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Herland and Selected Stories

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  296 ratings  ·  28 reviews
At the turn of the century, Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a celebrity—acclaimed as a leader in the feminist movement and castigated for her divorce, her relinquishment of custody of her daughter, and her unconventional second marriage. She was also widely read, with stories in popular magazines and with dozens of books in print. But her most famous short story, the intensel ...more
Paperback, 349 pages
Published July 7th 1992 by Signet Classics (first published 1915)
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Julie  Capell
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the history of feminism
Recommended to Julie by: Megan Cherrier
I picked up this book after a friend gave me a photocopy of one of the short stories within, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” a mesmerizing first-person account of a woman suffering from extreme post-partum depression. The way in which the story was written was so modern that it was next to impossible for me to believe it was written in 1892. I knew I had to read more by this writer, and am extremely glad I purchased this omnibus volume. It contains not only “The Yellow Wallpaper” but also nearly 20 othe ...more
Davida Chazan
Around a century ago, Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a well-known feminist fiction writer, including "Herland" and "The Yellow Wallpaper." Find out what I thought of this collection of her work in my review here. ...more
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it
First sentence: This is written from memory, unfortunately. If I could have brought with me the material I so carefully prepared, this would be a very different story.

Premise/plot: Vandyck Jennings is a sociologist traveling or exploring with Terry O. Nicholson and Jeff Margrave. On one of their trips they hear rumors of a 'strange and terrible Woman land...this strange country where no men lived--only women and girl children.' They don't have time on this first trip to seek it out, but, they be
The title story, Herland, published in 1915, is the story of three men of varying temperaments and occupations who have heard stories of a land of solely women. They make the journey themselves, despite warnings of the demise of others before them, and compare their world with the women they meet. Meant to be a "feminist utopia", Gilman details a land in which men have become obsolete and nature has found a way to continue the life cycle without them. The three men expect the women to be thrille ...more
May 17, 2015 rated it liked it
I read the story online because it was assigned for one of my classes and I am a broke student. Anyway.

Gilman makes a lot of good points about patriarchal language, education, and labor in her story. So in that respect, this is a great read. BUT. She situates her women's utopia in two spaces 1) that of being a white woman's utopia and 2) that of being women ultimately finding comfort through their motherhood.

Let's examine both of these shall we.

Why do I say Gilman's utopia is only for whit
Jan 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
For anyone interested in women writers, feminism, or American feminism in particular, this is an excellent book to read. I'd love to plunk Christine de Pizan down in a room with Charlotte Perkins Gilman and let them hash out their various ideas of feminist utopias. Out of the short stories in the book, I would most recommend The Yellow Wallpaper.
Brian Bennett
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Charlotte Perkins Gilman has to be the original cat lady. Fascinating book when taken in historical context. Collection of stories after "Herland" is hit or miss - but again, context of the times make it interesting as a prelude to modern-day feminism.
Marc Kohlman
Compelling and amazingly modern and revolutionary in its language. I read "Herland" as part of my English 381 class Rebels & Revolutionaries. I was surprised to learn that the author Charlotte P. Gilman was the grand niece of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Gilman herself was a unique woman for her time and her three years of hysteria and Feminist ideals had great influence on her work. Of the three men who discover Herland, Jeff Margrave and Van Jennings were the only ...more
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent edition of Gilman's intriguing early feminist Utopia. The excellent critical introduction and judicious ancillary reading selections (other examples of Gilman's fiction, as well as selections of her non-fiction and of other material that influenced her) illuminate the book very well. The book itself attempts to imagine what an all-female society wold be like and predictably imagines it in utopian terms. The basis of the society (parthenogenesis emerging after all the men die ...more
Harper Jean
Jun 27, 2019 added it
Shelves: gender
Best known for the haunting "The Yellow Wallpaper," Perkins Gilman was a prolific suffragist writer in the early 20th century. Like many leaders of that movement, she was also a blatant white supremacist and eugenicist. This shows in many places in this book, including the entire contrived premise of the otherwise hokey but interesting "Herland," wherein she posits an isolated utopia of white women on an otherwise "savage" continent.

"The Yellow Wallpaper" still stands up as a haunting piece of s
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-books
I enjoyed this - but I can't say it was my favorite. While overall this was an extremely interesting book, Terry's character pissed me off every time that he spoke... but I guess that was the point of his character. Giving this a 3.5 just because I didn't feel as engaged in the story as I had hoped
Tray Stone
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Herland is an excellent short novel about a female Utopia.
It is the middle novel in a trilogy.
"The Yellow Wall-Paper" is a much antholgized short story that describes a post-partum depression bout of psychosis in the manner of Poe.
Surprised by how much I loved this.

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2018: A book about feminism
Gudrun Mouw
The style seemed artificial somehow. On too rare occasion a good wit and pathos.
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best.
May 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
In light of my recent reading of Sinclair's "The Jungle," "Herland" seems to be the female equivalent of Chicago's male owned Stockyards. It is an organized, efficient machine, much like Packingtown, yet without the corruption, abuse and crime. However, while "The Jungle" was equally if not more negative towards the evils of American society, particularly in the hands of men, it was easier to swallow due to the fact that it wasn't based on wishful extreme-feminist thinking. While I consider myse ...more
Jan 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chose this to kick off my Classics 2013 challenge after finding it on 3 different lists, and realizing the only thing of Gilman's I'd ever read was 'The Yellow Wallpaper.' That is included in this collection, and as it always has, creeped me out! (A few years ago, a friend asked me to help her chose wallpaper for her home; her favorite was a pseudo-jungly print in shades of saffron that brought this story to mind. I sat her down and made her read the story. She went with the blue stripe.)
The ending was so anticlimactic! I was a little disappointed by the ending but I really liked this book. It astounds me how women were and still are, quite frankly, seen as incapable of working together and believed to be a simple response to men. In my quest for learning both the essentials and non-essentials about being a feminist, I regarded this as a must read and I was right.

Favorite quotes:

""But they look - why, this is a civilized country!" I protested. "There must be men." (Ch. 1, pg. 1
Dec 17, 2013 rated it liked it
I was mostly interested in Herland, though I skimmed some of the short stories.

The group of three men captured three basic attitudes toward women: sexual conquest, idealization, and scientific observer, relatively neutral reporting. The clash between expectations and experiences created both humor and insight into the roles and skills of women. It was fun watching the men getting over their assumption that there were men hidden somewhere. It was good reading about ordinary cultural assumptions f
Eric Marcy
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Herland" posits a fascinating alternate society where only women exist, and the traditional gender stereotypes are completely broken down and abolished. Provocative, particularly for its time, the story is a near perfect vehicle for the philosophical/psychological thought experiment. Gilman really shakes up our ideas of what it means to be male and female and which virtues might be better. The exploration of three different male mindsets (the misogynist, the chivalrous, and the rationalist) hel ...more
Dec 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ideas in Herland were very interesting to me. I was intrigued by these women who were able to form a society with little to no problems. Their views on equality and the importance of child bearers put things into perspective that the average individual in their time and in ours seems to take for granted. This shows through with the different ways that the visiting men treat the women of Herland. The fact that women can bring up this new society demonstrates such strength and equality in itse ...more
Dec 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. The over all theme of thinking something is always better, but in a way life is what you make it. I enjoyed the concept of Herland and the utopian society that grows there. It was an interesting alternative to life as we know it. It is cool to think that there could be a completely different way of life and reproduction than we behave.
Jan 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished reading Herland, which is why I picked this book up. I'm not sure I want to read the rest of the short stories and snippets in this volume. Included is the Yellow Wallpaper, which I've already read several times.

Gilman was writing around 100 years ago and you can sense the age. I've wanted to read Herland for ages, and glad I did.
Oct 01, 2011 rated it liked it
A good collection of stories. But Terry (in Herland)? Dude, I totally want to punch you in the face... :)
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Considering all the negative things I heard about this book, I was pleasantly surprised when I didn't dislike it.
Jul 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Herland was one of my required reading books for my college honors class. I loved the premise of the book; however, the writing didn't seem to be as good. All in all worth the read.
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting and thought provoking!
Karina Zavala
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved it!
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Oct 27, 2019
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Fantasy & Science...: Essays on Herland 1 5 Dec 27, 2013 07:45AM  

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman, also known as Charlotte Perkins Stetson, was a prominent American sociologist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction, 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 li ...more

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