20 February 2013

"Genre" Be Damned!

Yes, I enjoy reading mystery novels.

And some of the ones I've enjoyed the most come from the Sister Frevisse series by Minnesota writer Margaret Frazer. It seemed unlikely at first that that series would be the one for me--taking place in the fifteenth century, which meant snoozefest to my way of thinking--but I became really attached to it. Thus, I had chafed whenever I checked the author's Wikipedia page and saw that 2008's The Apostate's Tale was, indeed, still the most recent book.

I have no doubt the Sister Frevisse series has enriched my life. It taught me a great deal about the historical context that until that point had, as I mentioned above, equaled snoozefest; in fact, the series brought it to life. Thus, I knew to root for York during American Players Theatre's production of Richard III last summer from the outset; and the recent discovery of that same monarch's remains near a carpark (!) did not send me scrambling to look up Plantagenet because the Frevisse series already had.

And Frazer's Frevisse series continues to expand my intellectual culture. In my Women in Art Education and Art class, I am much more attentive to the medieval and Renaissance material than I would have been pre-Sister Frevisse. And, also, because of Frazer's excellent research, I am familiar with the conventions quite literally surrounding women during the medieval and Renaissance eras. Also, in some way the Frevisse books illuminated a way in which women during that time period could eke out some degree of control and vocation in their lives.

Thus, I am saddened to know that Margaret Frazer died earlier this month. Here is a link to her obituary.

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