Author, poet, critic, and suffragist Mary Amelia St. Clair was a contemporary of and acquainted with Henry James, Thomas Hardy, Ford Madox Ford, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Rebecca West, among others. She served as an ambulance driver in World War I, and produced poetry and fiction based on it.
Superseded takes place in a girl's school whose headmistress, Miss Cursiter, is a formidable and not entirely likeable woman with "an intelligence fervent with the fire of the enthusiast, cold with the renunciate's frost." Miss Cursiter wishes to improve education, and advocates her students spend their evenings studying great literature, but charts a course not all of her charges are fit to follow. As a character puts it, "Your precious system . . . sets up the same absurd standard for every woman, the brilliant genius and the average imbecile," with results that lead to tragedy.