Greetings from Cloud-Cuckooland

Courtesy of my new favorite quotation, from Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night:

“[H]owever realistic the background, the novelist’s only native country is Cloud-Cuckooland, where they do but jest, poison in jest: no offense in the world.”


The comment is made in the context of apologizing for having arranged various bits of the historical record to suit the author’s fancy, but Sayers conveys a much deeper truth: no matter how precise an author may attempt to be, we are, in the end, purveyors of fiction. We deal in airy nothings made concrete by the application of a pen. Our works are, in essence, epistles from Cloud-Cuckooland.

Sayers borrows from Hamlet there with the whole “poison in jest” bit, but what it made me think of was A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream with its description of poets as those who “give to airy nothing/ a local habitation and a name.”

I’m quite happy to claim Cloud-Cuckooland as my local habitation.


  1. Lois on June 4, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Oh heck, I’m not a writer, but I’m always in Cloud-Cuckooland! 😉


  2. Beth Vaughn on June 4, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Amen to that Lois! I am right there with you! =)~

  3. Camille la Flamme on June 5, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Poison in jest seems to be my life lately. -_-;

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