Charlotte Perkins Gilman and a Woman’s Place in America is a pioneering collection that probes how depictions of space, confinement, and liberation establish both the difficulty and necessity of female empowerment. Turning Victorian notions of propriety and a woman’s place on its ear, this finely crafted essay collection studies Gilman’s writings and the manner in which they push back against societal norms and reject male-dominated confines of space.
The contributors present fascinating and innovative readings of some of Gilman’s most significant works. By examining the settings in “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Herland, for example, the volume analyzes Gilman’s construction of place, her representations of male dominance and female subjugation, and her analysis of the rules and obligations that women feel in conforming to their assigned place: the home.
Additionally, this volume delineates female resistance to this conformity. Contributors highlight how Gilman’s narrators often choose resistance over obedient captivity, breaking free of the spaces imposed upon them in order to seek or create their own habitats. Through biographical interpretations of Gilman’s work that focus on the author’s own renouncement of her “natural” role of wife and mother, contributors trace her relocation to the American West in an attempt to appropriate the masculinized spaces of work and social organization.
Engaging, well researched, and deftly written, the essays in this collection will appeal to scholars of Gilman, literature, and gender issues alike.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jill Bergman is the author of The Motherless Child in the Novels of Pauline Hopkins and a coeditor of Our Sisters’ Keepers: Nineteenth-Century Benevolence Literature by American Women. She is a professor emerita at the University of Montana, where she taught courses in American literature and women’s studies. Her work on American women writers has appeared in numerous journals and collections.
Jill Bergman / Peter Betjemann / Sari Edelstein / Catherine J. Golden / Brady Harrison
Denise D. Knight / Gary Scharnhorst / William C. Snyder / Jennifer S. Tuttle
PRAISE FOR CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN
“As a perennial favorite of feminist readers, Gilman makes for an interesting study. Her life and work are explored by the contributors in this collection in a way no other book about her has attempted to address.”
—Martha J. Cutter, author of Lost and Found in Translation: Contemporary Ethnic American Writing and the Politics of Language Diversity
“This uniformly strong collection of essays from both familiar figures and new voices will prove a valuable resource for Gilman scholars.”
—Cynthia J. Davis, author of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: A Biography
Studies in American Literary Realism and Naturalism
Gary Scharnhorst, series editor
240 pages / 31 B&W figures
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1936-6 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-9070-9 Ebook