Dorothy Leigh Sayers

Dorothy Leigh
Sayers
1893
1957

English Scholar, Writer

Author Quotes

Here be dragons to be slain, here be rich rewards to gain; If we perish in the seeking, why, how small a thing is death!

I love you - I am at rest with you - I have come home.

It is arguable that when Humanists, Shook off, as people say, the trammels of religion, and discovered things of this world as objects of veneration in their own right... they began to lose the finer appreciation of even the world itself. Thus to the Christian centuries, the flesh was holy (or sacred at least in one sense or the other), and they veiled its awful majesty; to the Humanist centuries it was divine in its own right, and they exhibited it. Now it is the commonplace of the magazine cover. It has lost its numen. So too with the cult of knowledge for its own sake declining from the Revival of Learning to the Brains Trust.

Nothing about a book is so unmistakable and so irreplaceable as the stamp of the cultured mind. I don't care what the story is about or what may be the momentary craze for books that appear to have been hammered out by the village blacksmith in a state of intoxication; the minute you get the easy touch of the real craftsman with centuries of civilization behind him, you get literature.

Protested Mrs. Featherstone, a lady in her thirties, whose violently compressed figure suggested that she was engaged in a perpetual struggle to compute her weight in terms of the first syllables of her name rather than the last.

The more clamor we make about 'the women's point of view', the more we rub it into people that the women's point of view is different, and frankly I do not think it is -- at least in my job. The line I always want to take is, that there is the 'point of view' of the reasonably enlightened human brain, and that this is the aspect of the matter which I am best fitted to uphold.

This recognition of the truth we get in the artist’s work comes to us as a revelation of new truth. I want to be clear about that. I am not referring to the sort of patronizing recognition we give a writer by nodding our heads and observing, Yes, yes, very good, very true—that’s just what I’m always saying. I mean the recognition of a truth that tells us something about ourselves that we had not been always saying, something that puts a new knowledge of ourselves within our grasp. It is new, startling, and perhaps shattering, and yet it comes to us with a sense of familiarity. We did not know it before, but the moment the poet how shown it to us, we know that, somehow or other, we had always really known it.

What is repugnant to every human being is to be reckoned always as a member of a class and not as an individual person.

You're thinking that people don't keep up old jealousies for twenty years or so. Perhaps not. Not just primitive, brute jealousy. That means a word and a blow. But the thing that rankles is hurt vanity. That sticks. Humiliation. And we've all got a sore spot we don't like to have touched.

His [Lord Peter's] long, amiable face looked as if it had generated spontaneously from his top hat, as white maggots breed from Gorgonzola.

I say, I don’t think the human frame is very thoughtfully constructed for this sleuthhound business. If one could go on all fours, or had eyes in ones knees, it would be a lot more practical’… ‘What luck! Here’s a deep, damp ditch on the other side, which I shall now proceed to fall into.’ A slithering crash proclaimed that he had carried out his intention.

It is extraordinarily entertaining to watch the historians of the past ... entangling themselves in what they were pleased to call the problem of Queen Elizabeth. They invented the most complicated and astonishing reasons both for her success as a sovereign and for her tortuous matrimonial policy. She was the tool of Burleigh, she was the tool of Leicester, she was the fool of Essex; she was diseased, she was deformed, she was a man in disguise. She was a mystery, and must have some extraordinary solution. Only recently has it occurred to a few enlightened people that the solution might be quite simple after all. She might be one of the rare people were born into the right job and put that job first.

Nothing goes so well with a hot fire and buttered crumpets as a wet day without and a good dose of comfortable horrors within. The heavier the lashing of the rain and the ghastlier the details, the better the flavour seems to be.

Salcombe Hardy groaned: How long, O Lord, how long shall we have to listen to all this tripe about commercial arsenic? Murderers learn it now at their mother's knee.

The one thing which seems to me quite impossible is to take into consideration the kind of book one is expected to write; surely one can only write the book that is there to be written.

Those who make some other person their job... are dangerous.

What we ask is to be human individuals, however peculiar and unexpected. It is no good saying: You are a little girl and therefore you ought to like dolls; if the answer is, But I don't, there is no more to be said.

How can I find the words? Poets have taken them all and left me with nothing to say or do. Except to teach me for the first time what they meant.

I think the most joyous thing in life is to loaf around and watch another bloke do a job of work. Look how popular are the men who dig up London with electric drills. Duke's son, cook's son, son of a hundred kings, people will stand there for hours on end, ear drums splitting. Why? Simply for the pleasure of being idle while watching other people work.

It is said that love and a cough cannot be hid.

Now, it is frequently asserted that, with women, the job does not come first. What (people cry) are women doing with this liberty of theirs? What woman really prefers a job to a home and family? Very few, I admit. It is unfortunate that they should so often have to make the choice. A man does not, as a rule, have to choose. He gets both. Nevertheless, there have been women ... who had the choice, and chose the job and made a success of it. And there have been and are many men who have sacrificed their careers for women ... When it comes to a choice, then every man or woman has to choose as an individual human being, and, like a human being, take the consequences.

See that the mind is honest, first; the rest may follow or not as God wills. [That] the fundamental treason to the mind ... is the one fundamental treason which the scholar's mind must not allow is the bond uniting all the Oxford people in the last resort.

The only ethical principle which has made science possible is that the truth shall be told all the time. If we do not penalize false statements made in error, we open up the way for false statements by intention. And a false statement of fact, made deliberately, is the most serious crime a scientist can commit.

Those who prefer their English sloppy have only themselves to thank if the advertisement writer uses his mastery of the vocabulary and syntax to mislead their weak minds.

What we make is more important than what we are, particularly if making is our profession.

Author Picture
First Name
Dorothy Leigh
Last Name
Sayers
Birth Date
1893
Death Date
1957
Bio

English Scholar, Writer