Gaudy Night,  Show Notes

Episode 5: Gaudy Night, Ch. 4-7

This week on The Literary Life, Angelina and Cindy discuss the next few chapters of Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers. In this episode, Angelina explores the question of why all the epigraphs opening each chapter are from Renaissance writers. Aside from recapping plot points, Cindy and Angelina also chat about the following topics: the unnatural nature of the crime and of the cloistered atmosphere; the gothic themes present in this novel; Harriet’s lack of self-awareness; further contemplations on love and marriage.

Upcoming Show Schedule:

Episode 6 (May 21): The Literary Life of …. Surprise Guest
Episode 7 (May 28): Gaudy Night ch 8-15
Episode 8 (June 4): Gaudy Night ch 16-23, complete
Episode 9 (June 11): Are Women Human? by Dorothy Sayers

Listen to The Lit Life:

Lot’s Wife

by Anna Akhmatova (trans. by Richard Wilbur)

The just man followed then his angel guide
Where he strode on the black highway, hulking and bright;
But a wild grief in his wife’s bosom cried,
Look back, it is not too late for a last sight

Of the red towers of your native Sodom, the square
Where once you sang, the gardens you shall mourn,
And the tall house with empty windows where
You loved your husband and your babes were born.

She turned, and looking on the bitter view
Her eyes were welded shut by mortal pain;
Into transparent salt her body grew,
And her quick feet were rooted in the plain.

Who would waste tears upon her? Is she not
The least of our losses, this unhappy wife?
Yet in my heart she will not be forgot
Who, for a single glance, gave up her life.

Book List:

Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber

Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton

The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare (1967 film adaptation)

Are Women Human? by Dorothy Sayers

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  • Katie

    I found the explanation of the themes of Renaissance poetry really helpful, and it made more sense of the John Donne poetry I studied (and loved) at school. Thank you!

  • Nathaniel Simmons

    Is there significance to some of the odd patterns of capitalization in this book? There are many examples in the William Turner quote that introduce chapter 6. Less frequently, I notice examples of odd capitalization in the actual chapters. For instance, in chapter 6, the 4th paragraph, “It’s disquieting to reflect that one’s dreams never symbolize one’s real wishes, but always something Much Worse.”

    I feel like there must be something there that I am missing.

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