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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: 12.7 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 177,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By V. G. Harwood on 15 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first read this story whilst at University studying Literature and came across it again as a friend (similarly studying) said that she had been reading it and enjoyed it. It was free on Kindle so I downloaded it to read it again. I'm so glad I did. This is a brilliant study of a woman slowly losing her mind. We first encounter the female lead as a woman who is "ill" in some mysterious way, although her doctor husband doesn't really think there's anything all that much wrong with her (sounds like one of the doctors at my surgery! He must have been employed in the NHS!) Through the story we discover she's just had a baby but doesn't seem to be able to bear the child near her. Next we find that she's living in an attic room which used to be a children's nursery - or did it? The gnawed bed, torn wallpaper, barred windows and "fixtures" like rings to the wall strike the reader as immediately odd. Children's nursery? Gymnasium? Or padded cell for the keeping of the insane? Insanity is the clear theme in the story as the narrator identifies and then identifies too closely with a mysterious woman who appears to be caged behind the bars of the yellow wallpaper of the room.

It's a fabulous story with the woman's progression into insanity clearly charted through the story, and yet it is subtly done. I remember when we studied it at University there was talk of yellow wallpaper being tinted with lead in the late nineteenth century which might have led to the woman's insanity. They also used to colour it with urine too, which smelled as the woman describes in the story - but did not, as far as I know, lead to insanity. Or it could have just been a simple case of post-natal depression. Whatever your interpretation, this is a fabulous story and very easy to read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By dafoo on 1 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first read this as a set text of my A-level in English. I enjoyed it at the time and when I saw a free download for the kindle, I decided that I would try it again. The story is a mildly disturbing but insightful exploration of mental illness, & how it was considered & treated (or rather, covered up or dismissed) by professionals & families who questioned the validity of anything other than physical illness, or were ashamed to acknowledge the issues. A great read, particularly if you want something chilling and creepy on a dark night
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary Blevins on 4 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Until a few months ago, I'd never heard of 'The Yellow Wallpaper' and only read about it via a review on Amazon. I love a good psychological thriller and this did not disappoint. The story was haunting and moving.

The female lead is somehow unwell but we never really learn what her illness is supposed to be. She is confined to a room, which was perhaps used as a nursery; yet, it contains a number of mysterious things such as iron rings and scratch marks on the walls. It makes the reader wonder what it was really used for. I love how she describes the wallpaper as having a face within a certain area of the pattern - I could easily visualise this as it reminded me of similar patterns on wallpaper I've seen.

Throughout the story, the husband treats her with an almost delicacy, reminding her that she is fragile and why company isn't good for her - is he deliberately isolating her? I could almost hear his condescending tone and I was left feeling that nothing was truly wrong with his wife; that she was slowly being driven to madness.

This story is short yet the level of detail and insight is gripping. It is definitely worth a read and will keep you pondering the final outcome long after you've turned the last page.
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