The Writing's on the Walls (Was: Re: On the subject ofWickedWomen)

Paul Andinach pandinac at
Sat May 26 01:20:54 EDT 2001

On Fri, 25 May 2001, Dorian E. Gray wrote:

> I love "Gaudy Night" and have read it several times.  Ooh!  I do
> recall a discussion about this one; it followed on, I think, from
> talk about "Tam Lin", and many people said they didn't like the way
> characters in both books littered their conversation with literary
> allusions and quotations...or at least, not that they didn't like
> it, but that they thought it would be very intimidating in real
> life.

I don't know about 'Tam Lin', but in the Wimsey books it was done
because the well-brought-up Oxford graduate in those days really did
talk that way in real life. Sayers' readers wouldn't have found it
intimidating, because most of them probably did the same. :)

Speaking for myself, I've never found it intimidating (when Wimsey
does it, anyway; haven't read 'Tam Lin') -- only slightly annoying in
'Busman's Honeymoon', because I had to read with an open French
dictionary at my elbow in order not to miss anything important.

"Hold fast to the one noble thing."

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