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Dorothy L.Sayers: A Careless Rage for Life
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Dorothy L.Sayers: A Careless Rage for Life

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  98 ratings  ·  26 reviews
This biography of the novelist Dorothy Leigh Sayers - the creator of Lord Peter Wimsey and the bestselling author of a dozen detective novels - brings out the spiritual pilgrimage and struggle at the heart of Sayers' life story. The author, who draws on thousands of letters Sayers wrote, reveals her to be a complex woman. Sayers was a very private person who even hid the e ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 30th 1992 by Lion Books (first published 1992)
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3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  98 ratings  ·  26 reviews


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Deena
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
I'm a bit puzzled about what to write about this book. It definitely wasn't what I was hoping for, and was therefore rather disappointing. Intrinsically, however, it still wasn't great. There are a LOT of generalizations that are unexplained (about things DLS said or did or felt), and while it's great that Mr. Coomes read so very much of DLS's correspondence as part of his research, it would have been nice if he'd synthesized some of it rather than quoting from the letters in pages-long chunks.

I
...more
Surreysmum
May 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, biography, 2011, writers
This is the third, last, and most recent of the three biographies of Dorothy Sayers I acquired to read in order to have a solid framework in which to enjoy perusal of her letters. First published in 1992, it's more concise and more sympathetic than Brabazon's opus (Coomes calls Brabazon "magisterial", which I think is wonderfully apt, though you have to think about it a bit). Things I enjoyed about this biography: lengthy but highly appropriate quotations from Sayers' own writings; nice little p ...more
Helen Mallon
Nov 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
First, I hate the star system. Would I rate my children by giving them stars? Sheesh.

Okay. I read this book because I found it while cleaning out my mother's apartment (talk about books!) (yes, she's fine. She has moved to a smaller place)and inside the dust jacket I read that Sayers was "terrified of emotion." Emotion and the dance of freeze-thaw that people do with it is my writing obsession. I had to read it.

Since I spent my childhood sneaking around in my mother's diaries looking for a sign
...more
Laurel Hicks
I am not very fond of biographies, but I thought this a good one, perhaps because it spends quite a bit of time with Sayers's writings. I especially enjoyed the last part, her translation of Dante. She was definitely the one who taught me Dante.
Sonia Schoenfield
I absolutely love the Lord Peter Wimsey novels, but I have never known much about the author. This book really opened my eyes about her.

Part of the fun of this book was how the author wove Sayers' books and plays into the biography, because so much of her writing has autobiographical bits in it. I also loved that, even though the book was written by a man, it was read by a woman (I listened to this on hoopla), and a feminine narrator was quite fitting because so many of Sayers' letters were par
...more
Nicole Ankenmann
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Audiobook: 7h.14m.

If you want to learn more about a fictional world you fancy, begin learning more about its maker. The stories and personal details revealed in this book will likely deepen my appreciation for Dorothy L. Sayer's detective fiction, but it's far from necessary reading. Sayers is an interesting, unconventional lady with a turbulent internal life and a great number of stories to tell. I would recommend this book to other Christian writers as a contemplation of the role that our fait
...more
Rachel Menke
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018-reads
This book was given to me knowing my interest in and love for Dorothy Sayers, but I don’t think I would have chosen it on my own. This biography focuses in on Sayers’ theology and the development of that theology through her writing (both published works and letters) but it seems that the biographer’s theology comes out more clearly than Sayers. I’m not saying his interpretations are completely off but because of what he praises and what he condemns in her writing the biography comes off as far ...more
Marni
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting look into her life. Some surprises.
Janelle
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Not what I expected - this is more of a bio of all she authored, not a personal story, but so well done I still recommend it. I have never read her work, and now I will.
Courtney
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook-d
A bit of a surprising read, if only because I knew so very little about its subject at the start. I'd had the Wimsey novels recommended to me in college (especially Gaudy Night), and had read several, and considered them a pleasant way to pass an idle hour. I had no idea that Sayers herself had been such a polymath (she was fluent in several languages, and taught herself to decipher the Tuscan dialect of Dante's Divine Comedy in order to read it in its original and translate it into English), or ...more
Barb
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
A balanced & thoughtful biography. I enjoyed the many lengthy excerpts from Sayers' letters and writings. I too came to Sayers through her mysteries; my only regret with this book is that the Wimsey years are very much condensed into one small section, but, as another reviewer pointed out, this would be in line with how Sayers' life was concerned with them, one short period with a long and productive literary period of various stage and religious projects after the mysteries made Sayers much ...more
Eric
Jul 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coomes' study of Dorothy L. Sayers' life rings quite true from what I have read of her and by her. Another reviewer took issue with the quality of the sound production; other than one instance of a telephone heard quite clearly in the background, this version seemed quite good. The narration by Wanda McCaddon, with her British accent, lent a sense of authority to the storyline. Until this time around I had missed the fact that Sayers own outlook on her life's work saw her most fond of her work i ...more
Sull
Mar 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sull by: Library find.
Truly fascinating lady!! She longed for love, & had a secret as a result. She wrote mysteries that I could never read--they felt so unreadable to me, much as i tried--and religious tracts too. She finally married, her desperate wish to have a love of her own at last realized, & he turned into a drunken her tyrant. She should have divorced him, but that was a no-go for women of her time, her class & her religious ideals. And her secret didn't come out till her death. This book reinfor ...more
Frances Brody
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This warts and all account begins with the controversy surrounding Dorothy L Sayers' BBC Radio play on the life of Christ, arising from her decision to write in 'the kind of language we use nowadays.' Sayers enjoyed controversy and was not averse to deliberately creating a stir. Coomes, formerly Senior Producer in BBC Radio's Religious Department, is particularly interested in her faith and beliefs. He discusses her detective fiction, but also explores her time as an advertising copywriter; the ...more
Trish
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
This biography contains many letters that Sayers wrote and by these you can understand the title of the book - that she was moved by a careless rage for life. She did not suffer fools gladly, and yet many said she was entertaining and enjoyable company. A genius, incredibly creative and gifted in many languages she was a daunting personality. She endured much personal suffering through her own sin and that of her husband, which made her doubt her salvation. By the end of this book I felt truly s ...more
Rebecca
Jun 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
I fell in love with Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey mystery stories as a child (a sort of P.G. Wodehouse-meets-Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle-but-better). Later I discovered she was the author of a specially caustic brand of Christian-Humanistic articles and also a marvelous translation of Dante. Including as it does so many of her letters, this biography is sympathetic (in the precise meaning of the word) without undue sympathy (read sensation). As she is one of my favourite authors I am heavily biased, but ...more
Ann Hein
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting biography written by someone who has studied letters Sayers wrote and received. Of special interest to me since Sayers' letters and papers are part of the collection of the Wade Center at my alma mater, Wheaton College.
Jo Christian
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
amazing woman
Elise
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Well written biography. Coomes does a fantastic job of portraying Sayers as not only a scholar and writer, but as a woman who has faith and faults like all of us.
Christine
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a good biography with lots of great quotes. It definitely made me want to read more of Sayers, especially her non-fiction.
Jeremy
Jun 15, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting and sympathetic biography.
Grete
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Jul 27, 2011
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May 10, 2019
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