Can a Woman Write the Great American Novel?
It sounds like an inane question-one whose affirmative answer is augmented by a taken-aback eye roll-but it was inspired by Salon's excellent review of Elaine Showalter's probing historical critique (or perhaps it's a critical history) of American women writers, A Jury of Her Peers. Whereas women writers tend to hold their own in the literary marketplace, the reviewer notes, they are vastly outnumbered in the literary canon. Why? (There are some interesting answers in the review, and, by extension, in Showalter's book.)True, it's probably high time we ditched the notion of the Great American Novel altogether, as the quest to embody the some singular national identity or ethos is laughable. Yet I want to know what you think:Can a women write (or, of course, have women written) the Great American Novel? (Examples are encouraged.)