Friday, January 4, 2019

D.L. Sayers and the gospel

Gina Dalfonzo who "is currently working on a book about the friendship between Dorothy L. Sayers and C.S. Lewis" here reviews The Gospel in Dorothy L. Sayers, from which:
.... This way of studying Sayers’s work and thought makes clear that her faith—which she always stressed that she experienced primarily through her intellect—permeated all her writings, even the lightest and most seemingly secular of them. It gave her a way of thinking about life, with all its dilemmas, delights, and foibles, that was cohesive and comprehensive. She never wrote a story, or anything else, to “send a message”; instead, she chose her subject and then brought to it her extensive knowledge, wisdom, and skill, to serve the work as faithfully as she was able. That, she always insisted, was her highest duty as a writer.
She never sank the artist and entertainer in the evangelist,” Lewis recalls in his “panegyric,” and goes on to quote her (or rather, to slightly misquote her) as saying, “It was assumed that my object in writing [The Man Born to Be King] was ‘to do good.’ But that was in fact not my object at all. .... My object was to tell that story to the best of my ability, within the medium at my disposal—in short, to make as good a work of art as I could. For a work of art that is not good and true in art is not true and good in any other respect.
Lewis had experienced his share of arguments with her over this topic; though they were largely on the same page about it, she thought he was too inclined to write solely for the sake of “doing good,” rather than sticking to topics he personally felt called and equipped to address. He got to have the last word when he pointed out, “Her disclaimer of an intention to ‘do good’ was ironically rewarded by the immense amount of good she evidently did.” ....