and the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College, Illinois, adding my
warm thanks to the Godolphin School for inviting me to be the Godolphin
Lecturer, 2011, and to the present archivist of the Marion E. Wade
Center, Laura Schmidt.
Brabazon , James .
DorothyL. Sayers: A
London : Victor
Gollancz , 1981 .
Coomes , David . DorothyL. Sayers: A Careless Rage for
Batavia, IL : Lion
Publishing , 1992 .
Douglas , M. A
(opposite 108), the other in DorothyL. Sayers (112), tentatively or definitely
identifies them as having been taken at school. In the former and
earlier publication her caption is: “Dorothy, possibly acting in
Coriolanus at the Godolphin”; in the latter and later
one it is: “Dorothy in costume for Coriolanus ”.
The photograph reproduced by Reynolds in DorothyL. Sayers is a full-length
portrait ( Plate 30 ). Dorothy stands, right hand on
hip, facing half-left. She is wearing a white sleeveless batwing
The book contains eleven essays, with an introduction and index. Six of the essays focus chiefly on four pivotal members of the influential “Bloomsbury Group” – the artists Roger Fry and Vanessa Bell, the art critic Clive Bell, and the writer Virginia Woolf. Significant new light is shed on them, partly through the presentation of previously unpublished pictures, photographs, and texts, partly through the fresh examination of relevant manuscripts and images. At the same time the life and work of Fry’s wife, the artist Helen Coombe, and her feminist friend the suffragette-supporting inspector of prisons Mary Louisa Gordon, who were never “Bloomsberries”, receive close attention. The five non-Bloomsbury essays too are based on primary source-materials, including previously unpublished texts and images. The first presents thirteen letters from the British writer Rose Macaulay to the Irish poet and novelist Katharine Tynan. It is followed by two essays about the prodigious teenage talents and achievements of Dorothy L. Sayers, destined for fame as a detective novelist and religious writer. The penultimate piece is about the exotic origin and eventful life of Richard Williams Reynolds, who taught J. R. R. Tolkien at school; and the last illuminates the artist Tristram Hillier and especially the personally and professionally important first visit he made to Portugal in 1947. The collection combines homogeneity and variety, and this combination contributes to a rich and balanced picture of the cultural scene in the first half of the twentieth century.
returned servicemen, and on the psychological damage caused by war.
Katharine’s two sons were in the army too. Rose took an interest
in Katharine’s daughter, Pamela Hinkson, who was showing early
promise as a writer. In 1925 Katharine sent Rose a novel by Peter Deane.
When Rose replied, she did not realise that Peter Deane was a pseudonym
used by Pamela, let alone that the disturbing story was closely based on
the post-war experiences of Katharine’s elder son.
DorothyL. Sayers, whose teenage years are the subject of
From the late 1930s to the end of the 1940s a high-profile group of mostly Christian intellectuals met to discuss the related crises of totalitarianism, war and cultural decline in the democratic West. Brought together by the leading missionary and ecumenist Joseph H. Oldham, the group included prominent writers, thinkers, activists and scholars, among them T. S. Eliot, John Middleton Murry, Karl Mannheim, John Baillie, Alec Vidler, H. A. Hodges, Christopher Dawson, Kathleen Bliss and Michael Polanyi. Among its wider circle of correspondents and supporters were the era’s most influential Christian authors and thinkers – such as Reinhold Niebuhr, William Temple, Jacques Maritain, Dorothy L. Sayers and C. S. Lewis. The participants in the Oldham group saw faith as a uniquely powerful resource for cultural and social renewal, and they sought to integrate diverse Christian viewpoints, reconcile faith and secular society, and reshape post-war British society. In an ‘age of extremes’ they pursued a variety of ‘middle ways’ with regard to topics such as the social relevance of faith, the relationship of Christianity to secularity, the legitimacy of capitalism, the role of State planning, the value of patriotism, the meaning of freedom and the value of egalitarianism.
This book explores the history of postwar England during the end of empire through a reading of novels which appeared at the time. Several genres are discussed, including the family saga, travel writing, detective fiction and popular romances. In the mid 1950s, Montagu Slater's brief essay in Arena is the first of a group of contributions, with the authors' warning of a growing American monopoly in cultural expression. Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Josephine Tey are now the best remembered representatives of the distaff side of Britain's Golden Age of crime fiction which extended well into the early postwar period. The book focuses on the reception of John Masters' novels, the sequence of novels known as the 'Savage family saga'. William Golding's 'human condition' is very much an English condition, diagnosed amid the historical upheavals of the mid-twentieth century. Popular romance novels were read by thousands throughout Britain and across the world, and can be understood as a constituent element in a postwar colonial discourse. William Boyd's fiction displays a marked alertness to the repercussions of fading imperial grandeur; his A Good Man in Africa, explores the comic possibilities of Kinjanja, a fictional country based on Nigeria. Penelope Lively's tangential approach to writing about empire in Moon Tiger suggests ambivalence and uncertainty about how to represent a colonial past which is both recent and firmly entrenched in ideas of national identity.
The Christian critical reception of elliptical Jesus narratives
communication and contact with Christ is no small feat.
Indeed, as classic Oxfordian crime writer DorothyL. Sayers noted in my epigraph, being a good artist is the most important part of making good Christian art. But clearly, not all Christian critics agree with this. One can be a brilliant screenwriter or director and still betray the (critic’s preferred) essence of the Bible. See the evangelical backlash to Darren Aronofsky’s Noah ( 2014 ) or Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings ( 2014 ) for strong recent examples. To some Christian critics, being a good artist
, 1 (March 1941), pp. 1, 2.
46 Ibid., p. 6.
47 J. Le Goff, Time, Work, and Culture in the Middle Ages, trans. A. Goldhammer (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1982), p. 195.
48 DorothyL. Sayers’s introduction to Dante’s Purgatory (1955), quoted in J. Brown, The
Seven Deadly Sins in the Work of DorothyL. Sayers (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press,
1998), p. 41, noted that pride was ‘love of self perverted to hatred and contempt of
49 Carroll, ‘Introduction’, p. 1.
50 ‘Comics Magazine of America Comics Code 1954’, reproduced in A. K
34 Carla Locatelli, Unwording the World: Samuel Beckett’s Prose Works After the Nobel Prize (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990), p. 192.
35 The souls ‘si ritrasser tutte quante insieme, / forte piangendo, a la riva malvagia’ (Then, weeping loudly, all drew to the evil shore) ( Inf . III, 106). DorothyL. Sayers translates as ‘Then, huddling hugger-mugger, down the scud, / Dismally wailing, to the accursed strand’; DorothyL. Sayers, The Divine Comedy (Harmonsdsworth: Penguin, 1949).
, Bishop George Bell, Mary Stocks, George MacLeod, Barbara Ward and Daniel Jenkins. In mid 1945 Oldham passed the editorship to Bliss. At first it appeared weekly, then rising postal rates led to fortnightly supplements from May 1940; paper restrictions then brought the entire CNL to a fortnightly schedule from April 1943. 123 Among its ‘collaborators’ were well-known Christian clergy, thinkers and activists, including William Temple, C. H. Dodd, Stafford Cripps, Reinhold Niebuhr, Charles Raven, DorothyL. Sayers, Arnold Toynbee, R. H. Tawney, Nathaniel Micklem, Kurt