top of page

The Unofficial Inkling: Dorothy Sayers's Influence on C.S. Lewis's Imaginative Apologetics


To what degree should a work of imagination be credited to the mind of its creator, and to what degree, to the minds that influenced its creator? Between the years 1934 and 1949, the famous writing group, the Inklings, met weekly in Oxford, England to discuss one another’s work. The group would eventually be the source of some of the most renowned literature of their time, and would inspire significant scholarship well beyond their time. During their meeting years, prominent Inkling C.S. Lewis also began his correspondence with author Dorothy Sayers. Like the Inklings, their conversation centered around literature, writing, and belief, and their friendship grew from mutual respect for and admiration of each other’s creative ideas. Though they gained their start in imaginative fiction, both authors would expand and evolve their work over time, and Lewis and Sayers would eventually become some of the twentieth century’s most notable writers in imaginative apologetics. 

With prominently distinct religious origins and creative niches—and with no shortage of variance among their philosophical approaches and theories—one would not immediately assume the pair would come to echo and expand upon a number of the same worldviews and apologetic principles. This common resonance mutually inspired one another’s work in a way the Inklings did not. The influence the Inklings had on Lewis’s writing is well documented and undeniable. However, without crediting the influence of other colleagues and friends, such as Sayers, one risks overlooking significant ideas that contribute to his work and person.

From their correspondence, along with Sayers’s own published work, one can draw clear parallels in some of Lewis’s most popular apologetic writings, particularly Mere Christianity and Miracles. Examining these, along with themes found in Lewis’s fiction published after their initial communication, identifies ideas and addendums that can be directly attributed to his investment in Sayers’s work and friendship, and her investment in his. Additionally, looking at the ways in which Sayers and Lewis corresponded in comparison to how he engaged with the Inklings provides essential context needed to understand the nature of each party’s influence on his creative process and his character, and demonstrates the separate but equally significant impact each had on his writing. This essay aims to prove that Sayers’s work—particularly The Mind of the Maker—and her correspondence with Lewis had a fundamental impact on his imaginative apologetics, and that her influence—albeit serving a different purpose—is as prominent as that of his fellow Inklings.

An Edifying Friendship

Lewis and Sayers began their friendship, fittingly, by way of the written word, and even more fittingly, in conversation about one another’s writing. Sayers first sent a letter to Lewis in 1942 about contributing to a series that was “intended to prepare readers for post-war social and moral reconstruction.”(1) At the time, Lewis had been meeting regularly with the Inklings for nearly eight years. While he politely declined her request and suggested she write the book herself,(2) their conversation continued and their unique areas of expertise were unveiled similarly through critique, praise, friendly debate, and above all, mutual interest in the divine imagination in the realms of writing and Christian apologetics.

Lewis and Sayers corresponded regularly until Sayers’s death in 1957. They exchanged at least eighty-two letters, from what researchers can gather,(3) and during that time each published a number of books. Lewis published the second and third books in his Space Trilogy, Perelandra (1944) and That Hideous Strength (1945), as well as some of his most famous fiction—The Chronicles of Narnia (1950–1956), The Great Divorce (1945), Till We Have Faces (1956)—and apologetic works—Mere Christianity (1943), The Abolition of Man (1943), Miracles (1947), and Surprised by Joy (1955). Likewise, during their corresponding years, Sayers published The Man Born to Be King (1943), along with her essay on education, “The Lost Tools of Learning” (1947), a collection of essays entitled Unpopular Opinions (1946), her apologetic work, Creed or Chaos? (1947), and her research, Further Papers on Dante (1957). The breadth of her work spanned a great deal throughout her lifetime, but The Man Born to be King, The Mind of the Maker, and her work on Dante were the primary pieces she discussed directly with Lewis.

They never collaborated on a singular piece of work, but they often requested contributions to collections of essays and books from one another out of personal interest, or on behalf of editors. In 1945, Sayers contributed to a Festschrift upon Lewis’s request in honor of poet, theologian, and core Inkling Charles Williams after his passing, “in the form of a volume of essays by his friends.”(4) She contributed an essay entitled, “And Telling You a Story: A Note on The Divine Comedy,” amidst her Dante commentary and translation work, and was the only contributor who was not a known Inkling. In “A Panegyric for Dorothy Sayers,” Lewis says of her essay, “There you get the first impact of Dante on a mature, a scholarly, and an extremely independent mind.”(5) By mid-1946, he also asked her if she would be interested in writing a book as a part of a religious series for young people, which she ultimately declined out of personal conviction.(6)

Lewis and Sayers were both known to enjoy an intelligent debate and blunt, lively conversation—a quality many men of the time did not appreciate in a woman and a reason many believe they were such compatible friends—which appeared a great deal in their correspondence, as they pushed one another in numerous regards. However, the undercurrent of their communication was ultimately appreciation and respect for one another’s work and mind. Sayers was not shy about her love of The Screwtape Letters and The Space Trilogy. In 1945, she wrote that That Hideous Strength was “tremendously full of good things.”(7) She spoke with him about the parallels between The Great Divorce and Dante’s Divine Comedy as well.(8) Lewis also spoke well of her work in his letters, and mentioned his high regard for her ideas in various books and essays of his own. In a March 1943 letter, he congratulated Sayers on “The Other Six Deadly Sins,” the concluding essay in her collection Creed or Chaos? and said, “It is one of the few things which I find, within its limits, perfect.”(9) On May 30 that same year, Lewis also reported to Sayers that he had finished The Man Born to be King and considered it “a complete success…I shed real tears (hot ones) in places.”(10) He would even come to revisit the plays every Holy Week as a personal ritual of benevolence.(11) This is reflective of the spirit of their writing to one another, and their endorsement within their own circles, suggesting not only an openness, but a desire to be moved and influenced by each other’s ideas.

Foundational Crossroads: Lewis’s and Sayers’s Worldviews

Even with different faith backgrounds—Lewis an atheist and Sayers a self-described Anglo-Catholic and daughter of a clergyman—the pair’s personal journeys to and within Christian belief serve as a harmonious cornerstone to their friendship and arguably a key influence in their published work. Their individual discoveries on theological topics were often shared with one another, and inevitably, their deep-rooted beliefs found their way to the surface. Sayers’s focus on rationality and relevance of the Christian faith, for instance, complemented Lewis's apologetic efforts throughout the years, particularly the importance of defending the faith through reason and creativity, which he interpreted and responded to from the lens and nature of his conversion. 

Lewis’s conversion to theism, and finally, to Christianity, came by way of his friends and authors he admired. In her extensive work on the Inklings, The Company They Keep, Diana P. Glyer notes that as a teenager, Lewis had simplified religion as “primitive man simply invented religion in a misguided attempt to make sense of the dangers he saw in the natural world. But as the years went by, Lewis found it increasingly difficult to remain an atheist, in part because he kept meeting intelligent, articulate men who turned out to be Christians.”(12) Lewis was also faced with the reality that many of his favorite authors were Christians as well,(13) and eventually, “on 19 September 1931, [Hugo] Dyson, [J.R.R.] Tolkien, and Lewis enjoyed dinner together, then went for a walk and talked late into the night. Lewis was confronted about his old anti-Christian biases and was encouraged to consider Christianity as a true myth.”(14) Later, in a letter to Dom Bede Griffiths, Lewis referenced that conversation stating, “Dyson and Tolkien were the immediate human causes of my own conversion.”(15) It is here that an important distinction must be made between the Inklings’ and Sayers’s unique roles in Lewis’s faith community. The Inklings were, as Lewis states clearly, key to his conversion, while Sayers, who began corresponding with him after he was a well-established and devoted Christian, served more of an edifying role. Their faith challenged him to plant roots, and hers challenged him to grow and prune.

While his conversion was a battle with his logic, Dorothy Sayers’s relationship with her faith was far more intrinsic and embedded into her upbringing. In her essay, “The Transforming Imagination of Dorothy L. Sayers: Creativity for the Cause of Christ,” Dr. Crystal Downing says, “Though she did not embrace atheism as did the adolescent C. S. Lewis, she found the pieties and proprieties of conventional Christianity annoying.”(16) According to Downing, Sayers “was like many college students today: Rather than renouncing personal faith, she compartmentalized it.”(17) Her non-traditional engagement with her faith resulted in characters who represented the free religious thinker, the mystic, and the marginalized believer. Her 1937 play, The Zeal of Thy House, for instance, was populated by characters who represented “the various kinds of Christians she had encountered in her life, from self-righteous condemners of artistic imagination to those who believe that God can be glorified through the arts.”(18) This creative representation of the arts and faith evolved into her mission to formalize and galvanize the relationship between creativity and the Creator. From this self-placed charge came one of her most famous works, The Mind of the Maker, which would influence countless Christian writers, including Lewis.  

The core of their faith, while separate in pilgrimage, shares a central theme: the divine imagination. Lewis and Sayers both attribute their own imaginative literature to literature that unlocked and informed their faith through imagination. Downing points out:

Lewis was in his early thirties before he became a Christian, and Sayers was in her mid-forties before she started seriously exploring the difference that ancient doctrine can make in daily existence. Instead, it was the art of [George] MacDonald and [G.K.] Chesterton that enabled Lewis and Sayers to imagine a world predicated on universal standards of good versus evil—standards that cannot be explained by scientific empiricism or philosophical naturalism.(19)

In Surprised by Joy, Lewis also confesses, “Nearly all I loved I believed to be imaginary; nearly all that I believed to be real I thought grim and meaningless.”(20) Because of the profound impact imaginative literature had on Lewis’s work, and the way it illuminated how other methods of reasoning fell short, he found the belief that would inform his greatest works—a belief shared by and reinforced by his friendship with Dorothy Sayers. 

Shared Philosophical Influences

Their worldviews crossed paths and shared influences on numerous occasions as well, mutually reflecting the philosophy and theology of great thinkers like Augustine, Plato, and Thomas Aquinas, to name a few. Regarding the theological significance of the imagination, both Lewis and Sayers held an Augustinian view. In The Mind of the Maker, Sayers states, “[I]t is true that the urgent desire of the creative mind is towards expression in material form. The writer, in writing his book on paper, is expressing the freedom of his own nature in accordance with the laws of his being; and we argue from this that material creation expresses the nature of the Divine Imagination.”(21) She also says, “The fact is, that all language about everything is analogical; we think in a series of metaphor…In particular, when we speak about something of which we have no direct experience, we must think by analogy or refrain from thought,”(22) similar to Augustine’s view that God “does not work as does the human artist, who transforms one body into another according to the purposes of a soul able somehow to imprint forms that it perceives by its inner eye.”(23) Instead, God as the creator “made his bodily senses by which, as through an interpreter, he transfers his work from mind to matter, and then reports back to mind what he has made, so that he may consult therein the truth presiding over him, so as to know whether it was well made.”(24)

Lewis references the same concept in a number of instances throughout his work. In his essay, "Bluspels and Flalansferes," he says, “For me, reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning. Imagination, producing new metaphors or revivifying old, is not the cause of truth, but its condition.”(25) While he did not appear to write exclusively on the topic in theory, he certainly exhibited the power of the imagination throughout his literature and through his view of literature in general. In Of Other Worlds, he also says, “The story does what no theorem can quite do. It may not be ‘like real life’ in the superficial sense: but it sets before us an image of what reality may well be like at some more central region.”(26) Augustine could be considered the most direct influence for Sayers’s and Lewis’s beliefs about the imagination, but Augustine’s philosophy on reason is rooted even deeper, in Plato.

Plato’s philosophy and theories provided a core vantage point from which both writers explored their ideas. Lewis valued Platonism in his understanding of medieval Christianity and, according to James Bryson in his essay on the subject, “Plato and his successors helped Lewis to see how it was possible for non-Christian traditions to discover universal truths, truths that fell under the rubric of what he called the Tao, the path by which all great human cultures had access to a realm of objective value.”(27) He also took a Platonist view of morality, particularly in his approach in The Problem of Pain, and alluded to Plato’s allegory of the cave numerous times throughout his apologetic philosophy—such as “Meditation in a Toolshed” and The Abolition of Man—as well as in The Chronicles of Narnia. The ‘Underland’ in The Silver Chair, for instance, is “reminiscent of—and clearly intended to evoke for the educated adult reader—Plato’s allegory of the cave in the Republic. It is ruled, not by a philosopher king who seeks to liberate its prisoners, but by an anti-Platonic queen who explicitly denies and argues against the reality of Narnia and the Christ-figure Aslan, in order to discourage any thought of attempting the homeward journey.”(28) This scene, and the Witch’s desperate attempt to keep the knowledge of truth from her subjects, echoes Plato’s stance: “[T]he truth is that the State in which the rulers are most reluctant to govern is always the best and most quietly governed, and the State in which they are most eager, the worst,”(29) and begs the question, “How could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?”(30) As demonstrated throughout his apologetics and fiction, Lewis abided by the Platonist view that true knowledge of the Good, or the Tao, cannot be understood in shadows or abstractions, but must be discovered fully in experience, because the process of discovering is what prepares us for it, just as the journey to the Stone Table or the Lone Islands was critical to his characters. Platonist theology is so central to Lewis’s work and worldview that, by no accident, one of the heroes of The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord Digory, proclaims that “it’s all in Plato.”(31)  

His understanding of Plato’s theory of forms is both informed by and reinforced by Sayers’s use of the theory in The Mind of the Maker. While not explicitly referenced, she suggests the Idea within the creative mind serves as the source and ‘true form’ of creative work. Sayers also makes similar Platonic references to the transcendental nature of truth and beauty in her book, Letters to a Diminished Church, stating: 

Plato sees the rot setting in and cries out like a prophet to his people to repent while there is yet time. He sees that the theater audience is in fact looking to the theater for nothing but amusement and entertainment, that their energies are, in fact, frittering themselves away in spurious emotion— sob stuff and sensation, and senseless laughter, phantasy and daydreaming, and admiration for the merely smart and slick and clever and amusing. And there is an ominous likeness between his age and ours. We too have audiences and critics and newspapers assessing every play and book and novel in terms of its entertainment value, and a whole generation of young men and women who dream over novels and wallow in daydreaming at the cinema, and who seemed to be in a fair way of doping themselves into complete irresponsibility over the conduct of life until war came, as it did to Greece, to jerk them back to reality.(32)

Her ideas and arguments are often more emotional and empirical than Lewis’s, but her opinions are congruent from work to work, and when sat side-by-side with Lewis’s, the pair creates a multi-faceted exploration and defense of their philosophical predecessors.

In addition to their writing, Sayers’s and Lewis’s personal journeys with such ideas within their faith showed up in their correspondence. After Sayers declined Lewis’s aforementioned request to write a religious book in a collection for young people due to a personal conviction that prevented her from writing to edify others, Lewis pondered what he called her ‘artistic conscience’ in relation to his own approach to writing religious or apologetic work:

I don’t think the difference between us comes where you think. Of course one mustn't do dishonest work. But you seem to take as the criterion of honest work the sensible desire to write, the ‘itch’. That seems to me precious, like making ‘being in love’ the only reason for going on with a marriage. In my experience the desire has no constant ratio to the value of the work done. My own frequent uneasiness comes from another source—the fact that apologetic work is so dangerous to one’s own faith. A doctrine never seems dimmer to me.(33)

Sayers responded with an equally convicted stance: “All the apparatus I have by which to apprehend anything at all is intellect and imagination…If or when, from time to time, God is pleased to make any truth clear to me by that means, I can announce it, to the best of my ability, in which I have to call, for lack of a better name, a work of the creative imagination.”(34) While Lewis was comfortable working out his doubts in a public forum—still cautious and purposeful—Sayers instead believed any work considered anything beyond creative imagination is “spurious in itself but also falsifies the only instruments I have by which to perceive anything.”(35) Lewis admitted that their difference “may well be because [she is] a real writer and [he is] only a half-timer.”(36) They settled their differences respectfully, whether it meant figuratively shaking hands and parting ways on a subject, or discussing it in detail until both parties felt validated. If their religious correspondence suggests anything, it is that they approach writing as a means of working out their faith in very different lights—a divergence that provided Lewis with a springboard of self-evidence in Sayers’s work(37) to explore and inspire his own.

The Mind of the Maker and its Influence

Arguably Sayers’s most popular work, The Mind of the Maker, was published in 1941 as a theoretical parallel between the creative mind and the workings and nature of God as Creator. In it, Sayers explores the structural makeup of the divine imagination and breaks it down into a trinitarian organism, composed of Idea, Energy, and Power.(38) After its publication, the book received mixed reviews and today, it often gets shrouded under the shadow of her more publicly scandalized radio broadcast series, The Man Born to be King. Even still, The Mind of the Maker remains one of her most influential writings, and a highly referenced work of twentieth century Christian apologetics. 

It is worth noting here that the influence between Sayers and Lewis was reciprocated without prompting, and before Lewis had been inspired by The Mind of the Maker, it had been inspired by him. Before the book ever reached his desk, Sayers had already quoted him throughout it on three separate occasions, once referencing The Allegory of Love and his emphasis on pure intentions when writing in order to avoid corrupting the true essence of creativity(39) and twice referencing his description of the nature of God’s love as it reflects the artist’s love of his work and the difference between such love and kindness(40) in The Problem of Pain. She clearly thought well of Lewis’s theology of art, and it is also not difficult to conclude that such resonance between their beliefs is proven to be mutual following the book’s publication.  

Lewis sought out The Mind of the Maker before he and Sayers started writing to one another. In a letter to Arthur Greeves, he says, “Dorothy Sayers’ The Mind of the Maker I thought good on the whole: good enough to induce me to try one of her novels—Gaudy Night…”(42) His attention was piqued by his similar interest in the divine imagination, but held and expanded on because of her ideas. In the first paragraph of his short review of the book published in the journal, Theology, Lewis says, “It has often been a cause of wonder to me that the image of author and book for the relation between God and the world, though popular among the Stoics, has been so little used by the Christians; and, since this image is one that I have often found helpful myself, I have followed Miss Sayers' use of it with intense interest.”(43) This interest and her ideas about miracles, the incarnation, and the trinitarian archetype would influence his later work and theology.

He did have “one serious dissatisfaction”(44) with the book, being that Sayers did not “stress more continuously…the fact that the analogy is merely an analogy.”(45) Lewis’s concern stems from cultural awareness that those who create often want credit for “first inventing,”(46) when in reality, “[a]ll the ‘creative’ artists of the human race cannot so much as summon up the phantasm of a single new primary colour or a single new dimension.”(47) This position shows up later in his book, Mere Christianity, when he says, “Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”(48) He suggests that “originality” and creativity as Sayers points out, and as human beings are able to experience it, are only possible because of the differences between man and God. Human creativity, according to Lewis, is a dependent derivative of the Creator’s mind, rather than a parallel. 

Sayers’s mystical approach to creativity as it exists in human identity causes friction with Lewis’s more rational skepticism and need for unadorned logic. He sums up his difference of opinion by stating, “I must therefore disagree with Miss Sayers very profoundly when she says that ‘between the mind of the maker and the Mind of his Maker’ there is ‘a difference, not of category, but only of quality and degree’ (p. 147). On my view there is a greater, far greater, difference between the two than between playing with a doll and suckling a child.”(49) The discrepancy may boil down to semantics or the ways in which Lewis and Sayers appraise their audiences—a question worth its own investigation.

Regardless of their diverting views on the subject, Lewis thought highly of her extended metaphor, suggesting it was “full of illumination both on the theological and on the literary side,”(50) an “illumination” that would arguably inspire parts of Mere Christianity, Miracles, and a number of Lewis’s other works. He ultimately suggests that if novelists or poets were, “already inclined in any degree to idolatry of their own vocation,”(51) he would recommend reading with caution, as the book, while insightful and valuable, cannot account for personal posture toward the truth or the fidelity to which one interprets such a metaphor.

The Mind of the Maker’s Influence in Mere Christianity

The illumination he drew from Sayers’s work is evident in various sections of Mere Christianity, published only two years after The Mind of the Maker. In it, Lewis expands on Sayers’s first chapter, entitled, “The ‘Laws’ of Nature and Opinion,” and also draws on Sayers’s ideas about spiritual life. He does not credit her directly as an influence, and their approaches to discussing ideas of faith are different for reasons already mentioned, but his self-proclaimed investment in her ideas holds much weight in the way he articulates his own ideas of Christianity.

First, one can see that Lewis has drawn from and expanded upon Sayers’s ideas of universal truth. Sayers acknowledges the undeniable divine order of things, as well as the moral law—distinct from a moral “code” set by a consensus of opinion on what human nature is and ought to be(52)—that is ingrained in human beings from God, and thus ingrained in society. Sayers believes that “by behaving in conformity with which, man enjoys his true freedom,”(53) an idea that reflects Aristotle’s theory that “happiness is an activity of soul in accordance with perfect virtue…”(54) She also believes that the closer moral code gets to moral law, the more free human behavior will be, and the further away it is, the more enslaved man will become. She states:

At the back of the Christian moral code we find a number of pronouncements about the moral law, which are not regulations at all, but which purport to be statements of fact about man and the universe, and upon which the whole moral code depends for its authority and its validity in practice. These statements do not rest on human consent; they are either true or false. If they are true, man runs counter to them at his own peril.(55)

Lewis similarly points out in the first chapter of Mere Christianity that the basic idea of the Law of Human Nature was that “just as all bodies are governed by biological laws, so the creature called man also had his law—with this great difference, that a body could not choose whether it obeyed the law of gravitation or not, but a man could choose either to obey the Law of Human Nature or to disobey it.”(56) He later goes on to break down impulses within human nature as neutral, which are merely ‘tuned’ to moral law, and suggests that “we all do believe that some moralities are better than others…The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard…You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think…”(57) The common threads between the two writers’ ideas is 1) that of free will. The moral law, or Law of Human Nature, both acknowledge a person’s choice to abide by it. And 2) the admission that there is a universal, objective source of truth about morality. While Sayers elaborates more on the effects of such ideas, Lewis leans into the logical conclusion of them. Regardless, their alignment is unmistakable.

The second shared theme between the two works is that of reason and imagination within the spiritual life. They differ in the sense that Sayers’s book is primarily about the imagination and this particular book in Lewis’s portfolio is primarily one of reason. However, they both acknowledge that reason and imagination are mutually present in a life of faith. Lewis says, “Now faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.”(58) Sayers, alternatively, appeals more to the manifestation of one’s faith and its reflection of the truth of the Christian God, rather than its nature within the mind of man. However, both writers root their arguments on the operational makeup of spiritual life. She says:

If you ask me what is this pattern which I recognize as the true law of my nature, I can suggest only that it is the pattern of the creative mind—an eternal Idea, manifested in material form by an unresting Energy, with an outpouring of Power that at once inspires, judges, and communicates the work; all these three being one and the same in the mind and one and the same in the work. And this, I observe, is the pattern laid down by the theologians as the pattern of the being of God.(59)

Lewis reflects similar ideas when he describes what happens when man prays: “God is the thing to which he is praying—the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on—the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal.”(60) Sayers intentionally did not write about faith in a theological capacity in any of her works. Instead, her approach was to acknowledge reason and faith, but only in the capacity needed to understand its role in creativity, and vice versa, it is not a far walk from her ideas to Lewis’s conclusions and explicit implications of reason and imagination in faith throughout his work. 

The Mind of the Maker’s Influence in Miracles

As their friendship developed, Lewis continued drawing principles from The Mind of the Maker and his correspondence with Sayers, particularly in his book, Miracles. On May 13, 1943, Sayers wrote to Lewis: “There aren’t any up-to-date books about Miracles. People have stopped arguing about them. Why? Has Physics sold the pass? Or is it merely that everybody is thinking in terms of Sociology and international Ethics?”(61) In his collection of C.S. Lewis’s letters, Walter Hooper suggests that this was “exactly the encouragement Lewis needed to write his own book on the subject.”(62) When Lewis sent Sayers a copy of his sermon on miracles, published first in Saint Jude’s Gazette and then expanded on in The Guardian, Hooper suggests “it amounts to a mini version of Miracles: A Preliminary study (1947).”(63) In the letter he sent along with the sermon, Lewis writes, “[T]here’s some relevant matter in The Mind of the Maker,”(64) referring to Sayers’s chapter entitled, “Free Will and Miracles.” In the published version of Miracles, Lewis even pays tribute to Sayers when he says, “How a miracle can be no inconsistency, but the highest consistency, will be clear to those who have read Miss Dorothy Sayers’ indispensable book, The Mind of the Maker.”(65)

However, in order to fully understand the book’s scope of influence on Miracles, one must first understand her stance on the subject. Only then can it be clearly identified in Lewis’s work, either in agreement, disagreement, or expanded exploration. In Sayers’s chapter on miracles, there are three main themes by which Lewis’s stance can compare. First is the possibility of miracles, second, the agents of miracles, and third, theological parallels. 

Theme 1: Possibility of Miracles

Sayers’s theories of the possibility and existence of miracles are predicated on the existence of a creator—and in her context, this creator may function as an author or more largely and ultimately, as God. She says, “Whatever we may think of the possibilities of direct divine intervention in the affairs of the universe, it is quite evident that the writer can—and often does—intervene at any moment in the development of his own story.”(66) Her point here is not concerning history, or even likelihood, but logical possibility. Thus, she clarifies that the analogy of God as Creator inherently concedes to the logic that “it is possible for Him to work miracles.”(67)

The same argument of possibility is present in Lewis’s Miracles. After setting the stage and differentiating between Naturalism and Supernaturalism—something Sayers establishes through the general theme of her book as well—he clarifies, “The question is whether Nature can be known to be of such a kind that supernatural interferences with her are impossible.”(68) Unlike Sayers, Lewis is far more methodical in laying out his logic systemically. He even positions his logic squarely against trusted philosophers like David Hume. In his defense of Lewis’s criticism of Hume’s essay on miracles, Robert A. Larmer writes:

Can trust in the uniformity of nature, which seems to be a prerequisite of science, be philosophically vindicated? Lewis writes that the answer to this question depends upon one's metaphysic. If one is a naturalist there seems no reason to view such trust as in fact justified, but if one is a theist such trust seems eminently reasonable…one of the central presuppositions of science seems to require a theistic metaphysics, if we are to place any trust in it. Once one adopts such a metaphysic, however, one must recognize the possibility of miracles…(69)

Both Lewis and Sayers argue that miracles are not defined as events that go against the laws of nature, but in his exploration of miraculous intervention, Lewis logically proves that “[a]ll interferences leave the law perfectly true”(70) by laying out the “basic distinction between the laws of nature and the ‘stuff,’ call it mass/energy, whose behaviour they describe,”(71) and effectively, proving that “although a miracle is an event which would never have occurred without the overriding of nature, this in no way entails the claim that a miracle involves a violation of the laws of nature.”(72) His approach supports and expands on Sayers’s idea that the author or Creator cannot necessarily “invent undiscovered planets or people the world with monsters unknown to natural history…simply that he can twist either character or plot from the course of its nature by an exertion of arbitrary power.”(73) She explains how the miracle is merely the vehicle by which the story is driven to its ultimate conclusion by a “new and more powerful way of grace, to the issue demanded by the way of judgment, so that the law of nature is not destroyed but fulfilled.”(74) This idea can be traced back to Thomas Aquinas, who says, “Since therefore grace does not destroy nature, but perfects it, natural reason should minister to faith as the natural bent of the will ministers to charity.”(75) This idea of fulfilling the law of nature is not only addressed in Miracles, but also an underpinning operating insight in many, if not all, of Lewis’s fiction work as well.

Theme 2: Agents of Miracles

The second theme to examine between the writers’ works is the agents of miracles. Sayers suggests that conversion and coincidence are the main agents of miracles that the creator has to leverage; that “either a character or a situation is abruptly changed, not by anything developing out of the essentials of the story, but by the personal divine intervention of the creator.”(76) She acknowledges that both may occur naturally within a story, so long as “it is a story about a coincidence or about a conversion.”(77) Lewis is more broad in defining the agent of the miraculous as merely the intervention of the Supernatural.(78) However, he goes on to suggest that Supernatural interferences must be considered in two ways, as “subjective to events, items in somebody’s psychological history,” and as “insights into, or knowings of, something other than themselves.”(79) Effectively, he boils the agents of Supernatural interference to events and knowledge, not all too dissimilar from Sayers’s position.

In the context of events and knowledge, Lewis, like Sayers, roots his arguments in the Tao, or what Father James V. Schall calls, what is,(80) meaning the given state of things as they exist in truth. According to Lewis, if God orchestrates an event or knowledge that is considered miraculous, He is not, in fact, breaking any logic or universal truth to do so. He states, “The divine art of miracle is not an art of suspending the pattern to which events conform but of feeding new events into the pattern.”(81) This echoes Sayers’s earlier sentiment that in order for God to be God, He must not—and will not—act outside of His divinely set character.(82) Sayers says of God, “He will not, any more than a good writer, convert His characters without preparing the way for their conversion, and His interferences with space-time will be conditioned by some kind of relationship of power between will and matter,”(83) and Lewis echoes, “A miracle is emphatically not an event without cause or without results. Its cause is the activity of God: its results follow according to Natural law.”(84) In other words, both Sayers and Lewis conclude that the agents of miracles are not activated outside of natural law, and that does not suggest that God does not have the power to do so, merely that His power exists beyond the need to work outside of natural law. 

Theme 3: Theological Parallels

This introduces the third and final theme to examine: theological parallels. Thus far, the theoretical nature of miracles and their relationship to the divine have been addressed. Now, it is important to examine the Christian doctrine that puts theory to action. Sayers sets the groundwork in The Mind of the Maker for Lewis’s own theological examples of the nature of miracles. She suggests, “Consequences cannot be separated from their causes without a loss of power; and we may ask ourselves how much power would be left in the story of the crucifixion, as a story, if Christ had come down from the cross.”(85) Here, she not only implies the theoretical implications of miracles—in the sense of both faith and logic—but also addresses plainly the historical and theological implications the theory would have on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Similarly, in Miracles, Lewis points to a different historical and theological application: the virgin birth. He says, “If God creates a miraculous spermatozoon in the body of a virgin, it does not proceed to break any laws. The laws at once take it over. Nature is ready.”(86) Both references reach beyond intellectual curiosity into practical application of the nature of miracles.

Lewis spoke to more than just Sayers about his research about miracles. In his letters, he also writes to Father Don Giovanni Calabria the same year Miracles was published, “For [God] has, after a fashion, restricted His own Omnipotence by the very fact of creating free creatures; and we read that the Lord was not able to do miracles in some places because people’s faith was wanting.”(87) Though pursued independently, his engagement in such conversations and his acknowledgment of the theological significance of scriptural documentation of miraculous events is grounded in his own expansive work on the same sentiments Sayer’s posits: “Faith is the condition for the removal of mountains…”(88) Like Sayers, the practicality of historical implications do not negate the practicality—and necessity—of faith in Lewis’s mind. Instead, he suggests, “The rightful demand that all reality should be consistent and systematic does not therefore exclude miracles: but it has a very valuable contribution to make to our conception of them. It reminds us that miracles, if they occur, must, like all events, be revelations of that total harmony of all that exists.”(89)

Other Areas of Influence

While there are clear parallels drawn from Sayers’s ideas in The Mind of the Maker to Lewis’s apologetic work like Mere Christianity and Miracles, the roots of her influence and his writing run much deeper. There are a number of themes throughout his fiction works following the publication of Miracles that are worth highlighting, most prominently the character and quality of nature. While writing Miracles, Lewis wrote to Dom Bede Griffiths:

To write a book on miracles, which are in a sense invasions of Nature, has made me realise Nature herself as I’ve never done before. You don’t see Nature till you believe in the Supernatural: don’t get the full, hot, salty tang of her except by contrast with the pure water from beyond the world. Those who mistake Nature for the All are just those who can never realise her as a particular creature with her own flawed, terrible, beautiful individuality. In the light of the New Creation all miracles are like snowdrops—anticipations of the full spring and high summer [which] is slowly coming over the whole wintry field of space & time.(90)

This passage from his letter bears familiarity to both the seasonal motif that underpins the world of Narnia and the ‘realness’ of the Valley of the Shadow of Life in The Great Divorce. In a letter to Owen Barfield a week later, he also states, “Did I tell you that this attempt to write on the Supernatural has turned many chapters into sort of hymns on Nature!”(91) The themes of nature that prevail in his work, be it the aforementioned books or even the Space Trilogy, may very well be attributed to his work on miracles and Sayers’s foundational concepts. Perhaps, it was the inspiration to write on the topic that Lewis derived from Sayers that led his imagination to illustrate such belief in his fiction writings.

Her position that all works of creativity begin as an idea—the best occurring outside of a time-series(92)—may not be the direct reason the world today can read The Screwtape Letters or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but as K. Alan Snyder suggests in his essay, “Let Us Thank the Author Who Inventer Her: Lewis on Reading Dorothy Sayers,” it does support the origin of such works as Lewis describes them.(93) In a letter to his brother, Lewis shares the idea he had of a senior devil instructing a junior devil while sitting in church,(94) and in a later essay, he describes that Narnia began simply as an image of “a faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood.”(95) The one-dimensional images that spurred Lewis forward into the depths and nuances of an entire fictional world that existed in its entirety beneath the veil of his imagination, if nothing else, exemplify with great vigor the power of Sayers’s ‘Idea, Energy, and Power’ framework.

Snyder also points out Sayers’s critical argument: “You cannot, in fact, give God His due without giving the devil his due also.”(96) He clarifies, “The other side of an argument, so to speak, must be given voice in order to give the work its ‘vital power.’ Literature that is merely ‘edifying’ or ‘propaganda’ will lose that vital power.”(97) He then draws a parallel to Lewis’s characters in Perelandra, suggesting that the dialogue that Lewis creates between Ransom and the Un-man, Weston, is pertinent to bolster the truth of what Ransom offers. Without the mutually exclusive weight given to both characters, as Sayers outlines, the story would merely be propaganda and the role of truth and reason would be lost on the reader, removing any sense of connection or potency.

While Sayers is not directly credited for these themes and applications throughout Lewis’s fictional work, her influence—even if merely a friendly muse through which to work out ideas and philosophies—is evident in multitudes. And while he may not have read his manuscripts aloud to Sayers for live or regular feedback, her friendship mattered to him in a capacity that powered their continued correspondence, and her work spoke loudly enough to influence him as he wrote and read his drafts aloud to his closest writing circle, the Inklings.

The Inklings and Their Comparative Impact

In comparison to his working relationship with Dorothy Sayers, Lewis’s relationship with the Inklings writing group was informal and oftentimes messy and combative. A brotherhood of intelligent sparring partners, the Inklings saw the unkempt origins and drafts of one another’s work and provided detailed feedback at every stage in the writing process. While some of the Inklings preferred to work out ideas and feedback on paper in new drafts, it is well known that Lewis’s creative process was primarily internal, and therefore it is difficult to trace his work back to specific feedback. And even though “there is next to no evidence of rewriting or of copious changes”(98) in Lewis’s manuscripts, the Inklings’ regular meetings and correspondence show that Lewis took to heart his confidantes’ feedback as it was given, and in turn, the Inklings’ role was often shaping Lewis’s writing process, and at other times, his editing process, and their influence laid roots deep into him as a creator and a person, rather than the influence one might expect of surface-level critics. In the same letter to Griffiths in which Lewis expresses his gratitude toward Tolkien and Barfield for his conversion to Christianity, he describes their weekly writing meetings, concluding, “What I owe to them all is incalculable.”(99)

The bond built between the candid fellowship resulted in a creative hivemind, not to be mistaken for creative assimilation, but rather a rich resonance with each other’s ideas. Knowing that their weekly meetings would consist of conversation between C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, and the occasional guest, the Inklings, according to Glyer in her book, Bandersnatch, “adjusted what they said and how they said it in anticipation of the questions, concerns, biases, and tastes of this ever-present audience.”(100) Marjorie Wright, the first to conduct an extended research dissertation on the Inklings’ myth-philosophy as a collective, also notes that “the similarity [in their work] is one not only of idea and theory but of common atmosphere. They belong to, indeed have made, a common world, a world of myth.”(101) This involvement, “at the smallest level of detail”(102) and simultaneously at the highest level of atmosphere, helped shape Lewis’s work fundamentally, chapter by chapter, while also shaping an entire genus of twentieth century literature.

While the Inklings fostered a deep everyday community of writers and believers that would influence one another’s work on an atomic level, other creative correspondents, like Sayers, often responded to more polished drafts or completed works, making their influence more philosophical and less directional. Since Sayers’s and Lewis’s relationship was primarily founded on written correspondence, and often fueled by ideas the pair would discuss post-publishing, they did not have the same back-and-forth discussion that unearthed the details the Inklings discovered and critiqued. As a result, Lewis had to apply her feedback reflectively to his existing work and internalize it for his work moving forward. This is not to say that her influence was any less deeply rooted, simply that the different dynamics in his various circles of influence provided unique value and impact at unique moments in his writing—both religious and fictional.

Lewis’s religious work, for instance, proved to be a point of interest to his readers—and Sayers—and a point of contention within the Inklings. It’s no secret that a few of the Inklings in particular took issue with Lewis’s apologetic work. Glyer says, “...when Warren Lewis read Lewis’s first prevalent work of apologetic writing, The Problem of Pain, he did not find the arguments compelling, nor the conclusion convincing. He writes, ‘I’ve never seen any explanation of the problem of pain (not even my brother’s), which came near to answering the question for me.’”(103) Despite the initial response within the group, Lewis pressed on and continued to wrestle with his ideas privately and within the Inklings meetings until its final state, which continues to be one of Lewis’s most popular books. Glyer says, “In addition to the insights it provides in the nature of suffering, it also offers a window into how the Inklings worked together, the highly interactive process of initiating, drafting, commenting, editing, changing, shortening, revising, and clarifying. The Problem of Pain is, appropriately, dedicated ‘To The Inklings.’”(104)

Tolkien also held strong opinions about Lewis’s religious work—and the fact that he attempted to write them at all. Glyer states, “[Tolkien] takes serious issue with a number of points expressed in Lewis’s book Christian Behavior. Tolkien challenges Lewis primarily on the basis of logical consistency—an area where Lewis is generally seen to be particularly strong—saying he finds a  ‘confusion of thought’ within the book itself.”(105) Ultimately, according to Glyer, “His determination to defy academic protocol and openly express his Christian faith did more than alienate his friends and colleagues; it proved hazardous to his career. Lewis was passed over for promotion to two ‘coveted Chairs in English Literature at his university despite his scholarly claim to the appointments.’”(106) The resistance he faced from his peers and academic administrators, however, never stopped him from pursuing the most sound arguments he could muster within his publications.

In fact, the opposition he faced within his Inkling friendships are often credited in part for Lewis’s own development. One particular relationship stretched Lewis in ways the others did not: his friendship and colleagueship with Owen Barfield. In Surprised by Joy, Lewis describes him as “the man who disagrees with you about everything.”(107) Their correspondence is full of lively and (sometimes) playful opposition, all in the spirit of sharpening each other in craft and character. In reference to the “great war” between Lewis and Barfield, Glyer states, “Lewis could not have developed as a religious apologist, novelist, or literary historian if he had not trained his intellect through these many years of extended arguments with his friend.”(108) However, both Lewis and Barfield held a reverence for their dynamic, Lewis describing the Inklings’ hunger for opposition in reference to Barfield, and Barfield in his dedication to Lewis in his most profound book, Poetic Diction, in which he quotes William Blake: “Opposition is true friendship.”(109)

In comparison, while Sayers was not one to shy away from a good sparring match, Lewis’s creative relationship with the Inklings is, as noted, distinct in nature from his relationship with her in ways that are significant to their respective influence on his writing. Lewis did not appear to intermingle feedback toward his work, or even discuss his correspondence with Sayers, during Inklings meetings. He also continued providing and requesting feedback from Sayers years after the Inklings meetings ceased in 1945. In the last year of her life, Lewis spoke to the editor of Encounter about Sayers in the context of the Inklings:

Dorothy Sayers, so far as I know, was not even acquainted with any of us except Charles Williams and me. We two had got to know her at different times and in different ways. In my case, the initiative came from her. She was the first person of importance who ever wrote me a fan-letter. I liked her, originally, because she liked me; later, for the extraordinary zest and edge of her conversation—as I like a high wind. She was a friend, not an ally. Needless to say, she never met our own club, and probably never knew of its existence.(110)

Whether his last statement suggests more about his sense of nonchalance or his sense of privacy around the Inklings cannot be determined conclusively. Regardless, the influence of the Inklings was held separate from the influence of Sayers and her work by Lewis, and therefore should be held separate in their respective analyses.


Both Sayers and the Inklings served separate purposes in shaping Lewis’s writing, her primarily serving the purpose of a muse who led the charge in a number of subjects that would become the foundation for some of his most prolific conversations in apologetic circles. Because she “never sank the artist and entertainer in the evangelist,”(111) Lewis revisited each of her works time and time again, a testament to their individual impact. As mentioned, he read The Man Born to be King every year as a personal practice, he extracted ideas from The Mind of the Maker and expanded on them a number of times throughout his own work, and he analyzed her work on Dante in great detail in order to expand his own understanding of medieval literature and its cosmological relevance. While this essay has merely scratched the surface of his engagement with her work, it is evident that it runs deep.

Like many, Lewis described Dorothy Sayers as having an “extremely robust and forthright nature,”(112) qualities that undoubtedly spurred their conversation and won her favor with him. After her death, he recalls, “She always saw herself as one who has learned a trade, and respects it, and demands respect for it from others.”(113) Because of this, her work as a creative and Christian writer was bold and sometimes rebellious, something Lewis respected and appreciated about her, and perhaps a key reason he felt he could be so open with her in correspondence and open to her ideas in his own creative wrestlings. He states, “She aspired to be, and was, at once a popular entertainer and a conscientious craftsman: like (in her degree) Chaucer, Cervantes, Shakespeare, or Molière. I have an idea that, with a very few exceptions, it is only such writers who matter much in the long run.”(114) It is Sayers’s dedication to being wholly and unequivocally herself, even in her doubtful or unpolished form, that made her work deeply moving and worth revisiting year after year for Lewis. His final words echo the deep impact she had on him: “For all she did and was, for delight and instruction, for her militant loyalty as a friend, for courage and honesty, for the richly feminine qualities which showed through a port and manner superficially masculine and even gleefully ogreish—let us thank the Author who invented her.”(115)

In Sayers’s translation of Dante’s Paradiso, Canto 30 appears in the original Italian in place of a dedication: “Ma or convien che mio seguir desista più dietro a sua bellezza, poetando, come a l'ultimo suo ciascuno artista.(116) Sayers’s translation reads, “But now my word must leap ahead no more; Poet and painter, each by his art constrained, at this point gladly would their labour end.” Whether this excerpt was selected by Sayers herself or by Barbara Reynolds, who finished the translation after Sayers’s passing, is uncertain, but regardless, it is a tribute to Sayers’s lifelong effort to understand the divine imagination and communicate its ability to embody and witness the beauty of God’s splendor—an endeavor that undoubtedly made its way to Lewis’s heart for the subject and into his work.


  1. Marsha Daigle-Williamson, "C. S. Lewis and Dorothy L. Sayers: Correspondence," Inklings Forever: Published Colloquium Proceedings 1997-2016: Vol. 10, Article 78, 2016.

  2. C. S. Lewis to Dorothy Sayers, April 6, 1942, in The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 2: Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931–1949, ed. Walter Hooper (New York: HarperCollins, 2004), 515, Kindle Edition.

  3. Daigle-Williamson, "C. S. Lewis and Dorothy L. Sayers: Correspondence.”

  4. Lewis to Sayers, May 17, 1945, in The Collected Letters, Volume 2, 649-650. 

  5. C.S. Lewis, “A Panegyric for Dorothy Sayers,” in On Stories and Other Essays on Literature, ed. Walter Hooper (London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1966), 94.

  6. Dorothy Sayers to C.S. Lewis, July 31, 1946, in The Collected Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers 1944–1950: Vol. 3, A Noble Daring vol. 3, ed. Barbara Reynolds (Cambridge: Dorothy L. Sayers Society, 1998), 254.

  7. Sayers to Lewis,  December 3, 1945, in The Letters: Vol. 3, 177.

  8. Lewis to Sayers, January 4, 1946, in The Collected Letters, Volume 2, 699.

  9. Lewis to Sayers, March 18, 1943, in ibid., 564. 

  10. Lewis to Sayers, May 30, 1943, in ibid., 577.

  11. Lewis, “A Panegyric for Dorothy Sayers,” 93.

  12. Diana Pavlac Glyer, The Company They Keep: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2007), 6.

  13. Ibid. 

  14. Ibid., 7–8.

  15. Lewis to Dom Bede Griffiths, December 21, 1941, in The Collected Letters, Volume 2, 501.

  16. Crystal Downing, “The Transforming Imagination of Dorothy L. Sayers,” Wheaton Magazine 24, no. 1 (Winter 2021),

  17. Ibid.

  18. Ibid.

  19. Ibid.

  20. C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, (Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers, 1956), 170.

  21. Dorothy L. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker, (New York: HarperCollins, 1987), 42.

  22. Ibid., 23.

  23. Augustine, The Confessions 11.5.7.

  24. Ibid.

  25. C.S. Lewis, "Bluspels and Flalansferes," in Selected Literary Essays, ed. Walter Hooper (1969; repr., New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980), 265.

  26. C.S. Lewis, Of Other Worlds (Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 1994), 15.

  27. James Bryson, “‘It’s all in Plato’: Platonism, Cambridge Platonism, and C.S. Lewis,” Journal of Inklings Studies 11, No. 1 (2021),

  28. Ibid.

  29. Plato, Republic 520d. 

  30. Ibid., 515a.

  31. C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle (New York: HarperTrophy, 2007), 195.

  32. Dorothy L. Sayers, Letters to a Diminished Church: Passionate Arguments for the Relevance of Christian Doctrine (United States: W Publishing Group, 2004), 148–149.

  33. Lewis to Sayers, August 2, 1946 in The Collected Letters, Volume 2, 730.

  34. Sayers to Lewis, Aug 5, 1946, in Sayers, Letters, Volume 3, 255, cited in Lewis, The Collected Letters, Volume 2, 730-731.

  35. Ibid.

  36. Lewis to Sayers, August 7, 1946, in The Collected Letters, Volume 2, 731.

  37. Ibid.

  38. “For every work [or act] of creation is threefold, an earthly trinity to match the heavenly. First, [not in time, but merely in order of enumeration] there is Creative Idea, passionless, timeless, beholding the whole work complete at once, the end in the beginning: and this is the image of the Father.Second, there is the Creative Energy [or Activity] begotten of that idea, working in time from the beginning to the end, with sweat and passion, being incarnate in the bonds of matter: and this is the image of the Word.Third, there is the Creative Power, the meaning of the work, and its response in the lively soul” and this is the image of the indwelling Spirit.And these three are one, each equally in itself the whole work, whereof none can exist without the other: and this is the image of the Trinity.” Sayers, The Mind of the Maker, 37-38.

  39. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker, 150.

  40. C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (1940; repr., New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 39, in ibid., 125.

  41. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, 32-33, in ibid., 224-225.

  42. Lewis to Arthur Greeves, December 23, 1941 in The Collected Letters, Volume II, 505.

  43. C.S. Lewis, review of The Mind of the Maker, by Dorothy L. Sayers, Theology (October 1941), 248 in Sage Journals 43, no. 256,

  44. Ibid.

  45. Ibid.

  46. Ibid.

  47. Ibid.

  48. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (New York: HarperCollins, 1980), 226.

  49. Lewis, review of The Mind of the Maker.

  50. Ibid.

  51. Ibid.

  52. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker, 10.

  53. Ibid., 9. 

  54. Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics 13.5-6. 

  55. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker, 11. 

  56. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 4. 

  57. Ibid., 13.

  58. Ibid., 140.

  59. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker, 213.

  60. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 163.

  61.  Dorothy L. Sayers to C.S. Lewis, May 13, 1943, in The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers 1937–1943: Vol. 2, From Novelist to Playwright, ed. Barbara Reynolds (Cambridge: Dorothy L. Sayers Society, 1997), 413.

  62.  Walter Hooper, in Lewis, The Collected Letters, Volume 2, 573.

  63. Ibid.

  64. Lewis to Sayers, May 17, 1943, The Collected Letters, Volume 2, 573.

  65. C. S. Lewis, Miracles: A Preliminary Study (New York: Macmillan, 1960), 98.

  66. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker, 77.

  67. Ibid., 78.

  68. C.S. Lewis, Miracles (1960; rev. ed., New York: HarperCollins, 1974), 87. 

  69. Robert A. Larmer, "C.S. Lewis's Critique Of Hume On Miracles," Faith and Philosophy: Journal of the Society of Christian Philosophers 25; no. 2,  2016,

  70. Lewis, Miracles, 91.

  71. Larmer, "C.S. Lewis's Critique Of Hume On Miracles.”

  72. Ibid.

  73. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker, 78.

  74. Ibid., 83.

  75. Saint Thomas Aquinas, The Summa Theologica, ed. Mortimer J. Adler, Philip W. Goetz, and Daniel J. Sullivan, trans. Laurence Shapcote, Second Edition., vol. 17, Great Books of the Western World (Chicago; Auckland; Geneva; London; Madrid; Manila; Paris; Rome; Seoul; Sydney; Tokyo; Toronto: Robert P. Gwinn; Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1990), 8.

  76. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker, 82.

  77. Ibid.

  78. Lewis, Miracles, 5.

  79. Ibid., 26.

  80. James V. Schall, The Life of the Mind, (Washington, D.C.: ISI Books, 2012), 30.

  81. Lewis, Miracles, 95.

  82. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker, 82.

  83. Ibid., 82-83.

  84. Lewis, Miracles, 95.

  85. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker, 83.

  86. Lewis, Miracles, 94.

  87. Lewis (referencing Matthew 13:58 and Mark 6:5), The Collected Letters, Volume 2, 814.

  88. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker, 83.

  89. Lewis, Miracles, 97.

  90. Lewis to Griffiths, May 10, 1945, The Collected Letters, Volume 2, 648.

  91. Lewis to Owen Barfield, May 17, 1943, The Collected Letters, Volume 2, 591.

  92. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker, 38.

  93. K. Alan Snyder, "‘Let Us Thank the Author Who Inventer Her’: Lewis on Reading Dorothy Sayers" (2018), Papers Presented at Previous Colloquia, 2,

  94. Lewis to Warnie Lewis, July 20, 1940, The Collected Letters, Vol. 2, 425.

  95. Lewis, “It All Began with a Picture,” in On Stories and Other Essays on Literature (Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 1982), 53.

  96. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker, 53.

  97. Snyder, "‘Let Us Thank the Author Who Inventer Her.’”

  98. Walter Hooper, quoted in Justin Phillips, C.S. Lewis at the BBC: Messages of Hope in the Darkness of War, (London: HarperCollins, 2003), 113.

  99. Lewis to Griffiths, December 21, 1941, The Collected Letters, Volume 2, 501.

  100. Diana Pavlac Glyer, Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings (Kent, OH: Black Squirrel Books, 2016), 43.

  101. Marjorie Evelyn Wright, “The Cosmic Kingdom of Myth: A Study in the Myth-Philosophy of Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien,” PhD Diss. University of Illinois, 1960,

  102. Glyer, Bandersnatch, 73.

  103. Ibid., 62.

  104. Ibid., 113.

  105. Ibid., 63.

  106. Ibid., 64.

  107. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, 199.

  108. Glyer, Bandersnatch, 57.

  109. Owen Barfield, Dedication, Poetic Diction n. Pag.

  110. Lewis to Editor of Encounter, January 1963, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950–1963, ed. Walter Hooper (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2007). Kindle Edition.

  111.  Lewis, “A Panegyric for Dorothy Sayers,” 93.

  112. Ibid., 92.

  113. Ibid.

  114. Ibid.

  115. Ibid., 95.

  116. Dante Alighieri, Dedication, The Divine Comedy 3: Paradise, trans. Dorothy Sayers and Barbara Reynolds (London: Penguin Books, 1962), n. pag.



Alighieri, Dante. The Divine Comedy 3: Paradise. Translated by Dorothy Sayers and Barbara Reynolds.

London: Penguin Books, 1962.

Aquinas, Saint Thomas. The Summa Theologica. Edited by Mortimer J. Adler, Philip W. Goetz, and

Daniel J. Sullivan. Translated by Laurence Shapcote in Second Edition., vol. 17, Great Books of the Western World. Chicago; Auckland; Geneva; London; Madrid; Manila; Paris; Rome; Seoul; Sydney; Tokyo; Toronto: Robert P. Gwinn; Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1990.

Aristotle. The Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by David Ross. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980.

Augustine. The Confessions of St. Augustine. Translated by John K Ryan. Garden City, NY: Image Books, 1960.

Barfield, Owen. Dedication. Poetic Diction. No page.

Bryson, James. “‘It’s all in Plato’: Platonism, Cambridge Platonism, and C.S. Lewis,” Journal of Inklings

Daigle-Williamson, Marsha. "C. S. Lewis and Dorothy L. Sayers: Correspondence." Inklings Forever:

Published Colloquium Proceedings 1997-2016: Vol. 10, Article 78. 2016. Accessed March 15, 2024.

Downing, Crystal. “The Transforming Imagination of Dorothy L. Sayers.” Wheaton Magazine, 24, no. 1.

Glyer, Diana Pavlac. Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the

Inklings. Kent, OH: Black Squirrel Books, 2016.

——. The Company They Keep: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community. Kent, OH: Kent

State University Press, 2007.

Hooper, Walter. In Lewis, C.S. The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 2: Books, Broadcasts, and the

War 1931–1949. Edited by Walter Hooper. New York: HarperCollins 2004. Kindle Edition.

——. Quoted in Justin Phillips, C.S. Lewis at the BBC: Messages of Hope in the Darkness of War.

London: HarperCollins, 2003.

Larmer, Robert A. "C.S. Lewis's Critique Of Hume On Miracles." Faith and Philosophy: Journal of the

Society of Christian Philosophers: Vol. 25 : Iss. 2 , Article 3. 2008. Accessed April 3, 2024.

Lewis, C.S. "Bluspels and Flalansferes,” in Selected Literary Essays. Edited by Walter Hooper. Originally

published 1969. New York: Cambridge University Press. Reprinted 1980.

——. The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 2: Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931–1949. Edited

by Walter Hooper. New York: HarperCollins, 2004. Kindle Edition. 

——. The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950–1963. Edited by

Walter Hooper. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2007. Kindle Edition.

——. “It All Began with a Picture,” in On Stories and Other Essays on Literature. Orlando, FL: Harcourt,


——. The Last Battle. New York: HarperTrophy, 2007.

——. Mere Christianity. New York: HarperCollins, 1980.

——. Review of The Mind of the Maker, by Dorothy L. Sayers. Theology. October 1941. 248, in Sage

Journals 43, no. 256. Accessed April 3, 2024.

——. Miracles. Originally published 1960. Revised edition, New York: HarperCollins, 1974. 

——. Miracles: A Preliminary Study. New York: Macmillan, 1960.

——. Of Other Worlds. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 1994.

——. “A Panegyric for Dorothy Sayers,” in On Stories and Other Essays on Literature. Edited by Walter

Hooper. London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1966.

——. The Problem of Pain. Originally published 1940. New York: HarperCollins. Reprinted 2001.

——. Surprised by Joy. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers, 1956.

Plato. Republic. Translated by Benjamin Jowett. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1888.

Sayers, Dorothy L. The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers 1937–1943: Vol. 2, From Novelist to Playwright.

Edited by Barbara Reynolds. Cambridge: Dorothy L. Sayers Society, 1997.

——. The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers 1944–1950: Vol. 3, A Noble Daring. Edited by Barbara Reynolds.

Cambridge: Dorothy L. Sayers Society, 1998.

——.  Letters to a Diminished Church: Passionate Arguments for the Relevance of Christian

Doctrine. United States: W Publishing Group, 2004.

——. The Mind of the Maker. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1987.

Schall, James V. The Life of the Mind. Washington, D.C.: ISI Books, 2012.

Snyder, K. Alan. "’Let Us Thank the Author Who Inventer Her’: Lewis on Reading Dorothy Sayers." 2018.

Papers Presented at Previous Colloquia, 2. Accessed April 3, 2024.

Wright, Marjorie Evelyn. “The Cosmic Kingdom of Myth: A Study in the Myth-Philosophy of Charles

Williams, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien.” PhD Dissertation for the University of Illinois. 1960. Accessed March 28, 2024.


bottom of page