Time and trouble will tame an advanced young woman, but an advanced old woman is uncontrollable by any earthly force.
Born in the Headmaster’s House at Christ Church College, Oxford, it might come as no surprise that Dorothy L Sayers’ novels featured an academic literary twist. Featuring the high-born Lord Peter Wimsey, a gentleman-detective, her novels were a blend of traditional detective stories and social musings on a number of topics.
Growing up in an educated environment - learning latin from the age of six - Dorothy was one of the first women to be awarded a degree from Oxford University and throughout her life she strode on new ground. Her books have been cited as ‘the first feminist detective novels’, and her work not only as an author, but a literary scholar and translator, is still being studied and analysed to this day.
Although her detective stories were her bread and butter, she considered her finest work to be her translation of The Divine Comedy, the epic allegorical poem by Dante. A devout christian for her entire life, she included a cast array of notes and theological musings at the end of each canto, and her effort is still in print today. She was good friends with other Oxford based authors and academics, including CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, who both read and enjoyed her work. Dorothy died after a sudden heart failure while working on another Dante translation, but her legacy as a pioneer in multiple fields is still appreciated today.