Note. Undergraduate literature seminars produce student essays which are of no use to anybody after they have fulfilled their one and only purpose, the acquisition of credits in the form of a Schein? Not necessarily. In winter 1996/97, the participants of a seminar on Ellis Peters held in the English Department, Faculty of Applied Linguistics and Culture Studies, University of Mainz, together wrote an article which was published in the November 1997 issue of Cuadernos de Literatura Inglesa y Norteamericana, a biannual periodical edited at the Universidad Católica Argentina, Buenos Aires, by Rosa E. Penna and María Alejandra Rosarossa. The seminar was directed by Susanne Hagemann. The students who took part in it were Susanne Bonn, Nana Dabanka, Stefanie Emminger, Susanne Farun, Gudrun Hinze, Ulrike Hoffmann, Corinna Keinath, Kaina Kobs, Malgorzata Kurowska, Regine Larue, Antje Möll, Nicole Niebling and Gesa Rothengatter. We are grateful to the editors of Cuadernos for permission to reproduce the article in electronic form.
Abstract. The essay will examine three of Ellis Peters's Brother Cadfael mysteries, set in the twelfth century, with regard to the interplay of four factors: genre, time, place and gender. It will be argued that these factors are closely related, intersecting in a complex manner. Peters varies the pattern of the classical detective story by adding a medieval setting, a cultural tension between Wales and England, and a love story. It can be shown that her departure from the "Golden Age" pattern is less radical than it might appear at first glance. Her treatment of time, in particular, is clearly governed by genre conventions. Place and gender, interacting with each other as well as with time, support the workings of genre through a discourse which, while seemingly assigning positive roles to women and Celts, in fact proves to be both Anglocentric and androcentric.
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