Dorothy L. Sayers’ Gaudy Night Essay

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Dorothy L. Sayers’ Gaudy Night When Gayle Wald wrote, “Sayers’s career writing detective stories effectively ends with Gaudy Night” (108), she did not present a new argument, but continued the tradition that Gaudy Night does not center on the detective story. Barbara Harrison even labeled Dorothy Sayers’s Lord Peter/Harriet Vane books, Strong Poison, Gaudy Night, and Busman’s Honeymoon, as “deliriously happy-ending romances” (66). The label stretches the definition of a romance, but Gaudy Night indeed has very little to do with crime. Sayers encrypted the real story within her detective novel. This story behind the story narrates love and human relationships. In fact, the crimes in Gaudy Night only supply a convenient way for…show more content…
We usually think of crypts as graves or coded messages, similar to the letter in Have His Carcasse. The notion of a crypt, however, contains a deeper psychological meaning. Crypts deal with the ideas of introjection and incorporation. These concepts identify the alternative ways in which the psyche handles trauma. When the psyche introjects a trauma, the trauma melds into the subconscious. If the psyche successfully assimilates the trauma, it unites with the rest of the psyche, much like a cube of ice (the trauma) melting in a glass of water (the psyche). Incorporation occurs when trauma embeds itself into the psyche, but remains separate and, therefore, separable. If we return to the idea of the psyche as a glass of water, incorporation resembles what happens when a Ping-Pong ball (the trauma) drops into a glass of water. The ball remains a lump in the psyche. Jacques Derrida wrote about the crypt “sealing the loss of the object, but also marking the refusal to mourn . . . I pretend to keep the dead alive, intact, safe (save) inside me, but it is only to refuse, in a necessarily equivocal way, to love the dead as a living part of me, dead save in me, through the process of introjection, as happens in so-called normal mourning” (“Foreword” 17). The tomb stands then as an incorporation of the trauma of death. We physically mark the place of rest as a mirror of our inability to assimilate that trauma

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