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Dorothy L. Sayers quotes (showing 1-30 of 382)

“Facts are like cows. If you look them in the face long enough, they generally run away.”
Dorothy L. Sayers
“Wherever you find a great man, you will find a great mother or a great wife standing behind him -- or so they used to say. It would be interesting to know how many great women have had great fathers and husbands behind them.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night
“A man once asked me ... how I managed in my books to write such natural conversation between men when they were by themselves. Was I, by any chance, a member of a large, mixed family with a lot of male friends? I replied that, on the contrary, I was an only child and had practically never seen or spoken to any men of my own age till I was about twenty-five. "Well," said the man, "I shouldn't have expected a woman (meaning me) to have been able to make it so convincing." I replied that I had coped with this difficult problem by making my men talk, as far as possible, like ordinary human beings. This aspect of the matter seemed to surprise the other speaker; he said no more, but took it away to chew it over. One of these days it may quite likely occur to him that women, as well as men, when left to themselves, talk very much like human beings also.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society
“Books... are like lobster shells, we surround ourselves with 'em, then we grow out of 'em and leave 'em behind, as evidence of our earlier stages of development.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club
“Do you find it easy to get drunk on words?"

"So easy that, to tell you the truth, I am seldom perfectly sober.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night
“Some people's blameless lives are to blame for a good deal.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night
“In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair...the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.”
Dorothy L. Sayers
“In reaction against the age-old slogan, "woman is the weaker vessel," or the still more offensive, "woman is a divine creature," we have, I think, allowed ourselves to drift into asserting that "a woman is as good as a man," without always pausing to think what exactly we mean by that. What, I feel, we ought to mean is something so obvious that it is apt to escape attention altogether, viz: (...) that a woman is just as much an ordinary human being as a man, with the same individual preferences, and with just as much right to the tastes and preferences of an individual. What is repugnant to every human being is to be reckoned always as a member of a class and not as an individual person.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society
“A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night
“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 occrurred 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.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society
“The rule seemed to be that a great woman must either die unwed ... or find a still greater man to marry her. ... The great man, on the other hand, could marry where he liked, not being restricted to great women; indeed, it was often found sweet and commendable in him to choose a woman of no sort of greatness at all.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night
“What are you to do with the people who are cursed with both hearts and brains?”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night
“Time and trouble will tame an advanced young woman, but an advanced old woman is uncontrollable by any earthly force.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Clouds of Witness
“In fact, there is perhaps only one human being in a thousand who is passionately interested in his job for the job's sake. The difference is that if that one person in a thousand is a man, we say, simply, that he is passionately keen on his job; if she is a woman, we say she is a freak.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society
“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.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
“Why do you want a letter from me? Why don't you take the trouble to find out for yourselves what Christianity is? 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?
You would be ashamed to know as little about internal combustion as you know about Christian beliefs.
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 or Christian doctrines. Don't bother. Go away and do some work and let me get on with mine.”
Dorothy L. Sayers
“How fleeting are all human passions compared with the massive continuity of ducks.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night
“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.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society
“Do you know how to pick a lock?"
"Not in the least, I'm afraid."
"I often wonder what we go to school for," said Wimsey.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
“We are much too much inclined in these days to divide people into permanent categories, forgetting that a category only exists for its special purpose and must be forgotten as soon as that purpose is served.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society
“Even idiots ocasionally speak the truth accidentally.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Whose Body?
“For God's sake, let's take the word 'possess' and put a brick round its neck and drown it ... We can't possess one another. We can only give and hazard all we have.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Busman's Honeymoon
“Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man - there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronised; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as "The women, God help us!" or "The ladies, God bless them!"; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious. There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything "funny" about woman's nature.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society
“The great advantage about telling the truth is that nobody ever believes it.”
Dorothy L. Sayers
“If it ever occurs to people to value the honour of the mind equally with the honour of the body, we shall get a social revolution of a quite unparalleled sort.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night
“[W]hen I see men callously and cheerfully denying women the full use of their bodies, while insisting with sobs and howls on the satisfaction of their own, I simply can't find it heroic, or kind, or anything but pretty rotten and feeble.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers. Vol. 1, 1899-1936: The Making of a Detective Novelist
“Still, it doesn't do to murder people, no matter how offensive they may be.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Five Red Herrings
“I imagine you come across a number of people who are disconcerted by the difference between what you do feel and what they fancy you ought to feel. It is fatal to pay the smallest attention to them.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night
“A marriage of two independent and equally irritable intelligences seems to me reckless to the point of insanity.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night
“We've got to laugh or break our hearts in this damnable world.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Busman's Honeymoon

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