Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ordering Art About

I wonder what Dorothy Sayers would say about some of the “Christian films” that have been produced in recent years. In his biography of Sayers, David Coomes writes (summarizing Sayers’ approach in writing a play about Christ), “It was not properly the object of a work of art to preach, teach, convince, convert, evangelize; her sole legitimate object had been to tell the story – nothing more and nothing less. Quality was all important: piety and a prayerful spirit would not turn a bad play into a good one, and all too often sloppy books, amateurish plays and syrupy music provided intelligent people with powerful arguments against the Church. The corruption of intellectual integrity had to be guarded against. Religion might be superior to Art, but Religion should resist the temptation to order Art about; the artist’s task was not to do good, but to express truth according to his or her own experience.

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