Through the Screen: Dorothy L. Sayers's Journey into New Worlds


  • Crystal Downing Marion E. Wade Center


Crystal Downing examines Dorothy L. Sayers’s overlooked engagement with cinema, quoting from unpublished letters archived at the Marion E. Wade Center to make her case.  Sayers’s unpublished essay “The Literary History of Journeys to the Other World” guides Crystal’s argument that a fascination with other worlds, along with the screenwriting fiasco with Phoenix Films, contributed to Sayers's passionate insistence on “the integrity of the work” as she transformed from a detective novelist to an influential Christian playwright.

Author Biography

Crystal Downing, Marion E. Wade Center

Crystal Downing (Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara) is the Co-Director of the Marion E. Wade Center and co-holder of the Marion E. Wade Chair of Christian Thought at Wheaton College, IL: a position she shares with her husband, David C. Downing. She previously served as Distinguished Professor of English and Film Studies at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. Crystal is the author of several books on the relationship between faith and culture, such as Salvation from Cinema: The Medium Is the Message (Routledge, 2016) and Writing Performances: The Stages of Dorothy L. Sayers (Palgrave, 2004). Crystal has published nearly eighty essays on topics ranging from the Amish to Jane Austen, including essays in VII such as “The Orthodoxology of Dorothy L. Sayers” in Volume 22 (2005) and a review essay on “Feminist Nay-Sayers: Are Women Human?” in Volume 24 (2007).