Cover image for Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Utopian novels
Title:
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Utopian novels
Author:
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins, 1860-1935.
Publication Information:
Madison, NJ : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press ; Lodon : Associated University Presses, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
389 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
Moving the mountain -- Herland -- With her in Ourland.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780838637616
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Gilman's three utopian novels are made available in one volume for the first time since their original publication. This availability enables the reader to follow the unfolding of Gilman's utopian ideas from their genesis in Moving the Mountain, through their development in her later all-female utopia, Herland, and finally into her satirical critique With Her in Ourland.


Author Notes

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born in 1860 in Hartford, Conn. Her traumatic childhood led to depression and to her eventual suicide. Gilman's father abandoned the family when she was a child and her mother, who was not an affectionate woman, recruited relatives to help raise her children. Among these relatives was Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Due to her family situation, Gilman learned independence, but also became alienated from her many female relatives.

Gilman married in 1884 and was soon diagnosed with depression. She was prescribed bed rest, which only seemed to aggravate her condition and she eventually divorced her husband, fearing that marriage was partly responsible for her depressed state. After this, Gilman became involved in feminist activities and the writing that made her a major figure in the women's movement.

Books such as Women and Economics, written in 1898, are proof of her importance as a feminist. Here she states that only when women learn to be economically independent can true equality be achieved. Her fiction works, particularly The Yellow Wallpaper, are also written with feminist ideals. A frequent lecturer, she also founded the feminist magazine Forerunner in 1909.

Gilman, suffering from cancer, chose to end her own life and committed suicide on August 17, 1935. More information about this fascinating figure can be found in her book The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: An Autobiography, published in 1935.

(Bowker Author Biography) Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born in 1860 in Hartford, Conn. Her traumatic childhood led to depression and to her eventual suicide. Gilman's father abandoned the family when she was a child and her mother, who was not an affectionate woman, recruited relatives to help raise her children. Among these relatives was Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Due to her family situation, Gilman learned independence, but also became alienated from her many female relatives.

Gilman married in 1884 and was soon diagnosed with depression. She was prescribed bed rest, which only seemed to aggravate her condition and she eventually divorced her husband, fearing that marriage was partly responsible for her depressed state. After this, Gilman became involved in feminist activities and the writing that made her a major figure in the women's movement.

Books such as Women and Economics, written in 1898, are proof of her importance as a feminist. Here she states that only when women learn to be economically independent can true equality be achieved. Her fiction works, particularly The Yellow Wallpaper, are also written with feminist ideals. A frequent lecturer, she also founded the feminist magazine Forerunner in 1909.

Gilman, suffering from cancer, chose to end her own life and committed suicide on August 17, 1935. More information about this fascinating figure can be found in her book The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: An Autobiography, published in 1935.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Gilman (1860-1935), author, editor, journalist, and lecturer, was a leading intellectual of her time who fought for women's rights and social justice. Her vision of an egalitarian society emerged in three utopian novels: Moving the Mountain (1911), Herland (1915), and With Her in Ourland (1916), collected here for the first time. Gilman imagined societies in which women could fulfill their human potential; she used her stories as weapons to effect social change. Moving the Mountain and Herland show women participating in all phases of utopian life. With Her in Ourland is a satiric criticism of a character living in a utopian society. In her extensive introduction, Doskow (English, Rowan Univ.) provides a good understanding of Gilman as a woman and author. An interpretation of each novel is included, and a selected bibliography and related primary and secondary sources are also given. Recommended for classic literature collections in any library and essential for women's studies collections in academic libraries.ÄJoyce Sparrow, St. Petersburg Lib. Sys., FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

The real value of this collection is that it brings together in one convenient volume Gilman's three utopian novels, originally published between 1911 and 1916. Although Herland has appeared in numerous editions since 1979 and With Her in Ourland was republished in 1997, ed. by Mary Jo Deegan and Michael Hill (CH, Dec'97), the inclusion in this collection of Moving the Mountain marks that novel's first appearance in print since 1911. In her comprehensive and informative introduction to this edition, Doskow (Rowan Univ.) effectively traces the development of Gilman's utopian ideal. She provides both a historical contextualization of the works against the political, social, and economic backdrop of the US in the early part of the 20th century and an in-depth discussion of the novels as they enlarge on themes expounded on by Gilman in her earlier nonfiction works, most notably Women and Economics (1898) and The Home: Its Work and Influence (1903). Doskow's discussion touches not only on Gilman's predictable advocacy of women's rights but also on the racism and xenophobia evident in her writings. Recommended for all academic and public libraries. D. D. Knight SUNY College at Cortland


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