[PW] Request help tracing Dorothy L. Sayers quote: As years come in and years go out / I totter toward the tomb

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Mon Oct 29 11:07:42 PDT 2018

This message is a follow-up to the request I made back on September
21st . The Quote Investigator website now has an article about the
poem in the subject line:

As Years Come In and Years Go Out, I Totter Toward the Tomb

[Begin acknowledgment]
Great thanks to Donna Halper who responded to a mailing list inquiry
from QI by pointing to “The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers: Volume Two”
which contained an instance of the poem within a footnote. The
footnote pointed to Barbara Reynolds 1993 biography of Sayers. Halper
also pointed to an instance in the 1996 collection titled “The Poetry
of Dorothy L. Sayers” edited by Ralph E. Hone. In addition, thanks to
discussant Dave Hause. Many thanks to the staff of Buswell Library at
Wheaton College who provided crucial scans of the 1953 letter from
“The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers: Volume Four”.
[End acknowledgment]

On Fri, Sep 21, 2018 at 1:49 AM Donna Halper <dlh at donnahalper.com> wrote:
> On 9/21/2018 12:07 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
> > Yet, uncertainty remains because multiple versions of the verse are
> > circulating. The book below apparently contains a letter written by
> > Sayers clarifying the topic.
> >
> > Year: 2000
> > Title: The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers: 1951-1957
> > Volume 4: In the Midst of Life
> > Author: Dorothy L. Sayers (Dorothy Leigh Sayers)
> > Editor: Barbara Reynolds
> > Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, London
> > Alternate Publisher: The Dorothy L. Sayers Society
> > Quote Page 80
> > Database: Google Books Snippet; data may be inaccurate and must be
> > verified with hardcopy or scans
> For what it's worth, I find the first version ("As years come in and
> years go out")  mentioned on p. 236 of "The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers
> Vol II: 1937-1943: From Novelist to Playwright," edited by Barbara
> Reynolds (via Google Books).  It references a 3 March 1941 letter in
> which Sayers says she doesn't believe that morals can be reduced to who
> went to bed with whom. Reynolds, in a footnote, refers back to the "as
> years come in and years go out" version of the quote.  And Reynolds also
> cites comments from Sayers herself, about that specific version of the
> quote and why she wrote it like that, on p. 363 of "Dorothy L. Sayers:
> Her Life and Soul," p. 363 (also via Google Books).  Ralph Hone quotes
> this version of the poem as well in his "The Poetry of Dorothy L.
> Sayers" (p. 152).   But for whatever reason, newspapers do not quote
> this version.  The other version, about "as I grow older and older" is
> often repeated by newspaper columnists in the 1980s and 1990s.
> --
> Donna L. Halper, PhD
> Associate Professor of Communication & Media Studies
> Lesley University, Cambridge MA

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