The seven deadly sins in the work of Dorothy L. Sayers

Brown, Janice (1993) The seven deadly sins in the work of Dorothy L. Sayers. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis examines all of the major works of Dorothy L. Sayers in the light of the religious concept of the Seven Deadly Sins, which has been a basic part of Christian theology since the Middle Ages. It is, essentially, a structured way of describing the various facets of the sinful nature which all men share. -- After tracing the historical roots of the concept, and examining Sayers’ personal familiarity with it, the thesis proceeds to review her work chronologically, beginning with her early poetry; moving through her twelve major works of fiction; and ending with the dramas, essays, and lectures written in the last years of her life. -- Sayers’ use of the Seven Deadly Sins in her earlier work, particularly her fiction, is not conscious or deliberate. Instead the concept provides part of the background for her characterization which is based on a Christian view of human nature as a "fallen" nature. The survey of her detective writing reveals that she considered the worst Sins to be the spiritual, or cold-hearted ones, particularly Pride (the root of all the others), and Envy. -- In the dramatic and discursive works of her later years she is more direct and didactic in her discussion of Sin. The Sin of Sloth becomes a major theme in this period, yet her overall perception of the Seven Deadly Sins is consistent throughout her entire career. -- The impact of Dorothy L. Sayers' work, viewed as a whole, is a powerful one. She was a gifted artist who worked in many genres and addressed many issues, but her achievement is not only a function of her creative skill and her variety and range. What she consistently communicates about Sin - the basic problem of human existence - provides a core of content which has lasting value. It evokes, as she believed artistic work should, a spiritual "response in the lively soul" (The Zeal of Thy House 103).

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5466
Item ID: 5466
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 350-362.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1993
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Sayers, Dorothy L. (Dorothy Leigh), 1893-1957--Criticism and interpretation; Deadly sins

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