Subversive

Christ, Culture, and the Shocking Dorothy L. Sayers

Subversive

Christ, Culture, and the Shocking Dorothy L. Sayers

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Available November 10, 2020

Known for her bestselling detective novels, Dorothy L. Sayers lived a fascinating, groundbreaking life as a novelist, feminist, Oxford scholar, and important influence on the spiritual life of C.S. Lewis. This pioneering woman not only forged a literary career for herself but also spoke about faith and culture in revolutionary ways as she addressed the evergreen question of to what extent faith should hold on to tradition and to what extent it should evolve with a changing culture. Thanks to her unmatched wisdom, prophetic tone, and insistent strength, Dorothy Sayers is a voice that we cannot afford to ignore.

Providing a blueprint for bridge-building in contemporary, polarizing contexts, Subversive shows how Sayers used edgy, often hilarious metaphors to ignite new ways to think about Christianity, shocking people into seeing the truth of ancient doctrine in a new light. Urging readers to reassess interpretations of the Bible that impede the cause of Christ, Sayers helps twenty-first-century Christians navigate a society increasingly suspicious of evangelical vocabularies and find new ways to talk and think about faith and culture. Ultimately, she will inspire believers, on both the right and the left, to evaluate how and why their language perpetuates divisive certitude rather than the hopeful humility of faith, and will show us all a better way forward.

Endorsements

"In Subversive, Crystal Downing's language is alive and imaginative, and her vivid portrayal of Dorothy L. Sayers brings us ever closer to understanding this complicated and intelligent woman. This book is a must-read, an immersive experience, and a splendid accounting of a vibrant woman."
—Patti Callahan, New York Times bestselling novelist and author of the award-winning Becoming Mrs. Lewis
"This is the best book on Dorothy L. Sayers I have read in the last decade. It is fresh in its approach, elegant in its prose, and penetrating in its analysis and insight."
—Alister McGrath, Professor of Science and Religion, Oxford University; author of C. S. Lewis: A Life
"Dorothy L. Sayers was much more than a talented author of detective stories. She challenged Christian timidity with a bold faith, and she challenged quid-pro-quo views of religion with an emphasis on God's grace. Crystal Downing has succeeded very well in showing why the Sayers who wrote so effectively in her own time deserves to be heard in our day as well."
—Mark Noll, recipient of the National Humanities Medal, author of The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind and Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind
"By expertly weaving in examples from Dorothy L. Sayers's poetry, detective fiction, plays, essays, lectures, and letters, Crystal Downing provides an excellent introduction to Sayers for those who are unfamiliar with her work, as well as an intriguing argument with surprising connections that will engage readers who know Sayers well."
—Christine A. Colón, Professor of English, Wheaton College; author of Writing for the Masses: Dorothy L. Sayers and the Victorian Literary Tradition and Choosing Community: Action, Faith, and Joy in the Works of Dorothy L. Sayers
"Crystal Downing's lively and entertaining book explores how Dorothy L. Sayers obliged her readers and listeners to face up to all the basic doctrines and implications of the Christian faith, including the ones they would have preferred to ignore. She also shows, somewhat provocatively, how Sayers' approach is still entirely relevant, and even necessary, today."
—Suzanne Bray, Professor of English Studies, Lille Catholic University, France, editor of Dorothy L. Sayers: The Christ of the Creeds and Other Broadcast Messages to the British People during World War II

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • ISBN 9781506462752
  • Format Hardcover
  • Dimensions 6.25 x 9.25
  • Pages 200
  • Publication Date November 10, 2020
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