Item #1487 The Man Born to Be King; A Play-Cycle on the Life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Dorothy L. Sayers.
The Man Born to Be King; A Play-Cycle on the Life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
The Man Born to Be King; A Play-Cycle on the Life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
The Man Born to Be King; A Play-Cycle on the Life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
The Man Born to Be King; A Play-Cycle on the Life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

The Man Born to Be King; A Play-Cycle on the Life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

London: Victor Gollancz, 1943. First edition. Octavo, original blue cloth, gilt spine, original dust jacket. Slight vertical peak to center spine, textblock cracked at p.64 but binding solid, faint toning to jacket spine with tape repair to verso. A near-fine copy. Item #1487

"THESE THINGS ARE WRITTEN THAT YE MIGHT BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD"

First book edition of the Man Born to Be King—an ambitious, and controversial, wartime play-cycle on the Life of Christ by Dorothy Sayers. Originally presented on the radio by the BBC, these twelve plays were broadcast from December 1941—October 1942. A handsome copy.

Though she was a not a member of the Inklings, Dorothy Sayers "had much in common with Lewis and Tolkien's circle, including a love of orthodox Christianity, traditional verse, popular fiction, and debate" (Zaleski and Zaleski). "Lewis...praised her Jesus play, The Man Born to Be King, a wartime BBC radio drama, which he re-read 'every Holy Week since it first appeared and never re-read...without being deeply moved'" (Zaleski and Zaleski). Sayers was close with Lewis and Charles Williams (but not with J.R.R. Tolkien) and she was the only female—and the only non-Inkling—invited to contribute to Essays Presented to Charles Williams (1945).

The run-up to the initial broadcast was hampered by internal concerns and external controversy. According to a Foreword by J.W. Welch (the Director of Religious Broadcasting at the B.B.C), a "storm broke" after Sayers attended a press conference where several journalists mis-represented her comments: "a few used the occasion for sensational reporting and at least one was guilty of misrepresentation" and the play was widely condemned before it was broadcast: "It was not an encouraging reception for a great evangelistic enterprise." The text is preceded by the author's valuable Introduction ("Finis, finis, finis, / Ludendo dicit!), her Dedication to her BBC producer, Val Gielgud (the older brother of John Gielgud) and a poem, The Makers: "The Maker of the men that make / Will stoop between the cherubim, / The towel and the basin take, / And serve the servants who serve Him." Zaleski and Zaleski. The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings.

Price: $150.00

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