The Yellow Wall-Paper

By Charlotte Perkins Gilman | Go to book overview
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Afterword

"The Yellow Wall-Paper" is a small literary masterpiece. For almost fifty years it has been overlooked, as has its author, one of the most commanding feminists of her time. Now, with the new growth of the feminist movement, Charlotte Perkins Gilman is being rediscovered, and "The Yellow Wall-Paper" should share in that rediscovery. The story of a woman's mental breakdown, narrated with superb psychological and dramatic precision, it is, as William Dean Howells said of it in 1920, a story to "freeze our . . . blood." 1

The story was wrenched out of Gilman's own life, and is unique in the canon of her works. Although she wrote other fiction -- short stories and novels -- and much poetry as well, none of it ever achieved the power and directness, the imaginative authenticity of this piece. Polemical intent often made her fiction dry and clumsily didactic; and the extraordi

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