There is today [Saturday] ... and has been ... correspondence in The Times about alleged antisemitism in the writings of Dorothy Sayers.
I think DLS has been defended on the grounds that her thought-crime was simply that of her time, so she can be forgiven.
I think this entirely, horribly, grossly misses the point. In DLS's first whodunnit, it turns out that the killer is an upper-class WASP intellectual with the socio-ethical assumpptions of his time. The victim is a Jew to whom Sayers ascribes every human virtue that the human mind can conceive.
Modern 'critics' lack intelligence and subtlety. They are not fit to read or to comment on writers who had a capacity to use and to understand nuance or to handle the implicit.
And censorship of un-PC language in the children's books of Roald Dahl has recently been a News item. You're right: wokery rampant and horrible. I won't get onto Blyton ...
And Billy Bunter ... I recall wokery and the Modern Age getting their nasty little noses in there, too. I believe Bunter was censored so that the Kickings of the Fat Boy were eliminated. Moreover: the passages, some of them hilarious funny, which end with Henry Samuel Quelch M.A. flogging Bunter for comical errors in his construe of Latin, still make my nostrils twitch. The only intelligent member of the Greyfriars Remove seems to be an Indian aristocrat ...
Some readers may have noticed that I rather like reading well-written 1930s English ... Lewis, Sayers ... yesterday I was travelling in that Time Machine again, and noticed this in Mgr Knox's The Body on the Silo: "Wherever you went, there was noise; there a loudspeaker breathing out throaty inaccuracies about tomorrow's weather, there a gramophone, wallowing in the revolting eroticism of the American negro, and his still more revolting religiosity; nor did anybody seem inclined to hush these noises as a prelude to conversation."
In Waugh, we meet Chokey, who "though graceful of bearing and irreproachably dressed, was a Negro. ... 'What price the coon?' [Sam Clutterbuck] asked ... 'I've got a friend lives in Savannah ... he's told me a thing or two about niggers ... to put it bluntly, they have uncontrollable passions ' ... 'What a terrible thing!'said Grimes."
And Sayers: "'God bless my soul,' said Sir Charles, horrified, 'an English girl in the hands of a nigger. How abominable!' [An English girl] 'carried off for some end unthinkably sinister, by a black man ... [a newspaper] came out ... with a patriotic leader about the danger of encouraging coloured aliens."
These last three writers were sophisticated commentators of the 1930s cultural scene; the absurdities they parody most certainly did not coincide with their own attitudes. In the novel by Sayers, the 'clues' were confected by the murderess herself, a very English and upper-class girl (the only actual negro in the story is totally innocent, harmless, admirable and decent). In Waugh, the loftily censorious Harrovian Captain Grimes is ... the reader has been very clearly told ... a disreputable paedophile.
Let me be clear about what I am saying.
The finest writers of that period, particularly those from a Christian stable, subverted the prejudices of their time by putting them onto the lips of disreputable or risible characters.
Parody can be a profoundly elegant way of making social comments, and should cetainly not be illicit.
I think it is disgraceful ... and a bad genre-error ... to be blind (or do I mean deaf?) to nuanced writing.
Are we to be deprived of the opportunity of hearing the finest satirists of that period attacking the absurd prejudices of their dim contemporaries?
And all because their vocabulary, which neatly mirrors the bigotry of the time, happens to have fallen foul of some rule-book arrogantly imposed upon us by adolescent modern wokery?