Dr. Risa Applegarth

  • English
  • Associate Professor, 2015
Dr. Risa Applegarth

Gaudy Night
by Dorothy Sayers

Dorothy Sayers was an accomplished scholar as well as an unparalleled writer of mysteries, my favorite genre for pleasure reading. I read scores of Golden Age mysteries by Sayers, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and others as I wrote my dissertation, grew comfortable in my job at UNCG, revised my dissertation into my first book, and went through the tenure process, and I think all my reading for pleasure helped to keep me not only sane but enormously happy and satisfied throughout these transitions. This book in particular resonates with both my personal and professional selves: Gaudy Night dramatizes the tensions and debates surrounding women's education in the early 20th century, connecting it with my research; and my daughter, Harriet, is named after Sayers' mystery-writing heroine, Harriet Vane, who is bright, strong-willed, complex, intellectually tenacious and--ultimately--very happy.