List of works by Dorothy L. Sayers

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Dorothy L. Sayers bibliography
Releases
Novels 16
Collections 8
Poems 7
Plays 10
Scripts 1
Letters 5
Translations 6
Books edited 4
Non fiction 24
Miscellany 4

Dorothy Leigh Sayers (usually stylised as Dorothy L. Sayers; 1893–1957) was an English crime writer, poet, playwright, essayist, translator and Christian humanist; she was also a student of classical and modern languages. She is perhaps best known for her mysteries, a series of novels and short stories, set between the First and Second World Wars, which feature Lord Peter Wimsey, an English aristocrat and amateur sleuth. Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante's Divine Comedy to be her best work.[1][2]

Sayers was educated at home and then at the University of Oxford. This was unusual for a woman at the time, as they were not admitted as full members of the university until 1920 – five years after Sayers had completed her first class degree in medieval French.[1][3] In 1916, a year after her graduation, Sayer published her first book, a collection of poems entitled Op. I, which she followed two years later with a second, a slim volume titled Catholic Tales and Christian Songs.[1] The same year she was invited to edit and contribute to the annual editions of Oxford Poetry, which she did for the next three years.[4] In 1923 she published Whose Body?, a murder mystery novel featuring the fictional Lord Peter Wimsey, and went on to write eleven novels and five collections of short stories about the character. The Wimsey stories were popular, and successful enough for Sayers to leave the advertising agency where she was working.[5][6][a]

Towards the end of the 1930s, and without explanation, Sayers stopped writing crime stories and turned instead to religious plays and essays, and to translations. Some of her plays were broadcast on the BBC, others performed at the Canterbury Festival and some in commercial theatres.[7] During the Second World War through these plays, and other works like The Wimsey Papers (1939–40) and Begin Here: A War-Time Essay (1940), Sayers "offered her countrymen a stirring argument for fighting", according to her biographer, Catherine Kenney.[1] As early as 1929 Sayers had produced an adaptation—from medieval French—of the poem Tristan by Thomas of Britain,[7][8] and in 1946 she began to produce translations of Dante, firstly the four Pietra canzoni then, from 1948, the canticas of the Divine Comedy. Her critical analyses of Dante were popular and influential among scholars and the general public, although there has been some criticism that she overstressed the comedic side of his writing to make him more popular.[2] Sayers died in December 1957 after suffering a sudden stroke.[7]

Poems

The book cover for the first edition. A stylised image of a crucified Christ is surrounded by the name of the book and author.
Cover of Catholic Tales and Christian Songs, 1918
Sayers's poetry
Title[4][9][10] Year of first publication First edition publisher Notes
Op. I 1916 Blackwell, Oxford
Catholic Tales and Christian Songs 1918 McBride, Oxford
Oxford Poetry, 1917 1918 Blackwell, Oxford Contributor and editor with Wilfred Rowland Childe and T.W. Earp
Oxford Poetry, 1918 1919 Blackwell, Oxford Contributor and editor with T.W. Earp and E.F.A. Geach
Oxford Poetry, 1919 1920 Blackwell, Oxford Contributor and editor with T.W. Earp and Siegfried Sassoon
Lord, I Thank Thee 1943 Overbrook, Stamford, CT
The Story of Adam and Christ 1955 Hamish Hamilton, London

Novels

Novels by Sayers
Title[4][9][10][11] Year of first
publication
First edition publisher
(All London)
Notes
Whose Body? 1923 Unwin
Clouds of Witness 1926 Unwin
Unnatural Death 1927 Benn Published in the US as The Dawson Pedigree
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club 1928 Benn
Strong Poison 1930 Gollancz
The Documents in the Case 1930 Benn With Robert Eustace
The Five Red Herrings 1931 Gollancz Published in the US as Suspicious Characters
The Floating Admiral 1931 Hodder and Stoughton With members of The Detection Club. A chapter each was completed by: Canon Victor Whitechurch, George and Margaret Cole, Henry Wade, Agatha Christie, John Rhode, Milward Kennedy, Sayers, Ronald Knox, Freeman Wills Crofts, Edgar Jepson, Clemence Dane and Anthony Berkeley. G. K. Chesterton contributed the prologue.[12]
Have His Carcase 1932 Gollancz
Murder Must Advertise 1933 Gollancz
Ask a Policeman 1933 Barker With members of The Detection Club: Anthony Berkeley, Milward Kennedy, Gladys Mitchell, John Rhode, Sayers and Helen Simpson.[13]
The Nine Tailors 1934 Gollancz
Gaudy Night 1935 Gollancz
Six against the Yard 1936 Selwyn and Blount With members of The Detection Club: Margery Allingham, Anthony Berkeley, Freeman Wills Crofts, Father Ronald Knox, Sayers and Russell Thorndike.[14]
Busman's Honeymoon: A Love Story With Detective Interruptions 1937 Harcourt Brace Adapted from the play Busman's Honeymoon (1936)
Double Death: a Murder Story 1939 Gollancz With members of The Detection Club

Short story collections

Sayers contributed to numerous short story anthologies, but also published a number of collections of her own works.[4]

Sayers's short story collections
Title[4][9][11] Year of first
publication
First edition publisher
(All London)
Notes
Lord Peter Views the Body 1928 Gollancz
Hangman's Holiday 1933 Gollancz
In the Teeth of the Evidence 1939 Gollancz
A Treasury of Sayers Stories 1958 Gollancz
Talboys 1972 Harper
Striding Folly 1973 New English Library
The Scoop and Behind the Screen 1983 Gollancz Two collaborative detective serials written by members of the Detection Club which were broadcast weekly by their authors on the BBC National Programme in 1930 and 1931 with the scripts then being published in The Listener a week after broadcast.
Crime on the Coast and No Flowers by Request 1984 Gollancz Two collaborative detective serials written by members of the Detection Club; originally published in Daily Sketch (1953)

Editor

Works of which Sayers was the editor
Title[4][15] Year of first
publication
First edition publisher
(All London)
Notes
Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery, and Horror 1928 Gollancz
Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery, and Horror—Second Series 1931 Gollancz
Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery, and Horror—Third Series 1934 Gollancz
Tales of Detection 1936 J.M. Dent As part of the Everyman's Library series

Translation

A man in red holds a book and indicates a muti-layered Hell behind him.
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, with the spheres of Heaven above, in Michelino's fresco
Translations by Sayers
Title[4][15] Year of first
publication
First edition publisher
(London, unless otherwise stated)
Notes
Tristan in Brittany, Being Fragments of the Romance of Tristan, Written in the Twelfth Century by Thomas the Anglo-Norman 1929 Benn Translation of the Old French poem Tristan by Thomas of Britain
The Heart of Stone, Being the Four Canzoni of the "Pietra" Group by Dante 1946 J.H. Clarke, Witham, Essex Translation of four pietra canzoni (translates from the Italian as: "stone songs") by Dante Alighieri
The "Comedy" of Dante Alighieri the Florentine. Cantica I: Hell 1949 Penguin, Harmondsworth Translation of cantica 1 of Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
The "Comedy" of Dante Alighieri the Florentine. Cantica II: Purgatory 1955 Penguin, Harmondsworth With Barbara Reynolds; translation of cantica 2 of Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
The Song of Roland 1957 Penguin, Harmondsworth Translation of The Song of Roland
The "Comedy" of Dante Alighieri the Florentine. Cantica III: Paradise 1962 Penguin, Harmondsworth With Barbara Reynolds; translation of cantica 3 of Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

Scripts and plays

Scripts and plays by Sayers
Title[4][10][11] Location of first performance
London, unless otherwise stated
Date of first performance Notes
The Silent Passenger See note 1935 Screenplay; with Basil Mason; adapted from Sayers's unpublished short story of the same title[b]
Busman's Honeymoon: A Detective Comedy in Three Acts Comedy Theatre 16 December 1936 With Muriel St. Clare Byrne
The Zeal of Thy House Canterbury Festival 29 March 1938 Four scenes
He That Should Come: A Nativity Play in One Act See note 25 December 1938 Radio play, first broadcast on the BBC
The Devil to Pay: Being the Famous History of John Faustus, the Conjurer of Wittenberg in Germany: How He Sold His Immortal Soul to the Enemy of Mankind, and Was Served Twenty- four Years by Mephistopheles, and Obtained Helen of Troy to His Paramour, With Many Other Marvels; and How God Dealt With Him at the Last Canterbury Festival 10 June 1939
Love All Torch Theatre 10 April 1940
The Golden Cockerel See note 27 December 1941 Radio play; first broadcast on the BBC. Adapted from the story of the same title by Alexander Pushkin
The Man Born to Be King: A Play-Cycle on the Life of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ See note December 1941 Twelve-episode radio series; first broadcast on the BBC between December 1941 and October 1942
The Just Vengeance The Lichfield Festival 15 June 1946
Where Do We Go From Here? See note 1948 With members of the Detection Club. Radio play, first broadcast for the Mystery Playhouse series on the BBC
The Emperor Constantine: A Chronicle Playhouse Theatre, Colchester 3 July 1951

Miscellany

Sayers wrote numerous essays, poems and stories which appeared in several publications, including Time and Tide, The Times Literary Supplement, Atlantic Monthly, Punch, The Spectator and the Westminster Gazette; in the last of these she was the author of a poem under the pseudonym H.P. Rallentando. She also wrote several book reviews for The Sunday Times.[4]

Other works by Sayers
Title[4][10][15] Year Publisher Notes
Papers Relating to the Family of Wimsey 1936 Privately printed As Matthew Wimsey; co-written with others
An Account of Lord Mortimer Wimsey, the Hermit of the Wash 1937 Privately printed
The Wimsey Papers 24 November 1939 – 26 January 1940 Published in serial form in The Spectator
The Wimsey Family: A Fragmentary History Compiled from Correspondence With Dorothy L. Sayers 1977 Harper Compiled by C.W. Scott-Giles

Non fiction

Sayers's non fictional work
Title[4][10][15] Year of first publication First edition publisher
(London, unless otherwise stated)
Notes
The Greatest Drama Ever Staged 1938 Hodder & Stoughton Essays; contains "The Greatest Drama Ever Staged" and "The Triumph of Easter", both of which were published in The Sunday Times, April 1938
Strong Meat 1939 Hodder & Stoughton Essays
Begin Here: A War-Time Essay 1940 Gollancz Essays
Creed or Chaos? and Other Essays in Popular Theology 1940 Hodder & Stoughton Essays
The Mind of the Maker 1941 Methuen Essays
The Mysterious English 1941 Macmillan
Why Work? 1942 Methuen Subtitle: An Address Delivered at Eastbourne, April 23rd, 1942
The Other Six Deadly Sins 1943 Methuen Subtitle: An Address Given to the Public Morality Council at Caxton Hall, Westminster, on October 23rd, 1941
Even the Parrot: Exemplary Conversations for Enlightened Children 1944 Methuen
Making Sense of the Universe 1946 St. Anne's Church House Subtitle: An Address Given at the Kingsway Hall on Ash Wednesday, March 6, 1946
Unpopular Opinions 1946 Gollancz Essays
The Lost Tools of Learning 1948 Methuen
The Days of Christ's Coming 1953 Hamish Hamilton
Introductory Papers on Dante 1954 Methuen Criticism
The Story of Easter 1955 Hamish Hamilton
The Story of Noah's Ark 1956 Hamish Hamilton
Further Papers on Dante 1957 Methuen Criticism
The Great Mystery of Life Hereafter 1957 Hodder & Stoughton Essays; contributor, with others
The Poetry of Search and the Poetry of Statement, and Other Posthumous Essays on Literature, Religion, and Language 1963 Gollancz Essays
Christian Letters to a Post-Christian World: A Selection of Essays 1969 Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI Essays; selected and introduced by Roderick Jellema
Are Women Human? 1971 Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI Essays
A Matter of Eternity: Selections From the Writings of Dorothy L. Sayers 1973 Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI Essays
Wilkie Collins: A Critical and Biographical Study 1977 Friends of the University of Toledo Library, Toledo, OH
Spiritual Writings 1993 Cowley, Cambridge, MA

Letters

Sayers's letter collections
Title[4][9][15] Year Publisher Notes
The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers: 1899–1936: The Making of a Detective Novelist 1995 Hodder & Stoughton
The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers: 1937–1943, From Novelist to Playwright 1998 The Dorothy L Sayers Society
The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers: 1944–1950, A Noble Daring 1999 The Dorothy L Sayers Society
The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers: 1951–1957, In the Midst of Life 2000 The Dorothy L Sayers Society
The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers: Child and Woman of Her Time 2002 The Dorothy L Sayers Society A supplement to the letters

See also

Notes and references

Notes

  1. ^ One of Sayers's contributions while working at the agency was the slogan "My goodness, my Guinness!"[1]
  2. ^ Produced by Phoenix Films in 1935.[4]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Kenney 2004.
  2. ^ a b Stock 1990, pp. 289–90.
  3. ^ Howard 2004, p. 11.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Dorothy L(eigh) Sayers". Contemporary Authors. Gale. Retrieved 21 May 2015.  (subscription required)
  5. ^ Howard 2004, p. 17.
  6. ^ Gunn 1998, pp. 4–6.
  7. ^ a b c Benstock 1985, p. 268.
  8. ^ Stock 1990, p. 287.
  9. ^ a b c d Howard 2004, pp. 18–19.
  10. ^ a b c d e Benstock 1985, pp. 254–56.
  11. ^ a b c Gunn 1998, pp. 12–13.
  12. ^ "The Floating Admiral". British Library Catalogue. London: British Library. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  13. ^ "Ask a Policeman". British Library Catalogue. London: British Library. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  14. ^ "Six against the Yard". British Library Catalogue. London: British Library. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Stock 1990, pp. 285–88.

Sources

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