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Reynolds, Barbara 1914-

Reynolds, Barbara 1914-


Born June 13, 1914, in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England; daughter of Alfred Charles (a composer) and Barbara (a singer), Reynolds; married Lewis Thorpe (a professor of French), September 5, 1939; children: Adrian Charles, Kerstin. Ethnicity: "White." Education: University of London, B.A. (French; with honors), 1935, B.A. (Italian; with honors), 1936, Ph.D., 1948; Cambridge University, M.A., 1940. Religion: Church of England.


Home—Cambridge, England; fax: 01223-424-894. E-mail—[email protected]


University of London, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, England, assistant lecturer in Italian, 1937-40; Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, lecturer in Italian, 1940-62; University of Nottingham, Nottingham, England, lecturer in Italian and warden of a residence hall, 1963-69, reader in Italian studies, 1969-78. Wheaton College, Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton, IL, cofounder and managing editor of Seven: Anglo-American Literary Review. Cambridge University, member of council of senate, 1960-62.


Society for Italian Studies (honorary secretary, 1948-52; member of executive committee, 1946-62), University Women's Club (chair, 1988-90), Dorothy L. Sayers Society (chair; president, 1994—).


Silver Cultural Medal, 1964, for services to Italian culture; Edmund Gardner Prize, 1964, for original Italian scholarship; Monselice International Prize, 1976, for translating Orlando Furioso: The Frenzy of Orlando, a Romantic Epic; Cavaliere Ufficiale al Merito della Republica Italiana, 1978.


The Linguistic Writings of Alessandro Manzoni: A Textual and a Chronological Reconstruction, Heffer (Cambridge, England), 1950.

(With husband, Lewis Thorpe) Guido Farina, Valdonega (Verona, Italy), 1967.

Concise Cambridge Italian Dictionary, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1975.

The Passionate Intellect: Dorothy L. Sayers' Encounter with Dante, Kent State University Press (Kent, OH), 1989.

Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1993, 2nd revised edition, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2002.

The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers, Volume 1: 1899-1936: The Making of a Detective Novelist, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1995, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996, Volume 2: 1937-1943: From Novelist to Playwright, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997, Volume 3: 1944-1950: A Noble Daring, Carole Green Publishing (Cambridge, England), 1998, Volume 4: 1951-1957: In the Midst of Life, Carole Green Publishing (Cambridge, England), 2000.


(With K.T. Butler, and coauthor of introduction and notes) Tredici novelle moderne, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1947, 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1959.

M.A. Orr, Dante and the Early Astronomers, 2nd edition, Wingate (London, England), 1956.

(General editor and chief contributor) The Cambridge Italian Dictionary, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), Volume 1, 1962, Volume 2, 1980.

Cambridge-Signorelli Italian-English, English-Italian Dictionary, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1986.

(With William Radice) The Translator's Art: Essays in Honor of Betty Radice, Penguin (New York, NY), 1987.

Dante: The Poet, the Political Thinker, the Man, Shoemaker & Hoard (Emeryville, CA), 2006.


(With Dorothy L. Sayers) Dante Alighieri, The Comedy of Dante Alighieri, the Florentine: Paradise, Penguin (New York, NY), 1962.

Dante Alighieri, La vita nuova: Poems of Youth, Penguin (New York, NY), 1969.

Lodovico Ariosto, Orlando Furioso: The Frenzy of Orlando, a Romantic Epic, Penguin (New York, NY), Volume 1, 1975, Volume 2, 1977.

Also translator of The Complete Six Voice Madrigals for Mixed Voices, by Luca Marenzio, edited by John Steele and Suzanne Court, Gaudia Music and Arts (New York, NY), 2001-02, and The Complete Five Voice Madrigals: For Mixed Voices in Five Parts, by Marco da Gagliano, Gaudia Music and Arts (New York, NY), 2003—.


Barbara Reynolds has won acclaim for her biography Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul. Sayers was a British writer who made her name as the author of detective novels during the 1920s. Her mysteries featured a sensitive, aristocratic detective named Lord Peter Wimsey. Sayers was well-educated, the daughter of an Anglican minister who began teaching her Latin when she was six years old. She had a brilliant mind, and was capable of taking in much from her rich, early education. As an adult, Sayers worked for an advertising agency for a time; in addition to her novels, she created plays for both the theater and radio, translated Dante's Divine Comedy, and wrote Christian apologetics that are compared to those of C.S. Lewis. Scholarly, witty, and interested in many things, Sayers had a dramatic personal life as well, one that included disastrous love affairs, a failed marriage, and a son born secretly whom she supported—but did not acknowledge as her own—for the rest of her life. Sayers died while at work on her translation of Dante, a difficult work she undertook with great joy. Reynolds uses excerpts from Sayers's writings and her personal correspondence to shed light on her story, and her biography is a "discerning depiction of this intriguing woman," stated a Publishers Weekly writer. Reviewing Dorothy L. Sayers in Christianity Today, Alzina Stone Dale called it "a welcome and loving portrait of an outstanding artist and Christian." In addition to her biography, Reynolds has also edited several volumes of Sayers's correspondence.

Reynolds turned to the life of Sayers's beloved Dante in her 2006 publication, Dante: The Poet, the Political Thinker, the Man. As the title suggests, Reynolds's book illuminates Dante's varied contributions, particularly his masterwork, the Divine Comedy, which contains both religious and political symbolism. In addition to being a philosophical thinker, Dante was also very much a man of his time, one who enjoyed life and music to the fullest. Reynolds approaches his life through his work, pointing out the ways his personality comes through in his writing. She theorizes that most of his minor publications were originally delivered as lectures, and also suggests that much of the Divine Comedy was also performed for an audience in its early stages. Her narrative is "always refreshing and fluent and, though it is accessible to the general reader, it is also of value to the specialist," noted T.L. Cooksey in a Library Journal review. Jonathan Keates noted in Spectator: "Her admiration, though profound, is not that of the groveller or the fantasist. Her book brings us nearer perhaps than any writer since Boccaccio to Dante as a plausible human being, the gentleman, warrior and lover, as opposed to the dispossessed dreamer on whom many commentators have preferred to dwell."



Booklist, October 1, 2006, Bryce Christensen, review of Dante: The Poet, the Political Thinker, the Man, p. 18.

Christian Century, May 18, 1994, Peter S. Hawkins, review of Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul, p. 527.

Christianity Today, December 13, 1993, Alzina Stone Dale, review of Dorothy L. Sayers, p. 43.

Commonweal, January 28, 1994, Edward T. Oakes, review of Dorothy L. Sayers, p. 28.

Economist, December 2, 2006, review of Dante, p. 84.

Entertainment Weekly, April 26, 1996, Megan Harlan, review of The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers, 1899-1936: The Making of a Detective Novelist, p. 52.

Library Journal, October 1, 2006, T.L. Cooksey, review of Dante, p. 72.

Publishers Weekly, September 20, 1993, review of Dorothy L. Sayers, p. 59; August 7, 2006, review of Dante, p. 42.

Spectator, June 30, 2006, Jonathan Keates, review of Dante.

World Literature Today, winter, 1995, Daniel Patrick King, review of Dorothy Sayers, p. 150.

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