Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ANOTHER ASPECT OF DUMBNESS in the work of Elaine Showalter

Another aspect of the dumbness of Elaine Showalter became apparent when a friend, TW sent me a list of his favorite novels written by women--- his list by gender which he did with the provocation that ES probably did not include them in her book--- but the listing was something he would not normally do as he like myself is uninterested in the sexual equipment of a writer:

Barbara Pym - Quartet in Autumn
Barbara Comyns - Who Was Changed and Who Who Was Dead
Muriel Spark - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Anna Kavan - Ice
Penelope Mortimer - The Handyman
Penelope Fitzgerald - Gate of Angels
Anita Brookner - Incident in the Rue Langier
Hannah Green - The Dead of the House
Shirley Jackson - We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Tremor of Forgery - Patricia Highsmith
Ilse Aichinger - The Greater Hope
Margarita Karapanou - Kassandra and the Wolf
Espido Freire – Irlanda

TW added for completeness in a subsequent email, THE GATE OF ANGELS by Penelope Fitzgerald.

The Aichinger novel in particular reminded me of another further dumbness of books like ES’s.

It is bad enough that she has chosen to write only about writers who possess a vagina but she was also requiring them to have American passports… so of course she is limited to writing for example about a pathetic and minor writer like Sylvia Plath when she could have been able to write a far more interesting book if she had gone beyond the narrow focus based upon the passports or self-declared ethnicity of her writers.

I was thinking of novels, stories and poems by writers like Ingeborg Bachmann, Marina Tsvetaeva, Clarice Lispector, Nelida Pinon, Jean Rhys, Violette Leduc …