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Herland (The Herland Trilogy #2)

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  6,713 ratings  ·  642 reviews
On the eve of World War I, an all-female society is discovered somewhere in the distant reaches of the earth by three male explorers who are now forced to re-examine their assumptions about women's roles in society.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
ebook, 176 pages
Published June 30th 2010 by Pantheon (first published 1915)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dixie Diamond
Three stars: Five stars as a period piece, one as a work of literature.

Mine is the 1979 edition whose preface claims it is still relevant. Perhaps that, too, is an indication of a past phase of feminism, because the story has really not aged very well.

The writing is awful. Sorry. I know that it was originally serialized in Gilman's magazine, which might account for the shallow, unpolished quality of it, but it makes for tiresome reading in novella form.

I hesitate to criticize Herland too much be
...more
karen
i feel like, as a lady, i should like this more. i thought it was okay; i liked some of the gentle satire poked at recontextualizing the things we take for granted about our society, which is supposed to make us laugh and blush. but i think i would go mad here. its a little too wide-eyed stepford wives-y for me. and in a land without men, who would i get to boss around? i just dont think this has aged well, overall, and im not sure why i was under the impression that it was some seminal work tha ...more
Travis Ammons
this little book should probably write a review about me. When I was in my early 20s I worked at half-price books. I found this book and put it in the fiction section as I thought it was fiction as a young man, properly so. Little did I know the true body of work the author of "The Yellow Wallpaper" had behind her before she wrote this wonderful novel.
Fast forward 20 years later - to my humbling, sad, little, Americanized midlife-(4 lack of a more accurately defining word)-crisis in 2012. I'm 4
...more
Robert Beveridge
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland (Dover, 1909)

I always found it odd that Gilman, a prolific writer during her life, had become so obscure less than a century later as to be remembered for only a single short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper." Now, having had the distinct displeasure of having read a second piece of Gilman's writing, I have to wonder if that obscurity isn't well-deserved.

Herland is everything that "The Yellow Wallpaper" is not. It is boring, overly expository, dry as dust, and most
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Andrea
Written in 1915 and serialised in her paper, this is a fairly funny description of three men landing in a country where there are only women -- a land of cooperation, peace, prosperity, wisdom and achievement. The humour lies in the misconceptions of the men as to women's capacities, and their constant bumping against all of the horrible poverty and injustices in the world that they take for granted. It's quite a fascinating glimpse into the period, and there is much to love about a feminist soc ...more
Michelle
I'm not going to rate this book for its entertainment factor, because I don't think that was Gilman's main purpose (and it wasn't that entertaining anyway). I found so many things fascinating about Herland.

My notes:

I was interested to see that Gilman was more trapped in masculine culture and language than we are today (we're making progress, good!). For example, it seemed to be a compliment to her to describe the women of Herland as being like boys--does that show her opinion or the limited way
...more
Fiona
Written in 1915, this utopian novel describes an isolated single gender society wherein the female inhabitants of 'Herland' reproduce via parthenogenesis; in Herland the greatness, capabilities, wisdom and potential of womanhood are all cultivated within an environment where war and conflict, poverty and pollution, crime, domination and disease have been eliminated. Charlotte Perkins Gilman very clearly, and somewhat cleverly and confidently for her time, uses the utopian nation/notion of 'Herla ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
For a feminist tale, this book spends an awfully disproportionate amount of time focusing on how the three male visitors to Herland view the women there. They deal with their misconceptions about women and allow the women to experiment with them in considering moving back to a bi-sexual society (they have been reproducing with the air, apparently, birthing babies without men.)

The problem with utopias is that there is little conflict. The women have a fully-functioning society with brilliant achi
...more
Layne
This is the book that most of my currently-writing dissertation chapter is about. It's about a utopian nation in Sough America populated entirely by women, who have mutated so that they reproduce asexually. These three male explorers decide to "discover" the land, and they get captured and educated in the superiority of Herland over "Ourland."
The best reason to read this if you're not writing a dissertation on it is that it is really funny, pretty much unintentionally. Gilman had a lot of beefs
...more
Nikki
Herland is... hm. Unfortunately bland, really. Charlotte Perkins Gilman seems to have set out to portray a utopian, perfect society of women that shows up all the faults and contradictions of the contemporary world. Unfortunately, that society seems so flat and lacking in individuality that I wouldn't want to be there. It also makes motherhood the pinnacle of a woman's being, something to long for.

I'm female-bodied and apparently possessed of the various bits you'd expect given that. I really, r
...more
Robert Greenberger
I will be teaching Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" to my 11th graders next week, so when I learned the amazing CraftLit podcast was going to tackle Gilman's utopian novel, I decided to give it a listen.

First of all, there's no traditional story. No real conflict or climax, no real rising action to speak of. Instead, a trio of male archetypes find a small land of woman. For the last 2000 years they have been cut off from the world and have succeeded entirely on their own, withou
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R
This book works extremely well if one assumes it to be a satirical portrayal of extreme feminist idealism.

When one realizes that it is meant to be taken at face value - well, to say that it doesn't work quite as well is to understate the case. The plot is thin, the characters are flat, the prose is didactically limp, the improvements suggested are impractical and border on the dystopian.

I found that the women seem to be devoid of significant differences in personality, while the three men exhibi
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Marsha
As compelling now as it was when first written, Gilman’s novel examines what it means to be male in an all-woman world, to be a woman unafraid and sure when confronted by men and whether true co-existence between the sexes is really possible. Without being particularly preachy, she presents a world in which women do cooperate with each other, in a utopia of peace and harmony, and how calmly they deal with the men who blunder into their world after over a century of being without men at all.

If th
...more
Katja
I was very glad to have found out about this novel, apparently the very first feminist utopia ever written. Most accounts of sci fi and feminism start at maybe around the 1960s, but this baby goes all the way back to 1915. Being an Ursula Le Guin fan, I saw some similarities between the styles – Gilman has her clever, gentle Le Guin-esque moments, although admittedly a large part of the book feels like she’s banging you over the head with her ideas, a feeling I never get with Le Guin. It’s possi ...more
Aidan
Herland is about a group of men who set out to find a supposedly fictional country made up of entirely women. With mordern technology, mainly a plane, they are successful in their quest but are quickly captured. The characters in this book seem to have been chosen carefully. Terry, the man who believes a woman's place in the world is in the house cooking and serving the man. Jeff the man who thinks that woman are to be idolized and protected. And finally Van, who seems to be between the other tw ...more
Sandy
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "Herland" is a lost-world fantasy in the Haggardian tradition with a decided twist: It functions primarily as a discourse on the supposed but not necessarily actual differences between the two sexes, and as a feminist screed in the utopian genre. Written in 1915, the novel was initially serialized in the pages of Gilman's own monthly magazine, "The Forerunner," a publication whose main agenda was to further Gilman's ideas of feminism and socialism. We are introduced to ...more
Selena
Jun 24, 2009 Selena rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: feminists
Shelves: 2009
Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a well known sociologist, novelist, lecturer and feminist. She is most well known for her short story “The Yellow Wallpaper.” When reading a book, it is usually not important to understand the views and history of the author. Herland, though fictional, is infused with Charlotte’s feminist views and politics.

Herland begins when three explorers (Jeff, Van and Terry) hear about an all-female society during an expedition into a foreign land. Hardly being able to believe
...more
Heather Ordover
My rating will make more sense if you read the TOC for Almroth Wright's (lovely, harumph) book called "The Unexpurgated Examination of Woman Sufferage" (or some such drivel). In those lilnes you'll read, in reverse, the outline for Gilman's 12 chapter novel. Hers is a calm, focused refutation of his text, but in fiction form.

Knowing that makes the book make SO much more sense! That, and going through it on the CraftLit podcast.
Lise
The Craftlit commentary definitely helps this one. It's certainly as much a thought experiment as it is a conventional story. In fact, I feel as though many of the characters only really begin to take shape in the final chapter.

It's a product of it's times - a story written during the campaign for Women's Suffrage in the United States providing a world (or nation) where women exist without men. It gets a bit annoying and preachy at times, but it also keeps the rhetoric remarkably low key at othe
...more
Elisha Carrillo

Herland is a novel about a utopia that does not have men. Although I enjoyed the feminist message in Herland I feel that it is not great as a piece of literature. I did not enjoy how Herland's lacked dimension and how the book started off extremely slow. I felt like the plot of Herland was dull and did not get interesting until the end. I also did not enjoy how the book ended because I felt that the ending was extremely abrupt. I did not like that the book focused mainly on the 3 travelers persp
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Ellen
This book is well written and still relevant though there are disquieting elements of eugenics that left me cold.
Nicole
Dec 25, 2014 Nicole rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: men, women, feminists, misogynists, everyone
I really loved this little book and made copious notes and, personally, I think this is a book that everyone should read. I have pretty much just spilled out a lot of my thoughts in this review so I'll try to highlight the main points like this or this for lesser main points to make this review easier to navigate/skim through.

As well as the obvious equality/feminist messages, it discusses other topics that challenge the status quo relating, for example, to education and (more controversially) re
...more
Naile Berna
Herland...

A world where reproduction does not depend on genders or will does not work as a solid base for an analogy of a form of life in the world we live in. If you think that's way too abstract and evolutionary, than I shall say if you take sexuality out of the picture, it becomes just as irrelevant. Yes, the world may be as she describes it if there were only female characters with no sexuality. But who would want to live there? I don't! It could contain the nicest people, the neatest enviro
...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Three young men discover a hidden land peopled entirely by women (they reproduce by parthenogenesis). These women have built a sort of progressive-collectivist utopia, much to the chagrin of at least one of the men who cannot believe there can be a civilization without men. Although Gilman spends a little too much time in exposition, there are numerous telling observations on the limitations imposed on both men and women by conventional gender roles, and the absurdities and abuses allowed by a p ...more
Haley
A story of balance that could be achieved if only we could celebrate women to be equal, thereby creating a wholeness that is lacking in the world today.

Being open to, and enjoying, what the polarity of man/woman, male/female, form/force offers moves us past the limits of duality.

Yes, it was written a long time ago and no, it is not great literature. It is, however, still timely if you can keep an open mind. Some women, even today, are seeking a light pointing the way.

In other reviews, championi
...more
Katrina
"Herland" is, in a way, timeless. Considering how long ago it was written the language and situations can be applied to the modern world quite easily. I've read a lot of reviews on here saying that it isn't relevent to today's world and I think anyone who feels that way isn't really understanding of the feminist movement and the rights women are still fighting for. We may no longer feel we belong to men, but there are most definitely still men on this planet who feel we do. The character of Terr ...more
Sue
I read this book because it was chosen by the feminist readers network. While I've read quite a bit of dystopian fiction (Orwell, Huxley, Ballard, Lessing) utopian fiction is new to me. To be honest, if I hadn't committed myself to reading Herland I would have given up on this book after a few chapters. It is badly written, is so black and white ( men are aggressive fools; women are perfect), and the characters are one dimensional stereotypes. Perhaps to be fair, generous even, in its day, Perki ...more
Therese
Oh, this ones just all types of insane fun. Written near a century ago, Gilman has her 3 male protagonists crashland an early plane into a secret uptopia where men don't exist.

And what a wonderful world it would be, too. Gentle, highly evolved, all needs met, no pain, entirely communist (you can't even raise your own kids there). No icky sex (babies are born when a woman WISHES super hard for one). The women of Herland ease the men into their blissful way of life, the men come to realize what u
...more
Yiannis Psaroudis
This book is extraordinary for three reasons:

1. It served as the inspiration for Wonder Woman's origin story. Creator William Moulton Marston was a turn-of-the-century hippy free-love feminist who had read the book about three buddies who happen upon a forgotten land inhabited entirely by women, on the eve of WWI.

2. Charlotte Perkins Gilman's early 20th-century utopian novel logically & rationally explains how the majority of society's shortcomings are the result of patriarchy. Yes, as a fem
...more
Anna
Must read for all women. This is an incredibly powerful book about the strength of women by the author of The Yellow Wallpaper. On the writing level, sometimes Gilman tells more than shows, but what she tells is fascinating. I feel she does a good job without man-bashing, though some of what she portrays is harsh. I'm amazed at Gilman's insight and wisdom at the time this book was written when women's roles were reduced and diminished. I read this book 16 years ago when my friend Esther recommen ...more
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Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a prominent American sociologist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry, and non fiction, and a lecturer for social reform. She was a utopian feminist during a time when her accomplishments were exceptional for women, and she served as a role model for future generations of feminists because of her unorthodox concepts and lifestyle. Her best remembered work today i ...more
More about Charlotte Perkins Gilman...

Other Books in the Series

The Herland Trilogy (3 books)
  • Moving the Mountain
  • With Her in Ourland: Sequel to Herland
The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories The Yellow Wall-Paper Herland, The Yellow Wall-Paper, and Selected Writings The Yellow Wall-Paper (Little Black Classics, #42) Herland and Selected Stories

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“Patriotism, red hot, is compatible with the existence of a neglect of national interests, a dishonesty, a cold indifference to the suffering of millions. Patriotism is largely pride, and very largely combativeness. Patriotism generally has a chip on its shoulder.” 16 likes
“Woman" in the abstract is young, and, we assume, charming. As they get older they pass off the stage, somehow, into private ownership mostly, or out of it altogether.” 12 likes
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