NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS ON SHOWALTER'S 'A JURY OF HER PEERS' CH. 3
Jury of Her Peers is a book that traces the development of women’s literature in the United States. These notes are taken from the book as part of the Diverse Women Writers course at Salt Lake Community College. The title of the book is taken from a short story that involves a wife killing her husband.
Ch. 3: Their Native Land
Some women writers justified their writing as being done after the household chores, or they showed how to carve time to write.
Lydia Maria Child – edited “Juvenile Miscellany;” wanted American scenes with American characters instead of British. (If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.)
“I am American enough to prefer money to fame.”
Argued for interracial marriage.
Wrote “Over the River and Through the Woods” song.
Understood the Puritan psychology.
(Seems to struggle with the question of race for Native Americans.)
(The mundane and repetitive, housework, steal creativity.)
Catharine Maria Sedgwick – used the crazy woman, mad woman archetype in stories
Captivity is part of the female condition.
Noble Indian as a woman.
“First to none.” “The unnatural state of a solitary condition.”
Caroline Kirkland – comedy writer; hinted at a botched abortion (sometimes, it takes comedy to make a point.)
(If I have seen farther, it is only because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.)
Ch. 4 Finding a Form
Margaret Fuller – Feminist, wanted a form NOW that allowed freedom for the writer to be a woman.
(Looking for that quick fix. England has it. America needs it. How can America in the 1840s expect to match the history of English literature? It’s kind of like getting fit. Spent 10 years getting out of shape, and get upset when after 30 days of exercise you aren’t back into shape yet.)
“Her poetry was skilled but unmemorable.” (She wanted to write intellect and action not love and emotion.)
Loneliness of the American woman intellectual.
Fuller’s greatest achievement was her journalist dispatches about the Italian Revolution and its collapse.
(Fawn and worry over writing until child took place of writing and used that energy?)
Poets – women saddled with sentimentality in the 1840s; men wrote equally inane poems in the 1840s.
Large quantity of women poets was a source of pride regardless of quality of poetry.
Lydia Huntley Sigourney – Breadwinner for her family, shameless self-promoter, didn’t like how Native Americans were treated
Anna Cora Mowatt – playwright who recited Shakespeare to audiences consisting of men and women