Suggested Readings

(Masterpieces of Women's Literature, Critical Edition)

Download Herland Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Allen, Polly Wynn. Building Domestic Liberty: Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Architectural Feminism. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988. An outstanding analysis of Gilman’s interrelated ideas about homes, communities, and the social arrangement of the built environment.

Deegan, Mary Jo. Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books, 1988. This monograph is the major study of the Chicago women’s sociological network, centered at Hull House, in which Gilman participated. Deegan’s work is indispensable for untangling many of the relevant intellectual currents that defined Gilman’s era, especially the concept of “cultural feminism.”

Donaldson, Laura E. “The Eve of De-Struction: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Feminist Re-Creation of Paradise.” An Interdisciplinary Journal 16 (1989): 373-387.

Gubar, Susan. “She in Herland: Feminism as Fantasy.” In Coordinates: Placing Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by George E. Slusser, Eric S. Rabkin, and Robert Scholes. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1983. Asserts that women’s abusive reality within the patriarchy enables a visionary revolution. Argues that Gilman’s utopic work serves as a rejection of the patriarchy.

Hill, Mary A. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Making of a Radical Feminist, 1860-1896. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1980. A major biography of Gilman and the one to which students should turn first. Hill presents an astute, well-documented, and trustworthy account of Gilman’s early life and the origins of her ideas.

Karpinski, Joanne B., ed. Critical Essays on Charlotte Perkins Gilman. New York: G. K. Hall, 1992. An ambitious compendium of wide-ranging contemporary, reprinted, and original literary essays and critical assessments. Although somewhat technical, Lois Magner’s study carefully explores Gilman’s ideas on evolution and social Darwinism.

Keith, Bruce. “Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Stetson).” In Women in Sociology, edited by Mary Jo Deegan. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991. Presents a useful and straightforward overview of Gilman’s work, writings, and stature as a sociologist. Keith includes a bibliography of Gilman’s major works and a list of critical sources.

Keyser, Elizabeth. “Looking Backward: From Herland to Gulliver’s Travels.” In Critical Essays on Charlotte Perkins Gilman, edited by Joanne B. Karpinski. New York: G. K. Hall, 1992. Discusses Gilman’s utopia as a transcendent reinterpretation of Jonathan Swift’s satire on male pride in Gulliver’s Travels.

Lane, Ann J. Introduction to Herland, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. New York: Pantheon Books, 1979. Provides a new introduction to the book, which had long been out of print. Argues that Gilman’s use of humor originates from a personal and political praxis to promote a transformative, socialized world.

Lane, Ann J. To Herland and Beyond: The Life and Work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. New York: Pantheon, 1990. This popular biography interprets Gilman primarily from a psychological perspective (an orientation that Gilman rejected) and stresses Gilman’s family and interpersonal relationships. Unfortunately, Lane gives short shrift to major social issues and the intellectual milieu in which Gilman labored.

Meyering, Sheryl L., ed. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Woman and Her Work. Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1989. This compendium offers fourteen frequently referenced critical essays, three of which focus on Herland.

Peyser, Thomas Galt. “Reproducing Utopia: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Herland.” Studies in American Fiction 20, no. 1 (1992): 1-16.

Scharnhorst, Gary. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: A Bibliography . Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1985. This reference is indispensable for serious students. Scharnhorst lists 2,173 of Gilman’s writings, including many found only in obscure magazines. This useful book also includes a compilation of published criticism, biographical materials, and relevant manuscript...

(The entire section is 5,770 words.)