THE YELLOW WALL-PAPER is a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, first published in January 1892 in The New England Magazine. It is regarded as an important early work of American feminist literature, illustrating attitudes in the 19th century toward women's physical and mental health. Presented in the first person, the story is a collection of journal entries written by a woman whose physician husband has confined her to the upstairs bedroom of a house he has rented for the summer. She is forbidden from working and has to hide her journal from him, so she can recuperate from what he calls a "temporary nervous depression - a slight hysterical tendency," a diagnosis common to women in that period.
If a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency—wha...
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935) was born in New England, a descendant of the prominent and influential Beecher family. In 1884 she married Charles Water Stetson. After giving birth, Charlotte sank into a deep depression. She entered a sanitarium in Philadelphia to undergo the 'rest cure', a controversial treatment, which forbade any type of physical activity or intellectual stimulation. 1892, she published the now-famous story 'The Yellow Wall-Paper'. In 1898, her most famous nonfiction book, Women and Economics, was published. With its publication, and subsequent translation into seven languages, Gilman earned international acclaim. In 1900, she married her first cousin, George Houghton Gilman. Over the next thirty-five years, she wrote and published hundreds of stories and poems and more than a dozen books. Denise D. Knight is a professor of English at the State University of New York at Courtland, where she specializes in nineteenth-century American Literature. She is author of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: A Study of the Short Fiction and editor of The Later Poetry of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Diaries of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Abridged Diaries of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "The Yellow Wall-Paper" and Selected Stories of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. She is also the author of numerous articles, essays, and reviews on nineteenth-century American writers.
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