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The Yellow Wall-Paper, Herland, and Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 1 Apr 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014310585X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143105855
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 362,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935) was born in New England, a descendant of the prominent and influential Beecher family. In 1884 she married Charles Water Stetson. After giving birth, Charlotte sank into a deep depression. She entered a sanitarium in Philadelphia to undergo the 'rest cure', a controversial treatment, which forbade any type of physical activity or intellectual stimulation. 1892, she published the now-famous story 'The Yellow Wall-Paper'. In 1898, her most famous nonfiction book, Women and Economics, was published. With its publication, and subsequent translation into seven languages, Gilman earned international acclaim. In 1900, she married her first cousin, George Houghton Gilman. Over the next thirty-five years, she wrote and published hundreds of stories and poems and more than a dozen books.

Denise D. Knight is a professor of English at the State University of New York at Courtland, where she specializes in nineteenth-century American Literature. She is author of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: A Study of the Short Fiction and editor of The Later Poetry of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Diaries of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Abridged Diaries of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "The Yellow Wall-Paper" and Selected Stories of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. She is also the author of numerous articles, essays, and reviews on nineteenth-century American writers.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Dec. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First published in 1892 Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story has fascinated and haunted readers ever since. Gothic and haunting, this story like Henry James’ ‘The Turn of the Screw’ contains ambiguity, so you can read this tale as a deeply disturbing haunting, or as a descent into madness.

Gilman herself was a prominent feminist and this story is semi-autobiographical. Like the narrator here Gilman herself suffered depression after giving birth, and this short story really looks at how women were treated at the time. Our narrator is of middle class and she is left in an old colonial house for a rest cure holiday. Encouraged to remain in bed and just not really do anything at all stimulating we see how the narrator becomes obsessed, even haunted by the wallpaper in the room. From what is obviously a depressive episode we see the narrator descend into madness due to psychosis, making this as strong a read today as when it was first written. and something that sits rather uncomfortably. With many people these days suffering mental illness, although some of these I just look upon as slightly eccentric behaviour, we can see how to a degree treatments have altered, with women no longer looked upon as something that are frail and less well able to cope than men.

Although I have written here what the story is actually about as I mentioned earlier this can be read as a standard ghost story, and I don’t know really which way to read it makes it scarier, only you will be able to decide, depending upon your own life experiences. Sadly for Charlotte she suffered with depression from giving birth, and throughout her first marriage.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're looking for a strong introduction to aid your understanding or analysis, you won't find it here. Saying that, an interesting selection of a powerful author's work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 82 reviews
67 of 72 people found the following review helpful
Plenty of Historical Value 27 July 2000
By hermione31 - Published on
Format: Paperback
Gilman's novel is even more relevant today than when it was first printed. More than merely a narrative of female intellectual oppression or a critique of late 19th century social mores, "The Yellow Wallpaper" documents a practice that was common among the middle and upper class. Known as the "rest cure," women who displayed signs of depression or anxiety were committed to lie in bed for weeks at a time, and allowed no more than twenty minutes of intellectual exertion a day. Believing that intellectual activity would overwhelm the fragile female mind, "rest cure" refers to the prevention of women from thinking, relying on the assumption that the natural state of the female mind was one of emptiness. Seeing as how the women were confined to empty rooms with no exercise or stimulation of any kind, the obvious consequence was that the women became still more anxious, which reinforced the convictions of the doctors and husbands that their wives needed further rest.
The "rest cure" was prescribed most commonly to women who had recently given birth. Suffering from what we now know is post-partem depression (caused by hormonal fluctuations of seratonin that result from the female body adjusting to not having a fetus to delivering hormones to), women were locked up and kept from seeing their newly born children.
Gilman's book, therefore, is not only an American literary classic, but it also provides insight into America's social history; a history which will not be forgotten as long as people continue to carefully read this psychologically wrought story.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
An excellent selection of feminist short stories. 5 April 1998
By "sandcastle320" - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Yellow Wallpaper and other stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a wonderful compilation of feminist short stories. The first story, The Yellow Wallpaper reminds us, even today, that a woman who allows herself to become dominated to the point where her talents are suppresed can made herself a prisoner of her own creativity. The protagonist,much like Gilman, has a "nervous disorder." Unlike Gilman, who wrote her way out of the "disorder" the "wife" is not allowed to write and thus must sneak her writing, much like an alcoholic. Eventually, the wallpaper invades her space to the point of madness. Other stories point up other women's issues, such as Three Thanksgivings, in which the women save themselves via a business adventure, which is similar to Making a Change, in which a mother's anxiety and depression are alleviated by following her true creative urges and an older woman's losses are alleviated by her ability to nurture. The Cottagette was a light-hearted romp into the problems women create for themselves and how a too-good-to-be-true suitor helps out his beloved. Turned is an interesting story of what happens when a man makes a wrong move in the presence of a strong woman! Last but not least, Mr. Peebles Heart is an interesting story of a fiftyish shopkeeper. For $1.00, this book is a highly recommended find for those that enjoy feminist literature. I happen to be one of those so I have given it a "10."END
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
What's really behind that ugly wallpaper? 1 July 2006
By ADRIENNE MILLER - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Yellow Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman is one of the most fascinating short reads ever. I was assigned to read this classic gem in my literature class in College and I couldn't believe how well this short story was written. The book is in first person, it feels like a diary, very personal, intimate, and scary all at the same time. The ending is bone-chilling and brilliant. Gillman is some writer, why haven't I heard about this amazing book before? Wonderful, insightful quick read, a must have for literary fans.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The Yellow Wallpaper truly sparks the reader's imagination. 26 Oct. 1997
By alljazzedup - Published on
Format: Paperback
Filled to the brim with symbolism and bizarre allusions, The Yellow Wallpaper is truly a satisfying read for anyone willing to put their mind to work. Though the initial reading and comprehension of the story may seem choppy at first, don't let it throw you off. Stick with it and toss it around in your head for awhile. Re-read it and the symbolism becomes strikingly vivid. A wonderful read for anyone wishing to challenge their imagination, I highly recommend this story.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The new Millennium, and women are still in cages.... 18 Feb. 2000
By Tessa Eydmann - Published on
Format: Paperback
This story beautifully presented an issue that even in this day and age remains rife. Gillmore expressed the suffocation and frustration that women feel in a male dominated world. There is no pretention in her tale and no arrogance, but only quiet rebellion against a system that places one genda above the other. It's a sinister story, heavy with metaphors and symbolism, yet there's a gentle sadness in her writing, which would remind one of a trapped animal who is close to surrendering to it's captivity. A fascinating story, and worth reading whether you agree with her views or not. Personally, her views seem extremely valid to me, as she adresses an issue that has always been present in society, and still remains today, in the new century.
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