Other Literary Forms

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman published a volume of poems, In This Our World (1893). Her nonfiction social criticism, notably Women and Economics (1898), was the basis of her contemporary reputation and her lecture career. Gilman also wrote utopian novels, including her famous Herland (1915). Her final work was an autobiography, The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1935).

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Achievements

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman was posthumously inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1994. During her life, she was a delegate to a number of international conventions, including the International Socialist and Labor Congress in London in 1896 and the International Women’s Suffrage Congress in Budapest, Hungary, in 1913.

Bibliography

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Davis, Cynthia J., and Denise D. Knight, eds. Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Her Contemporaries: Literary and Intellectual Contexts. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2004. A collection of essays by Gilman scholars that offers a wealth of biographical and critical information and places Gilman’s opinions among those of her contemporaries.

Golden, Catherine. The Captive Imagination: A Casebook on “The Yellow Wallpaper.” New York: The Feminist Press, 1992. Devoted entirely to “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The “Backgrounds” section of the volume includes essays on nineteenth century attitudes and treatment of women’s psychiatric complaints. The collection of criticism of Gilman’s most-discussed story is extensive, including Elaine Hedges’ 1973 feminist afterword to “The Yellow Wallpaper.”

Hill, Mary A. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Making of a Radical Feminist, 1860-1896. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1980. Primarily a biographical exploration of the roots of Gilman’s social theories, the insights of this work are based on a reading of Gilman’s private journals and letters. Includes comments on the autobiographical short fiction, particularly “The Yellow Wallpaper.”

Karpinski, Joanne B., ed. Critical Essays on Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1991. This collection includes the Shelley Fishkin essay “Making a Change: Strategies of Subversion in Gilman’s Journalism and Short Fiction.”

Knight, Denise D., ed. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: A Study of the Short Fiction. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1997. A most useful volume of critical analysis of the short fiction. Part 1 discusses Gilman’s short fiction, its influences, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and other stories. Part 2 provides Gilman’s reflections on writing, from primary sources, and Part 3 is a collection of criticism of several of Gilman’s short stories. The editor makes a point of going beyond “The Yellow Wallpaper” so that readers may expand their appreciation of Gilman’s range as a writer of short fiction.

Lane, Ann J. “The Fictional World of Charlotte Perkins Gilman.” In The Charlotte Perkins Gilman Reader. New York: Pantheon, 1980. Lucid, concise analysis of Gilman’s fiction as a whole.

Lane, Ann J. To Herland and Beyond: The Life and Work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. New York: Pantheon, 1990. Primarily a biography. Recognizing the connection between Gilman’s life and work, Lane devotes a solid pair of chapters to an analysis of the work. Detailed synopsis of Women and Economics as the foundation of Gilman’s thought. Discussion of the short fiction is brief, but analytic and informative.

Scharnhorst, Gary. Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Boston, Twayne, 1985. Scharnhorst, an authority on Charlotte Perkins Gilman who has also compiled an extensive bibliography, has written a literary biography, a study of her imaginative work as a whole, relating her poetry and fiction to her pioneering nonfiction. The theme of this monograph is that Gilman’s entire canon shares a unified didactic purpose.

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Critical Essays