NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS ON SHOWALTER'S 'A JURY OF HER PEERS' Ch. 2
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. 2 Revolution: Women’s Rights and Women’s Writing
In the 1770s, there weren’t many men or women writing.
Mercy Otis Warren – wrote plays and history of the American Revolution.
Phillis Wheatley – an African-American poet born in Africa. (Clearly a genius.)
Wheatley got a bad rap from other African Americans in the 1960s who viewed her as “a sell-out, an inauthentic black woman with a white mind...[p. 22]” (Judging out of context of the situation doesn’t do anyone any good. Wheatley was brought over as a slave when she was about 7. She had no formal education, picked up language with an amazing capacity and was indoctrinated by her owners. Judging her on what someone would have wanted her to write is not right. She was not capable of writing anything other than what she did – which was amazing given her circumstances.)
Wheatley was freed by the family that purchased her.
Judith Sargent Murray – the first feminist (complained of The Feminine Mystique – the dullness of housework and such.) Took on a male pseudonym, persona for writing.
Murray believed that novels were the gateway to more serious books and that drama creates rational, educated, engaged citizens.
Susanna Rowson – The first American woman novelist with a best-seller, Charlotte Temple, which was only unseated by Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Had a tinge of feminism.