Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wall-Paper
  • The Yellow Wall-Paper

  • Brought to you by Penguin.

    This Penguin Classic is performed by Jessica Brown Findlay, Jamael Westman and Sheila Atim.

    'The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing'

    Written with barely controlled fury after she was confined to her room for 'nerves' and forbidden to write, Gilman's pioneering feminist horror story scandalized nineteenth-century readers with its portrayal of a woman who loses her mind because she has literally nothing to do.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born in 1860 in Connecticut. She was a feminist and journalist and author of a number of fiction and non-fiction works. These include Women and Economics (1898), Concerning Children (1900), The Home: Its Work and Influence (1903) and Herland (1915). She is best remembered for her short story ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ which describes the descent of a woman into madness following a ‘rest cure’. Unconventional in many ways, Gilman’s life included two marriages and separation from her nine-year-old daughter, whom she sent to live with her ex-husband and his new wife. She was a Suffragette, a public speaker on social issues and the editor of a number of literary magazines during her career. In 1932, Gilman was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer and, as an advocate of euthanasia, she took the decision to commit suicide. She did this on 17 August 1935 by taking an overdose of chloroform.

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