NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS ON SHOWALTER'S 'A JURY OF HER PEERS' CH. 5
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. 5 Masterpieces and Mass Markets
American women writing for the marketplace in the 1850s. (Capitalism.)
Pg. 71 (Our society says that it values democracy – the reality is that it values the elite, those with money, more.)
Widely read vs. academic life support. (Is Harry Potter literature?)
Fanny Fern was impressed with Walt Whitman’s deep voice, “muscular throat” and “fine, ample chest.” (If a man were to describe a woman in such a manner, how would he be perceived?)
Money makes bitter enemies: Whitman vs. Fern. (Was there more than friendship to the relationship?)
Fatal weakening of women dependent on men.
Nathaniel Hawthorne: “Generally women write like emasculated men…”
Julia Ward Howe – wrote lyrics to “Battle Hymn of the Republic” the tune is “John Brown’s Body.”
(The hermaphrodite as a symbol of women who must become men?)
Howe’s husband made her choose between children and poetry.
Sentimental and emotion from women in the 1850s. (Was it too much?)
“Like it or not, married women had to cope with the responsibilities of housework and make it fit with their writing.” (And men? Did men just get to write? Were they coming home and propping up their feet? Or did they work 12 to 18 hours a day?)
Domesticity vs. creativity
Deranged by household drudgery – (The Feminine Mystique)
“Work – work – work…” (Isn’t this where we, men and women, are at now?) Mary McIntosh describing the pressures on housewives and mothers.
Mary Virginia Hawes Terhune – published in her teens; domestic monotony as a cause of female madness.
Augusta Jane Evans – first novel at 15; “southern” writer
Susan and Anna Warner – sisters; no fashion, no parties; Anna wrote the words to “Jesus Loves Me.”
Heroines of domestic novels found rewards in submission and sacrifice.
In Southern fiction women could run away.
E.D.E.N. Southworth gained a contract with “New York Ledger.”