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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Quick Link: Roiphe on Showalter

For those who care about such things, weirdo rape-apologist intellectual Katie Roiphe takes on Elaine Showalter's A Jury of Her Peers in this week's NYTBR. It's not much of a review, but worth browsing for those interested in the book.

By the way, my (and others') thesis that the NYTBR hires known anti-feminists to review feminist work on the regular continues to be proven.

Here's my original post on Showalter's book. And (UPDATE) do check out the comments below--we're getting into the nitty gritty of Roiphe's craptastic review.


  1. Roiphe's review is pretty weak sauce. I'm only hit the Civil War section so far but this sentence clued me in that Roiphe read the book without reading: "It may not be sensitive to say that some, just some, of the writers in this generous volume might have rightfully been relegated to obscurity, but one can’t help thinking, at times, that literary history may have passed them over for a reason, jus as it has passed over mediocre male writers." So far, Showalter has been quick to point out that women's writing is really a wonder, what with the whole "angel in the house" reality they lived in. Could Roiphe write in a deeply misogynist culture while she was having a baby a year and trying to earn a living for her family since her dear spouse was depressed and a humbug? Would she write great literary works? Or better yet, would she write them as a single woman, a spinster, a social outcast? That's doubtful too.
    I think Showalter does weed out quite a few "mediocre writers". What Roiphe also fails to notice is that a lot of "mediocre writers", those male, go down in history. Longfellow and all his ilk are an excellent example. So anyway, that review was irritating and pointless. Showalter does a good job of explaining why she picks whom she picks. Roiphe just wasn't reading.

    And yes, I may have ranted a bit in there!

  2. I should probably tack on (since Roiphe was really addressing her review to the modern day writers that Showalter picked), that the whole "angel in the house" mythos that women lived in then is still very much a reality today. Only now it has a career in it. And I wouldn't be surprised that Roiphe's whole "you need to pick writers who write like men otherwise it's just silly" beat is due to her own laboring of one modern intellectual "angel." This division of angel believes "playing with the boys will validate my work. If I write like a man, I will have arrived." And so Roiphe's writing is striving under adverse conditions as well and it seems like the adversity is making her writing weak as any mediocre writer.

    okay. I swear that was the last shot in my locker! Woah, I haven't ranted in a Really long time (not since college. that made me rant on a near constancy) so I hope this came off cohesive. Phew.

  3. Catherine, I couldn't agree with you more. Not ranty at all! Kate "rape is women's fault" Roiphe's review is nitpicky and uninformed. I can't believe that the NYTimes would over and over again pick women with known anti-feminist biases to review feminist books.

    Furthermore, I took umbrage at her dismissal of Showalter's critique of The House of Mirth and Daddy, both of which were valid... and I LIKE that Showalter included Jennifer Weiner and Terry McMillan instead of stuffy, unreadable Claire MEssud.

    So in conclusion, Roiphe=FAIL. Showlater, ftw. :)

  4. we just need a lol cat to show how much Rophie's FAILed.