After Dorothy L. Sayers became famous for her fictional sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey, she began investigating the mysteries of Anglo-Catholic Christianity, writing plays for both stage and radio. However, because her modernist contemporaries disdained both best-sellers and religious fiction, Sayers has been largely overlooked by the academy. Writing Performances is the first work to position Sayers' diverse writings within the critical climate of high modernism. Employing exuberant illustrations from Sayers' detective fiction to make theoretical issues accessible, the book employs insights from performance theory to argue that Sayers, though a popularizer, presciently anticipated the postmodern ironizing of Enlightenment rationality and scientific objectivity.
CRYSTAL DOWNING is Associate Professor of English and Film Studies, Messiah College, Pennsylvania, USA.