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This monumental anthology of 350 years of American women writers is an important corrective to the literary canon and a showcase of great poetry and fiction in one readable and provocative volume.
For centuries, Elaine Showalter argues, women writers have been trivialized, marginalized, overlooked, and even forgotten in American literary history. Showalter's recent book A Jury of Her Peers set out to correct this injustice by mapping the place of women in our literary heritage, rescuing the obscure and forgotten while putting the overrated in their place. This anthology is a companion to that book, and will help to fuel debate for years to come. Showalter includes work by nearly 80 significant women writers, from Anne Bradstreet in the 1600s to Jhumpa Lahiri in the 2000s. She set out to select these writers' most representative and compelling work, ignoring the warping influences of critical fashion, political correctness, and received wisdom. The result allows us to see our famous and familiar women writers in their full historical and literary context, and to encounter lesser-known women of the past whose work deserves to be rediscovered and enjoyed.