With Her in Ourland: Sequel to Herland

With Her in Ourland: Sequel to Herland

With Her in Ourland: Sequel to Herland

With Her in Ourland: Sequel to Herland

Synopsis

Reissues an important but overlooked work by a brilliant American feminist.

Excerpt

Mary Jo Deegan

When Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland was republished in book format in 1979 and touted as “a lost feminist Utopian novel,” The New York Times Book Review concluded, “May the goddess smile on those who have rescued the book from its long oblivion.” Herland portrays a cooperative society composed only of women where mothering is the central political and personal activity. The women live a pastoral existence and peaceably develop intelligence, wit, grace, and independence. They give birth parthenogenetically, and sexuality is primarily experienced through giving birth rather than interpersonal activity. Herland ostensibly presented a utopian separatist fantasy, and Gilman was easily championed as a witty, feminist visionary.

With Her in Ourland: Sequel to Herland is the equally “lost,” largely unknown continuation of Herland. It resumes the adventures of Herland's central protagonists, Ellador and Van, but turns from utopian fantasy to challenging analyses of social fissures that plague us yet today. Gilman (1916) published With Her in Ourland during 1916 in The Forerunner as a continuation of Herland (Gilman 1915). No less witty, no less sage, Gilman's long-ignored, sociologically informed critique in With Her in Ourland suggests neither feminist separatism nor quixotic escapism, but calls for reason, social action, and cooperation between the sexes. Thus, I conclude . . .

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