Wednesday, September 24, 2014

retraction, Retraction, RETRACTION!!

I'm retracting my previous post on Dorothy Sayers and her position on birth control because upon further correction and investigation -- I was completely wrong! Sayers in fact, did not stand against birth control after ending her relationship with the man she loved. They did end their relationship because they did not agree on having children, but Sayers would go on to use birth control during an affair with a married man. Making my previous idea, that it was laudable of Sayers to not use birth control even though she fell to other sins, completely wrong and off target.

Funnily enough Sayers' position on birth control isn't a popular point of discussion on her official fan pages, her wikipedia page, or a previous biography I had read on her life. I was pointed into the direction of this great article from Touchstone Magazine from May, 2000 that goes into depth about her life according to her own letters. Here's the paragraph that is pertinent to Dorothy Sayers and her practice of birth control:

But Sayers had good reason to feel emotionally febrile at this time. She was very vulnerable after parting with Cournos and soon became friendly with a car salesman and motor engineer, Bill White, who (perhaps unbeknownst to Sayers) was married. Neither wanted a permanent relationship, and they soon began an affair in which they used contraception. Sayers nonetheless became pregnant in 1923. As Reynolds reveals for the first time, White’s wife came to her aid, helping Sayers to conceal her pregnancy from her family and co-workers and even arranging for her brother to (unwittingly) oversee the delivery. Sayers gave birth to a son, John Anthony, on January 3, 1924, and entrusted him to her cousin, Ivy Shrimpton (who fostered children for a living), swearing her to secrecy and pledging financial support.

Read more:

Since this in-depth article is very scholarly and based upon her own letters I'm going to take this for fact and not the less informed persons on the podcast, her fan pages, and the biography about her life.

So alongside my official post retraction, so too goes my personal admiration for her stance on this very unpopular issue both in her day and ours. I'm still intrigued by her theological thought, she was really a great mind who was also a respected friend of C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton. I'm going to one day trudge through her letters to gain a bit more insight into her complicated life. But I will always go back to re-read and enjoy again and again her wonderful novels that I highly recommend to everyone!

To remove any previous confusion on this issue I've deleted my previous post because I'd hate for any thing I've written to add to the pile of confusion that is the internet. But I apologize for not looking into this in a deeper fashion, it really is a topic that isn't discussed in many places, which is understandable.

Mea culpa.

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  1. Hi Christy. I didn't read your original post, so I don't know exactly what you said her position was. But I wouldn't say that paragraph goes to show she was "for" contraception. I doubt she was "for" extramarital affairs either. . . . And also weren't most of Sayers writings later in her life? But again, I don't know what you said in your first post so maybe I'm missing the mark here. In any case, very interesting! She's one of my favorites too.

  2. Aw, man! Bummer. Good for you for publishing this, though. She was human. We can admire her gifts and pray for her soul, and that's about the extent of it,isn't it?

  3. please let us know of your future findings!


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