Dorothy Leigh Sayers

Dorothy Leigh
Sayers
1893
1957

English Scholar, Writer

Author Quotes

If God made everything, did He make the Devil?' This is the kind of embarrassing question which any child can ask before breakfast, and for which no neat and handy formula is provided in the Parents' Manual…Later in life, however, the problem of time and the problem of evil become desperately urgent, and it is useless to tell us to run away and play and that we shall understand when we are older. The world has grown hoary, and the questions are still unanswered.

It's very good of you-- No, no, not at all. It's my hobby. Not proposing to people, I don't mean, but investigating things. Well, cheer-frightfully-ho and all that. And I'll call again, if I may.I will give the footman orders to admit you, said the prisoner, gravely, you will always find me at home.

Paradoxical as it may seem, to believe in youth is to look backward; to look forward we must believe in age.

Some people's blameless lives are to blame for a good deal.

The two men sat silent for a little, and then Lord Peter said: D'you like your job? The detective considered the question, and replied: Yes—yes, I do. I know it to be useful, and I am fitted to it. I do it quite well—not with inspiration, perhaps, but sufficiently well to take a pride in it. It is full of variety and it forces one to keep up to the mark and not get slack. And there's a future to it. Yes, I like it. Why? Oh, nothing, said Peter. It's a hobby to me, you see. I took it up when the bottom of things was rather knocked out for me, because it was so damned exciting, and the worst of it is, I enjoy it—up to a point. If it was all on paper I'd enjoy every bit of it. I love the beginning of a job—when one doesn't know any of the people and it's just exciting and amusing. But if it comes to really running down a live person and getting him hanged, or even quodded, poor devil, there don't seem as if there was any excuse for me buttin' in, since I don't have to make my livin' by it. And I feel as if I oughtn't ever to find it amusin'. But I do.

To the average man, life presents itself, not as material malleable to his hand, but as a series of problems…which he has to solve…And he is distressed to find that the more means he can dispose of—such as machine-power, rapid transport, and general civilized amenities, the more his problems grow in hardness and complexity….Perhaps the first thing he can learn form the artists is that the only way of 'mastering' one's material is to abandon the whole conception of mastery and to co-operate with it in love: whosoever will be a lord of life, let him be its servant.

While time lasts there will always be a future, and that future will hold both good and evil, since the world is made to that mingled pattern.

I entirely agree that a historian ought to be precise in detail; but unless you take all the characters and circumstances into account, you are reckoning without the facts. The proportions and relations of things are just as much facts as the things themselves.

If it ever occurs to people to value the honor of the mind equally with the honor of the body, we shall get a social revolution of a quite unparalleled sort.

Lawyers enjoy a little mystery, you know. Why, if everybody came forward and told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth straight out, we should all retire to the workhouse.

Parker looked distressed. He had confidence in Wimsey's judgment, and, in spite of his own interior certainty, he felt shaken. My dear man, where's the flaw in [this case]? There isn't one ... There's nothing wrong about it at all, except that the girl's innocent.

The art of change-ringing is peculiar to the English, and, like most English peculiarities, unintelligible to the rest of the world. (The change-ringer's) passion- and it is a passion- finds its satisfaction in mathematical completeness and mechanical perfection, and as his bell weaves her way rhythmically up from lead to hinder place and down again, he is filled with the solemn intoxication that comes of intricate ritual faultlessly performed.

The worst sin-perhaps the only sin- passion can commit is to be joyless.

Trouble shared is trouble halved.

Why do you want a letter from me?... ? You take time to learn technical terms about electricity. Why don't you do as much for theology? Why do you never read the great writings on the subject, but take your information from the secular 'experts' who have picked it up as inaccurately as you? Why don't you learn the facts in this field as honestly as your own field? Why do you accept mildewed old heresies as the language of the church, when any handbook on church history will tell you where they came from? Why do you balk at the doctrine of the Trinity - God the three in One - yet meekly acquiesce when Einstein tells you E=mc2? What makes you suppose that the expression God ordains is narrow and bigoted, while your own expression, Science demands is taken as an objective statement of fact? I admit, you can practice Christianity without knowing much theology, just as you can drive a car without knowing much about internal combustion. But when something breaks down in the car, you go humbly to the man who understands the works; whereas if something goes wrong with religion, you merely throw the works away and tell the theologian he is a liar. Why do you want a letter from me telling you about God? You will never bother to check on it or find out whether I'm giving you personal opinions… Don't bother. Go away and do some work and let me get on with mine.

I gather that he nearly knocked you down, damaged your property, and generally made a nuisance of himself, and that you instantly concluded he must be some relation to me.

If it were not for the war, this war would suit me down to the ground.

Listen, Harriet. I do understand. I know you don't want either to give or to take... You don't want ever again to have to depend for happiness on another person. That's true. That's the truest thing you ever said. All right. I can respect that. Only you've got to play the game. Don't force an emotional situation and then blame me for it.But I don't want any situation. I want to be left in peace.

People who make some other person part of their job are dangerous.

The banks of the Thirty-Foot held, but the swollen Wale, receiving the full force of the Upper Waters and the spring tide, gave at every point. Before the cars reached St. Paul, the flood was rising and pursuing them. Wimsey's car--the last to start--was submerged to the axles. They fled through the dusk, and behind and on their left, the great silver sheet of water spread and spread.

There certainly does seem a possibility that the detective story will come to an end, simply because the public will have learnt all the tricks.

Very dangerous things, theories.

Why would you family think about it? Oh, my mother's the only one that counts, and she likes you very much from what she's seen of you. So you had me inspected? No-dash ti all, I seem to be saying all the wrong things today. I was absolutely stunned that first day in court, and I rushed off to my mater, who's an absolute dear, and the kind of person who really understands things, and I said, 'Look here! here's the absolutely one and only woman, and she's being put through a simply ghastly awful business and for God's sake come and hold my hand!' You simply don't know how foul it was.

I give you full credit for the discovery, I crawl, I grovel, my name is Watson, and you need not say what you were just going to say, because I admit it all.

If men will not understand the meaning of judgment, they will never come to understand the meaning of grace.

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

English Scholar, Writer