Sayers on the English character

Posted by Tory Historian Friday, October 08, 2010

Tory Historian has been reading a good deal of Dorothy L. Sayers's works, including the detective stories as well as the various essays. More on that lady and her writings at another time. On the whole, her political writings are the weakest of all but this paragraph in the wartime essay, The Gulf Stream and the Channel published in the collection Unpopular Opinions, made TH smile:

All British institutions have an air of improvisation; and seem allergic to long-term planning.Indeed, what else can you expect in a country where it is impossible to predict, from one hour to another, whether it will be hot or cold, wet or dry, windy or still - where every arrangement for an outdoor sport of public function may have to be altered at the last minute owing to uncontrollable causes? "Rain stopped play", "If wet, in the Parish Hall", "Weather permitting" - such phrases punctuate the whole rhythm of our communal life, and compel a general attitude to things which is at once sceptical, stoical, speculative and flexible in the last degree.
It is always dangerous to draw conclusions about national character, particularly of a nation that is described cheerfully as "mongrel" by Miss Sayers, from the weather. But she does and, undoubtedly, there are many solemn critics out there who find it difficult to come to terms with such trivial notions. Not Tory Historian, though.


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