Monday, March 27, 2017

Give it a try, it is actually good in spite of the subversive praise

I came across A Jury of her Peers by Susan Glaspell in an anthology. Glaspell builds the story off of a murder she reported in 1917, The Hossack Murder.

A Jury of her Peers is a tense, brief, haiku-like story of a midwestern murder with strong psychological undercurrents.

Wikipedia describes the story in this fashion.
It is seen as an example of early feminist literature because two female characters are able to solve a mystery that the male characters cannot.
What a fatally flawed description. By attaching the limiting qualifier "feminist literature" it by default implies that it is not quite good enough to compete at the level of the superset of all literature. An implication that is wrong. Describe it as good literature, don't tar it with the closetedness of "feminist literature."

I have close to zero interest in feminist literature as the guff ratio (GR) is so high. But this short story is a brilliant rendition.

Certainly Glaspell might be an exemplar of early female authors but it does her a disservice to couch this as feminist literature. By trying to highlight her sex, it trivializes her achievement. Ironically, that is a common dynamic among postmodernist totalitarians. "Read this because it is by victimhood group X" is far less effective a recommendation than "Read this because it is good."

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