Age or primarily in North America as the Roaring Twenties. Events and trends Technology John T. Thompson invents Thompson submachine gun, also known as Tommy gun John Logie Baird invents the first working television system (1925) Charles Lindbergh becomes the first person to fly... G.K. Chesterton Gilbert Keith Chesterton (May 29, 1874 – June 14, 1936) was an English writer of the early 20th century. ... Joachim Joe Lynx ( 1900 - ??) was a German journalist and author of several books on disparate subjects. ...

dorothy and agatha by gaylord larsen, isbn 0-451-40314-2 This work is copyrighted. ...

Sayers in work by other authors

Sayers's work was frequently parodied by her contemporaries (and sometimes by herself). A particularly interesting example is "Greedy Night" (1938) by E. C. Bentley, the author of the early modern detective novel Trent's Last Case, a work which Sayers admired. In contemporary usage, parody is a form of satire that imitates another work of art in order to ridicule it. ... E. C. Bentley (July 10, 1875 – March 30, 1956), was a popular English novelist and humorist of the early twentieth century, and the inventor of the clerihew, an irregular form of humorous verse on biographical topics. ... Trents Last Case is a detective novel (1913) by E. C. Bentley; and a British film (1952) based on Bentleys book directed by Herbert Wilcox starring Michael Wilding, Margaret Lockwood and Orson Welles. ...


Sayers appears, with Agatha Christie, as a title character in Dorothy and Agatha [ISBN 0-451-40314-2], a fictional murder mystery by Gaylord Larsen, in which a man is murdered in her dining room, and Sayers has to solve the crime. Agatha Christie Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, DBE (September 15, 1890–January 12, 1976), was a British crime fiction writer. ... Gaylord Larsen (born 1932) is a 20th century author. ...


Jill Paton Walsh has completed and published two additional novels about Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane: Thrones, Dominations, based on an unfinished novel; and A Presumption of Death, based on the "Wimsey Papers", letters ostensibly written by various Wimseys and published in the Spectator during World War II. Jill Paton Walsh (born 1937) is an English novelist and childrens writer. ... Thrones, Dominations is a Lord Peter Wimsey murder mystery novel that Dorothy L. Sayers began writing in 1936 but abandoned. ... A Presumption of Death is a mystery novel by Jill Paton Walsh, based loosely on The Wimsey Papers by Dorothy L. Sayers. ... The Spectator is a conservative British political magazine, established 1828, published weekly. ... Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km (over 11 miles) into the air. ...


References


  Results from FactBites:
 
Dorothy L. Sayers (350 words)
Dorothy L. Sayers (and she always insisted on that "L.") is perhaps best known for her Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, a series of novels and short stories featuring an English aristocrat who is an amateur sleuth.
Sayers was born in Oxford, where her father Rev. Henry Sayers, M.A., was chaplain (and headmaster of the Choir School) of Christ Church College[?], and she was educated at Somerville College, Oxford, where she took a first-class degree in modern languages[?] -- one of the first women to receive a degree from that ancient institution.
Sayers appears, with Agatha Christie, as a title character in Dorothy and Agatha [ISBN 0-451-40314-2], a fictional murder mystery by Gaylord Larsen, in which a man is murdered in her dining room, and Sayers has to solve the crime.
Dorothy Sayers (4303 words)
Dorothy Leigh Sayers was born on 13 June, 1893, in Oxford; her father, Henry Sayers, MA, was then chaplain to Christ Church College and headmaster of the Cathedral Choir School.
Dorothy was their only daughter, and the family's move to the desolated Fenlands in 1897 deprived her of any playmates equal in age.
Sayers was Fleming's second wife, and their shared professional interest in writing and crime (he was special correspondent for motor-sports and crime to the News of the World) might have provided sufficient common ground for the marriage to be happy.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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