More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. More Than The Yellow Wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman is best known for the story "The Yellow Wallpaper" , about a married female writer who goes mad after being confined to her room as a cure for post-partum depression, and deprived of all creative outlets. To a certain extent, it is autobiographical, although Charlotte succeeded in escaping her first marriage, moved to California, flourished as a writer, and married her cousin Houghton Gilman in She continued writing and lecturing More Than The Yellow Wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman is best known for the story "The Yellow Wallpaper" , about a married female writer who goes mad after being confined to her room as a cure for post-partum depression, and deprived of all creative outlets.
She continued writing and lecturing for several decades, publishing her last article, "The Right to Die," in , shortly before ending her own life in the face of an inoperable cancer. It also includes 18 other stories, 18 poems, and the page novella Herland , together with a very full even too full introduction and copious notes. In a sense, you could say that if you have read her most famous story, you have got the essence of Gilman, but little of her range. While almost all the other stories in this collection are also about the imbalance of the sexes, few of the others are as tormented and Gothic, and many end with the woman finding some way to reclaim her independence.
I especially liked "Turned" for its arresting opening and the way its heroine makes common cause with her exploited servant, "The Chair of English" for how its heroine turns campus politics against a man who would use it to further his own ends, and "The Vintage" for its tragic exploration of the long-term effects of syphilis. Gilman's poems were a real find.
Yes, the subjects tend to be very similar, and her language is by no means in tune with her modernist contemporaries and is often even deliberately archaic. But the verse form lends itself to more subtle allusion than the prose, as in the ending of "In Duty Bound": And they are few indeed but stoop at length To something less than best, And find, in stooping, rest.
So searing is the anger of "The Yellow Wallpaper," that it was a joy to encounter many of the more positive stories, and epecially to enter Herland , an Utopian country inhabited entirely by women, somewhere between Gulliver's Travels and Lost Horizon. Much of the pleasure comes in the skill with which Gilman paints the brash cameraderie of the three male explorers, ranging from the chauvinist Terry "I have never met a woman yet that did not enjoy being mastered!
Through their eyes, she reveals a singularly attractive society: pacifist, democratic, ecologically aware, and communally involved in the shared tasks of food preparation, child-rearing, and education. There is even room for a little humor, as when one of the women, learning that American couples do not confine their sexual activities to the necessities of procreation, assumes that they must be doing this for higher ends: This climactic expression, which, in all the other life-forms, has but the one purpose, has with you become specialized to higher, purer, nobler uses.
It has—I judge from what you tell me—the most ennobling effect on character. Just so. View all 4 comments. Mar 25, Zezee rated it it was amazing Shelves: classics , literary , classics-inyears , thriller. An unsettling story, to say the least. I was particularly intrigued because I was told that the narrator is highly unreliable and mad. Crazy people always pique my interest. Of course, my constant misgiving regarding the classics made me assume that it would be a boring read but I resolved to plow through it no matter what.
I wanted to know what happens. It includes an introduction written by Denise D. Usually, I skip introductions because they tend to give the story away and take all the fun out of puzzling it out for myself. I like Gillman. I like to assume that anyone who considers herself a feminist would like her too. I think of myself as a semi-feminist. Gillman advocated for equality in the household. A woman could be more than that or none of them, if she chose. Basically, a woman should have the free will to choose who she wants to be and how she wants to be identified. I wonder what she would say of the world now.
Herland, The Yellow Wall-Paper, and Selected Writings by Charlotte Perkins Gilman | LibraryThing
She suffered from depression in her 20s after giving birth to a daughter and was prescribed bed rest, basically she was told not to do anything but lie around all day. Visit my blog to read more. Do not buy, read, or even think too long about this book. The only story in it worth seeking out is "The Yellow Wall-Paper," which itself deserves attention more for its historical context than its literary merits, and which you can find for free online anyway.
Whatever positive things there may be to say about "The Yellow Wall-Paper" and perhaps, if I'm generous, the mediocre ghost story "The Giant Wistaria" , they don't extend to this book as a whole. It fronts with "Herland," a patience-tryi Do not buy, read, or even think too long about this book. It fronts with "Herland," a patience-trying novella, buries "Wall-Paper" in a hodgepodge of short stories some of which are brutally low-quality , and then ends with about 20 almost uniformly wretched poems.
I read through every last ridiculously terrible story and poem in this book. The aggressive agenda evident throughout doesn't necessarily bother me-- Millay had a message too, and a much less vogue one at that-- but just saying politically provocative things about female equality doesn't really do it for me if the stories aren't otherwise interesting particularly now that Gilman's agenda is no longer all that provocative.
And unfortunately, these stories must've relied on the provocative effect of their political message, because without it they're dull as lead. Certain pieces managed to both bore and irritate me because they contain such palpable scorn for homemaking and belittle the women who willingly choose that life "An Extinct Angel" was a particularly unbearable example of this, explicitly saying that such women are "not very bright".
Gilman's only sympathy appears to be for the big, strong, actively athletic women she makes her heroines. The most enjoyment I got from the short stories and poems was the grim satisfaction of crossing each one off in the table of contents as I finished it, like keeping score in a high-stakes competition against an odious enemy. But "Herland," the longest story in the lot, easily won the prize for unreadability.
Slogging through it, I flipped toward the end probably times, only to be deeply dismayed that every time the page end point seemed to loom so far distant. It reads like an especially lazy and lame riff on More's Utopia , and seems little more than the flimsiest fictional setup for Gilman to complain about a wide variety of things she doesn't like, however petty e. The birth control methods proposed playing with other people's kids to stop your desire for a baby from building up seemed even more ludicrous than the motherhood-by-willpower reproduction method itself, and Gilman was unabashed about the eugenics her society employed to keep inferior women from replicating their unworthy genes.
In every story-- almost every sentence, in fact-- Gilman writes with oppressive sarcasm and snideness. I tried to contextualize her writings to minimize the impact of this tone, but at the end of the day it made this book stiflingly unpleasant to read-- rather like going on a trip with someone who complains throughout about the food and the bathrooms and the temperature in the car. Even if she's right, she's still excruciating to be around. Add to its unpleasantness the fact that sarcasm doesn't really effectively persuade anyone of anything, and you have a recipe for a deeply pointless collection of writings.
I wondered more than once why this was ever published. From what I can tell, Penguin identified Gilman as a historically significant feminist writer, and figured that people would buy this book from a feeling of duty to that cause, indifferent to the quality of the work inside it. Feminism can do has done! As it is, this collection is truly awful, and my relief at finishing it was so strong that I felt the heady excitement I guess an ultra-marathoner does when she sees the finish line after running for 36 hours straight.
Nov 12, Nathan Dehoff rated it really liked it.
The author was a feminist social reformer who is considered quite progressive for her time, the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The lead story, Herland , is a short novel about a utopian society made up entirely of women. It's told from the perspective of a male explorer who visits with two other men, all of whom have their views on femininity challenged by their visit, particularly the idea that women are naturally competitive with each other. The women are able to give birth with The author was a feminist social reformer who is considered quite progressive for her time, the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The women are able to give birth without the need of men, and childcare is a collective enterprise rather than an individual one. It ends with the narrator and one of his male friends having to leave the country after the friend makes sexist insults. The volume also includes short stories and poetry, the former of which often have the theme of women improving their lives by taking matters into their own hands.
The title story is a more depressing one that's actually partly autobiographical, about a woman who is confined to a single room with no real activity when suffering from postpartum depression, and she eventually descends into total psychosis. The same basic thing happened to Gilman herself after she had her first child, although she managed to get out and separate from her husband before she could reach the depths that her character did.
I read "The Yellow Wallpaper" and Herland for class. Will come back to the other writings. View 1 comment. It was weird when I read it as an year old. I can absolutely sympathize with the main character far more now than 25 years ago. Well-written from the mind of someone who survived postpartum depression.
Sep 03, Debbie rated it really liked it. My favorite two from this edition were the novella "Herland" and the short story "The Yellow Wall-Paper.
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I wasn't impressed with Gilman's poetry. I was fascinated with Herland. I agree with several of the other reviewers who found this to be predictable and fantastical; however, considering when this was written, I thought it was very forward-thinking for the time. I couldn't buy into the virgin birth concept My favorite two from this edition were the novella "Herland" and the short story "The Yellow Wall-Paper. I couldn't buy into the virgin birth concept but understand that Gilman's options were limited and she had to account for the continued existence of this country somehow.
I would have been equally skeptical if she had chosen to say that the women had spontaneously discovered a means to immortality or if she had decided to create a slave-race of men who existed only to provide sperm for Herland. But rather than getting bogged down by the implausibility of the means of reproduction, I found I was intrigued by the conversations between the men and their teachers and amused each time the men had to admit even if only to themselves that their sexist ideas had no basis in fact.
My biggest complains with this novella is that the ending is very abrupt and, I thought, unsatisfying. It seemed as though she had tired of writing and simply wrote "The End" after a sentence. I found "The Yellow Wall-Paper" to be both fascinating and terrifying. The reader is pulled into the narrator's descent into madness. I had heard much about this short story and thought I knew exactly what to expect.
I anticipated finding the story interesting but did not expect it to linger with me as it has! This story on its own deserves 5 stars. Epilogue I read this book for two reasons, one being that Mary Beard mentioned "Herland" in "Women and Power" and I found her description intriguing. I say it sums up questions be Epilogue I read this book for two reasons, one being that Mary Beard mentioned "Herland" in "Women and Power" and I found her description intriguing.
I say it sums up questions because I'm not sure Gilman is prescribing a society with Herland rules, just asking us to consider looking outside of the common male answers to societal questions. Fast forward to the other night when I finally got around to watching the movie Wonder Woman. As I watched the Amazonian backstory unfold, there was a definite sense of someone speaking to me in familiar tones, with a few secret words and phrases like a wink to signal we both came from the same tribe, and even gestures that I recognized: There was no way this author?
I was consumed by the concept of the Yellow Wallpaper in college. The way the woman progresses through the story, leading the reader to ask "is she really going mad? Last year, I mentioned my obsession with reading this story occasionally to my boss and she recommended Herland. Herland is delightful and appeals to the cultural anthropologist in me. The juxtaposition of two conflicting cultures as the characters try to reason which is superior i I was consumed by the concept of the Yellow Wallpaper in college.
The juxtaposition of two conflicting cultures as the characters try to reason which is superior is fascinating. Aug 04, Camille Chidsey rated it really liked it Shelves: short-stories , literature-fiction. I didn't get around to reading Herland but I read the short stories and poetry.
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Gilman's poetry is phenomenal. The short stories were also good, although some were better than others which was to be expected. Several stories really impressed me though. Overall, Gilman is a fantastic writer. She's definitely well ahead of her time, and I was pleasantly surprised to see such strong advocacy for women to separate themselves from house and home in 19th century literature. Very interesting, truthful, I didn't get around to reading Herland but I read the short stories and poetry. Very interesting, truthful, and sarcastic reading. Jan 26, Dionne Seevers rated it it was amazing.
This is a life altering book for me, I need a copy because I gave it away and would like it for my library. There is something interesting about a matriarchal society. How would women survive without the structure and constant involvement of men? Herland takes it further Oct 03, Meg rated it really liked it Shelves: read-in Well written short stories and poems. Not male bashing, just glimpses of strong women during a time when that was frowned upon.
Herland itself drags a little toward the end -- I'm glad the author mostly stuck with short stories. Many of the stories twist at the end, which is enjoyable. Worth a read. Apr 17, brittney rated it it was amazing. Every woman should read and understand her stories, ok maybe I'm biased. Holy shit. WHY do we only read the Yellow Wallpaper? ALL of these stories are amazing as fuck.
My professional literary analysis. Aug 23, Kassie rated it it was amazing. Patriotism is largely pride, and very largely combativeness. Patriotism generally has a chip on its shoulder. Charlotte Perkins-Gilman lead a productive but troubled life until her passing at 75 and is regarded among the most influential women of her late Victorian and Edwardian time. She's known primarily as an active feminist, promoting her vi 'Patriotism, red hot, is compatible with the existence of a neglect of national interests, a dishonesty, a cold indifference to the suffering of milions.
She's known primarily as an active feminist, promoting her views through speaking engagements and writing in varied forms - long and short, fiction and non-fiction, from auto-biography to poetry. This Penguin Classics edition provides a solid primer on her fiction and poetry. Much of this work is didactic, regardless of form. That doesn't in itself render it uninteresting or unimportant, though it does mean literary concerns often take a back seat to the highlighting of ideas for a better, fairer, healthier society or the wish fulfilment of women achieving just outcomes, sometimes with a side of revenge on their male oppressors.
We may have gone some way towards gender equality in the century since, though the number of issues here that remain at least partly relevant is a reminder that we can and should go a lot further. Herland is a Utopian novel in the Victorian tradition, designed to highlight flaws with contemporary ways and to suggest alternatives.
Erewhon is my best point of comparison, though whereas that book satirised society through deliberately outrageous absurdities, Herland is much subtler by way of depicting a society closer to something plausibly achievable under certain conditions. Of course, it relies on the principle of natural parthenogenesis, which is a biological impossibility in current humans.
Who knows what technological advancements might allow for it in future, though? Herland works by taking three men representing certain stereotypes and asking ever more detailed questions of them until all the ideas they'd assumed to be right and natural and 'proper' are revealed to be logically nonsensical, unsupportable or at least deeply flawed. There is the bullish and especially narrow-minded Terry, bent on male dominance and sexual conquest. There's the poetically idealist romantic Jeff, whose ideas are revealed to be problematic in their own ways.
And there's our narrator Van dyck , a man of science whose belief in his own rationality and objectivity is to be severely challenged. All of them are immersed in the rampant sexism of their time. As with Erewhon, scant attention is paid to narrative structure as we would now expect. The characters arrive in Herland early on and stay there. Exposition is heavy and almost essay-like at times. New York Times bestselling author Kate Bolick contributes an illuminating introduction that explores Gilman's fascinating yet complicated life.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. Rash Advances. A Peculiar Imprisonment. A Unique History. Comparisons Are Odious. Our Growing Modesty. Our Relations and Theirs. Old Water 2 Making a Change. Mrs Elders Idea. The Chair of English. Dr Clairs Place.
Our Difficulties. The Giant Wistaria. An Extinct Angel. The Yellow WallPaper.
The RockingChair. Mrs Beazleys Deeds 22 I. The Vintage. The Unnatural Mother.