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The Mind of the Maker

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  1,129 ratings  ·  88 reviews

This classic, with a new introduction by Madeleine L'Engle, is by turns an entrancing mediation on language; a piercing commentary on the nature of art and why so much of what we read, hear, and see falls short; and a brilliant examination of the fundamental tenets of Christianity. The Mind of the Maker will be relished by those already in love with Dorothy L. Sayers and t

Hardcover, 229 pages
Published February 4th 1971 by Praeger (first published January 1st 1941)
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What is godlike in ourselves? Sayers conveys her thoughts as to how humans are made "in the image of God." She explains that the first thing we are told about God (through His Word) is that "God created...." and artists also "create..." We are most like our God when we exhibit his love and our work in a “finite” yet glorious way while we create something -- whether it is a story, a song, a painting, a sculpture, a photo, or dance.

Her theory that humans are each a trinity unto ourselves when we a
Abigail Hartman
I don't have a proper Goodreads bookshelf for this: it's an exposition of the Trinity, but it's also just what the title says - a look into the workings of the creative, or artistic, mind. Sayers plainly states the doctrine of the Trinity and then proceeds to show how the mind of a human creator follows the same pattern of the Godhead: Father-Idea, Son-Energy, and Spirit-Power. She defends an admittedly cloudy doctrine in clear terms, traces the workings of the human mind in creation, and delive ...more
fantastic, this is one of those books that has shifted my way of seeing God work and the world. Sayers helped to see the heresies that my personality predisposes me to believe. that is a great gift.
Sep 14, 2009 Jonathan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers and readers
Shelves: theology, wry-ting
Well Mrs. Sayers... you sound like Lewis and Chesterton. That's a very good and, at times, a somewhat frustrating characteristic.

She writes on art, man, and God. Sayers has much good to say and said it well, but her conception of God's sovereingty and the free will of men seems haphazard.

The most enjoyable chapter in this book was entitled "Scalene Trinities." This was an elucidation of her theory for literary criticism as well as a defense of the Trinitarian doctrine in Christianity. If you ar
Skylar Burris
The Mind of the Maker is an unusual amalgam of theology and commentary on writing and art. As a Christian and a writer, I assumed I would enjoy this book. It is, in part, an attempt to elucidate the nature of God (and many of the questions that accompany belief in God, such as questions about evil, free will, and sin) by way of metaphorical comparison to the act of writing. And although it did at times succeed in elucidating matters (there was an aha! moment or two--yes, that makes it make more ...more
Oh, Dorothy L. Sayers, your erudition and classic university training are showing. And showing me up! I've been plugging away at The Mind of the Maker for four days--which is rather a long time for me for a book just over 200 pages long. But I found this one to be very slow going and way over my head, too. I usually find Sayers to be easy to understand, even when her classic university training is showing and she throws in Latin and French for good measure. I just can't grasp this one--the words ...more
Anne Hamilton
I loved the introduction by Madeleine L'Engle, in part because it clarified for me where she got the idea of 'serving the work' which is such a prominent aspect of Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. In fact, the concept is much more easy to understand here with just a few sentences than the fuller explanation elsewhere. Only going to prove that sometimes, less really is more.

For some reason I struggled with the rest of the book. Although I read it, nothing leaped out at me and somet
William Korn
Dorothy Sayers is a wonderful author. Her mysteries are without peer. Her translation of Dante's Inferno is masterful. Her dramatization of the Gospels in The Man Born to Be King is both inspiring and very perceptive. However, as a philosopher she leaves a lot to be desired.

In this book, Sayers attempts to prove that the creative power of an Artist is essentially the same as the creative power of God, as revealed in the Christian creeds. She claims that her own religious views have no bearing on
Aug 31, 2014 Rebecca rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Andrea Nolan
This is not the kind of book I usually read, and while I'm only giving it three stars, I think some of my friends who enjoy philosophy and theology might give it more. Sayers, a friend and contemporary of C.S. Lewis, introduces a fascinating metaphor for the process of creativity, using the concept of the Trinity to explain how the Idea, Energy and Power of creativity collaborate in an artist's mind/work much like the traditional ideas of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work together in the act of ...more
Edoardo Albert
A while back, when taking a theology MA, a group of we students were put together in a group and left, by our tutor, with the instruction to talk about the Trinity. Now, this wasn't one of those assemblages where fear of talking leads to agonised glances around to see if someone else will be brave enough to start things rolling - no, we were a voluble group, with most of us (not least me) quite convinced that what we had to say was quite as valuable as our tutor (so what if he had about four dif ...more
Peter Floriani
This is an important book on the idea of being an author, written by an excellent writer, and with a view (perhaps a most theological and even mystical view) towards how the idea of "author" relates to the One Author, that is, to the Most Holy Trinity. It is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand more of what writing is all about, whether one writes shopping lists, office memos, scientific journals, poems, reference works, non-fiction, and especially fiction. It must be read in as ...more
Heather Harding
I loved this new way to think about the creating work of the Trinity. "For every work [or act] of creation is threefold, an earthly trinity to match the heavenly. First, [not in time, but merely in order of enumeration] there is the Creative Idea, passionless, timeless, beholding the whole work complete at once, the end in the beginning: and this is the image of the Father. Second, there is the Creative Energy [or Activity] begotten of that idea, working in time from the beginning to the end, wi ...more
This happens to be one of my favorite books. I reread it often and have kind of a semi-tradition of starting it on Trinity Sunday. I find Sayers' analogies helpful in thinking both about theology and about writing.
David Withun
Among the noise of the various competing postmodernist approaches to literary theory, from neo-Marxism to feminism to deconstructionism, it often seems that the traditional Christian worldview and its accompanying approach to the production, interpretation, and understanding of literature have been buried in the morass. What Sayers gives us in this book, however, is a resurrected Christian literary theory. While the Christian worldview has certainly been eclipsed since the Renaissance, Sayers pr ...more
Stephen Roach
No one else I've read has drawn such strong and comprehensible parallels between the creative process and the nature of God.
Rebekah Choat
First, the author makes it clear that this book is neither a work of apologetics nor an expression of her personal religious beliefs, but a commentary on particular statements contained in Christian creeds. The specific statements she addresses are those regarding the nature of God, especially in His capacity as Creator. Her intention is to show how these characteristics attributed to God are applicable to the human mind engaged in imaginative creation as well.
Sayers acknowledges that many peopl
The book on writing and artistic creation that C.S. Lewis never wrote (well, sort of - Lewis and Sayers actually disagreed quite a bit on the role of the artist in society - one can find some of the letters they exchanged on the subject in the collections of Sayers' correspondence). Like her friend Lewis, Sayers is heavily indebted to Platonic/Augustinian concepts as she unpacks the creative process (with reference to writing literature and plays, primarily) in terms of "Idea" (authorial imagina ...more
[The following review is a "book summary" written for a class. The style employed is required in the syllabus. If you have suggestions on how to improve the review please let me know as this is not due until May of 2011.]

In The Mind of the Maker novelist, playwright, and theologian, Dorothy Sayers discusses the doctrine of trinity by comparing God’s creativity to the human creative process. By unfolding how human beings (specifically writers, since that was her own craft) create works of art – f
This book instilled in me the inspiring ability to see myself as a "subcreator." It gave a divine purpose for the stories I write, as well as suggesting a certain direction.

For example, in her essay, "Problem Picture," Ms. Sayers dissects her Peter Wimsey novel Gaudy Night. The book, according to the author, sets out three problems: The first is the mystery presented in the book. That problem is solved completely. By the end of the book we know who commited the crime, why, etc.

The second problem
Tough book to rate. I’ve read several of Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, but this was my first attempt to read her nonfiction. At times I found it dry and difficult—in fact, I almost threw in the towel a few times. But surprisingly, it had me engaged more often than not, in spite of the number of times I caught myself rereading not just sentences but entire paragraphs to glean the points of her argument. And that’s exactly how this book reads—as an argument. Dorothy Sayers had one fierce in ...more
It's some time since I last read The Mind of the Maker - I've read it at least twice, and will probably read it again - but it sticks in my mind as one of the books I need to keep my copy of! I like Sayers at the best of times, but this is probably her best book, not just because it gives such an interesting view of the difficult doctrine of the Trinity, but because it connects up God's creativity with human creativity.

I'll have to read it again soon...!
In this work, Sayers delves into the inner workings of the creative process, approaching it from psychological, philosophical, and theological grounds. Based on the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, she articulates a tripartite process to describe an artist in the midst of creation, analyzing the reasons why an artist might produce both good and bad art. The result is certainly complex and not for the faint of heart.

That said, her discussion of the act of human creation as something that reflec
so basically this is a long enumeration of the details of the analogy of God as an author/playwright. I've heard a good deal about this kind of analogy before, so I was easily distracted while listening to this book. But if you're confused/interested in the relationship between things like sovereignty of God, trinity (the relationships between the three), free will, and predestination, this is a good book to read.

As I mentioned I was easily distracted while listening to this book, so either ther
Frank Roberts
Sayers uses the metaphor of the Trinity to examine the artistic process, or, she uses the metaphor of the artistic process to explain the Trinity. Either way, it works very well. God is the ultimate artist/creator, and it is the creative impulse in Man that is after his Creator's image.

The metaphor works like this: God the Father is the Idea, the Vision, the Inspiration. The Son is the Activity: the passion and effort and the physical manifestation of the creative urge, the Vision made material
Christy Luis
I basically can't get over this book. It's what I've been waiting to hear about ever since I began writing. The Mind of the Maker addresses the striking similarities between the mind of an artist to the accepted theology of the Maker of Heaven and earth (Creator, God, etc.).
Each section is packed with analytical ideas: “The characteristic common to God and man is apparently…the desire and the ability to make things” (17). I never would have thought that profound thought right there. Sayers r
Jon Touchstone
I am pretty sure this is a good book, but I read it in a hurry when I was tired. Sooo...this is due for a re-read. There is a lot of meat here that I wasn't able to unpack in my initial cursory reading.
Sayers draws an analogy between the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and the process of artistic creation. That is each operson of the Trinity is analgous to different aspects of creating a work of art. She chooses the art of writing simply because that is the form of art she is most familiar wi
Jana L.
A cogent, lucid, beautiful examination of the Christian tenet "God the Creator," using the human artist's mindset, work, and intention as instructive analogies or parallels. Sayers at times lets the work become a bit of a love letter or panegyric to the artist, but I found this to be wildly motivating and illuminating even while smiling and shaking my head a bit (and I consider myself an amateur writer).

The only major philosophical problem I had with the book (admittedly theological rather than
In this witty, well-argued case for the Trinity, the famous Christian detective novelist compares God's relationship to the world with an artist's relation to his work. The book is a collection of a number of loosely connected essays, but each one is well-written and thought-provoking.
A little bit of overlap with Letters to a Diminished Church (two essays, I believe) but still worth reading for the wonderful use of extended literary analogy as a way to understand tough theological concepts (namely, the triune godhead). Also, does ALL of her prose contain spoilers for Gaudy Night??!
Jeremy Rios
An interesting premise (that the creative act in an author/artist is trinitarian in origin and outworking) that doesn't quite work either as theology or apologetic for artists. Certainly there were some clever and insightful moments, the overall impression was one of a missed target.
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The Anglican group is going to discuss this 5 14 Jun 25, 2013 05:27AM  
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Dorothy Leigh Sayers (Oxford, 13 June 1893 – Witham, 17 December 1957) was a renowned British author, translator, student of classical and modern languages, and Christian humanist.

Dorothy L. Sayers is best known for her mysteries, a series of novels and short stories set between World War I and World War II that feature English aristocrat and amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. However, Sayers herse
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“When a job is undertaken from necessity, or from a grim sense of disagreeable duty, the worker is self-consciously aware of the toils and pains he undergoes...But when the job is a labor of love, the sacrifices will present themselves to the worker--strange as it may seem--in the guise of enjoyment. Moralists, looking on at this, will always judge that the former kind of sacrifice is more admirable than the later, because the moralist, whatever he may pretend, has far more respect for pride than for love...I do not mean that there is no nobility in doing unpleasant things from a sense of duty, but only that there is more nobility in doing them gladly out of sheer love of the job.” 15 likes
“To complain that man measures God by his own experience is a waste of time; man measures everything by his own experience; he has no other yardstick.” 13 likes
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