The Yellow Wallpaper. in New England Magazine (January 1892): 647-57
by Stetson, Charlotte Perkins. [Charlotte Perkins Gilman]
First Edition. Original brown cloth publisher's binding with gilt to spine. Crown and foot of spine gently rubbed. Text block tight and clean. Internally complete with the exception of a single excised leaf (page 33-34) not affecting Gilman's short story. Overall an excellent copy of this pivotal literary work, frequently listed as one of the most important examples of American fiction by a woman. Scarce in first edition, the volume containing The Yellow Wallpaper has appeared twice at auction in the last 20 years.At a slim 6,379 words, Gilman's short story is psychologically dense and immediately made an impression on the American literary canon. Narrating a woman's struggle with postpartum depression, The Yellow Wallpaper exposed readers to the struggles faced by a multitude of wives and mothers during the Victorian period. As a result of her husband and brother both diagnosing her with "a slight hysterical tendency," the female protagonist tells readers she is "forbidden to 'work' until I am well again. Personally, I disagree with their ideas. Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good...I think sometimes if I were only well enough to write a little, it would relieve the press of ideas and rest me." Gilman commented in an interview two decades later that the story was based largely on her own series of psychological breaks that resulted when she was allowed to give birth to children but was blocked from giving birth to her ideas through writing. The Yellow Wallpaper became influential in and out of its own field, raising questions about the treatment of mental illness among women, exposing the dangerous social expectations that limited women to domestic roles, and revealing the chilling prose ability of its author. By the time of The Yellow Wallpaper's release as a separate text in 1899, Gilman's career had come to include fiction and non-fiction, and she became an outspoken advocate for women's political and economic equality.
(Inventory #: 2079)
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