Monday, August 11, 2014

The Man Born to be King

The Man Born to be King, by Dorothy Sayers

I've had this for a few years, so I put it on my TBR pile for this year.  I love Sayers, but drama makes me nervous, and this is a collection of 12 short plays written as a cycle.  They were actually written to be performed on the radio (and were, on the BBC).  They make up a life of Christ, written in a modern vernacular so as to be more immediate and less like stained-glass pictures (that is, all fancy and remote).  Jesus and his followers were not really fancy or remote people, after all. 

Sayers was very careful with her project; she was a serious scholar and theologian, so while she's translating into a vernacular she is being extremely cautious about it, making sure to get the right feeling and not to let it turn into the utter disaster it could so easily be. So the introductions to each play describe the social station of each character and what the players should aim for, which is great information to have.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I loved these plays so much.  They are so easy to get immersed in, and just really good.  The characters jump right off the page.  It's fantastic stuff.  I've found what look to be online streaming recordings of performances, so I'll be listening!

3 comments:

cleopatra said...

I can imagine that the enjoyment of these plays was a surprise. On one hand, she can be viewed as a writer of mysteries from her Peter Wimsey series, but she also translated The Divine Comedy, so perhaps her proficiency shouldn't be underestimated. Thanks for the introduction and review. I probably wouldn't have read these plays without it!

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

I'd love to find recordings of these so I could actually listen to them! I think I've got a copy of this on my bookshelves somewhere -- I need to hunt it down. I love Dorothy Sayers.

Jean said...

Here's the link I found, but I make no claims as to reliability, legality, or lurking malware. I haven't listened to anything yet. http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/The+Man+Born+To+Be+King/6153293