London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1947. First edition. 12 mo., original red cloth, original dust jacket. Neat verso reinforcement to corners and ends of unclipped original jacket. A near-fine copy. Item #1164
"LET THE CHURCH REMEMBER THIS: THAT EVERY MAKER AND WORKER IS CALLED TO SERVE GOD IN HIS PROFESSION—NOT OUTSIDE IT"
First book edition collecting seven "occasional" wartime speeches and essays by Dorothy L. Sayers—her second contribution to the Bridgeheads series and an influential work of Christian apologetics. Complete with the scarce original Bridgeheads dust jacket.
Friendly with Charles Williams and C.S. Lewis (but not, evidently, with J.R.R. Tolkien), Sayers was the only female (and the only non-Inkling) contributor to Essays Presented to Charles Williams (1945), now considered to be the high-water mark of the Inklings as a group. Sayers was also compatible with the ideas advocated by Belloc and Chesterton. Why Work? an address "on the sanctifying power of work as an act of creation—a theme so resonant and reminiscent of the preaching and practice of McNabb and Gill" (Joseph Pearce), seems to assume the banner of Distributism.
Contents: I. The Greatest Drama Ever Staged (is the Official Creed of Christendom), II. The Triumph of Easter, III. Strong Meat, IV. The Dogma is the Drama, V. Creed or Chaos? (An Address delivered at Derby, May 4th, 1940"), VI. Why Work? (An Address delivered at Eastbourne, April 23rd, 1942), VII. The Other Six Deadly Sins (An Address delivered at Westminster, October 23rd, 1941). With a brief prefatory note by the author: "I have not attempted to remove from them the traces of their occasional origin, such as topical references or the rhythm of the spoken word, but have left them (to use the bookseller's phrase) 'with all faults,' as originally written or delivered."
The Bridgeheads series recognized that "a new non-political but radical attitude to current institutions is urgently called for and will come about as a result of the war." Inaugurated in 1941 with the Mind of the Maker, "the series represented something of a crusade for Sayers who saw the need to revitalize society so that the world after the war could be better than the world which had preceded it and which had caused it" (Joseph Pearce). A second impression was published in 1954 and several of the essays were later reprinted in the Whimsical Christian. Pearce. Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief.