C.S. Lewis Received a Fan Letter from Dorothy L. Sayers

Look for “Did you know” articles on NarniaWeb on the first of every month.

Although C.S. Lewis’ friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien and the other Inklings is generally well known, he also had a strong friendship with famous mystery author Dorothy L. Sayers.

In a letter to the editor of Encounter in 1963, Lewis said “[Sayers] was the first person of importance whoever wrote me a fan letter.”

Sayers was known for a variety of things, including detective novels, a translation of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, and plays for both stage and radio.

According to Gina Dalfonzo’s Dorothy and Jack: The Transforming Friendship of Dorothy L. Sayers and C.S. Lewis, the first time Sayers wrote to Lewis was in 1942, although she had read his works before then.

. . . we can’t point to a precise moment when Dorothy first became aware of Jack’s work, or he of hers. All we know for sure is that their names started showing up in each other’s writings in 1941. In letters to various correspondents, Dorothy recommends The Problem of Pain and occasionally also The Allegory of Love. More than that, she quotes from both of these books in her own The Mind of the Maker.

“Dorothy and Jack” by Gina Dalfonzo

11 Responses

  1. Col Klink says:

    Since I’m not much interested in detective stories, I’m not familiar with most of her oeuvre. (Though one of my favorite TV shows, Monk, is a detective show, so it’s not like I hate the genre or anything.) But I do have the script for the radio program, The Man Born to be King by Dorothy L. Sayers. It’s great. I highly recommend it.

    • Andy Harrelson says:

      Might have to check out her mystery novels too, they sound quite intriguing!

    • Dot says:

      I’ve been meaning to track down a copy of The Man Born to be King. Everything I’ve read about it sounds amazing, and it was very controversial when it aired.

  2. Varnafindë says:

    From Sayer’s mystery novel from 1930, “Strong Poison”:
    “Bunter thanked him gravely for his good opinion, and proffered a box of that equally nauseating mess called Turkish Delight, which not only gluts the palate and glues the teeth, but also smothers the consumer in a floury cloud of white sugar.”

    Eventually some inspiration for Lewis, I wonder?

  3. Good Bless Dorothy L. Sayers.

  4. Lara Croft. says:

    You know what they should do is to make the film The Silver Chair for those who have died with and during Covid-19.

  5. Alex Turner says:

    the Narnia Netflix has still been delayed thanks to this crisis.

    • Nick Dunican. says:

      you know what really should do is that if I ever had my own Narnian life.
      I’d Share it with Anne Frank and Billie Eilish together only if I ever meat them in Person.
      I would really want to have a lot of pictures of Them in my room.
      Like saying if I ever made my own Narnia movie I’d ad them to it.
      I just can’t stop thinking about them.