American Socialist Triptych: The Literary-Political Work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Upton Sinclair, and W. E. B. Du Bois explores the contributions of three writers to the development of American socialism over a fifty--year period and asserts the vitality of socialism in modern American literature and culture.
Drawing upon a wide range of texts including archival sources, Mark W. Van Wienen demonstrates the influence of reform-oriented, democratic socialism both in the careers of these writers and in U.S. politics between 1890 and 1940. While offering unprecedented in-depth analysis of modern American socialist literature, this book charts the path by which the supposedly impossible, dangerous ideals of a cooperative commonwealth were realized, in part, by the New Deal.
American Socialist Triptych provides in-depth, innovative readings of the featured writers and their engagement with socialist thought and action. Upton Sinclair represents the movement's most visible manifestation, the Socialist Party of America, founded in 1901; Charlotte Perkins Gilman reflects the socialist elements in both feminism and 1890s reform movements, and W. E. B. Du Bois illuminates social democratic aspirations within the NAACP. Van Wienen's book seeks to re-energize studies of Sinclair by treating him as a serious cultural figure whose career peaked not in the early success of The Jungle but in his nearly successful 1934 run for the California governorship. It also demonstrates as never before the centrality of socialism throughout Gilman's and Du Bois's literary and political careers.
More broadly, American Socialist Triptych challenges previous scholarship on American radical literature, which has focused almost exclusively on the 1930s and Communist writers. Van Wienen argues that radical democracy was not the phenomenon of a decade or of a single group but a sustained tradition dispersed within the culture, providing a useful genealogical explanation for how socialist ideas were actually implemented through the New Deal.
American Socialist Triptych also revises modern American literary history, arguing for the endurance of realist and utopian literary modes at the height of modernist literary experimentation and showing the importance of socialism not only to the three featured writers but also to their peers, including Edward Bellamy, Hamlin Garland, Jack London, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Claude McKay. Further, by demonstrating the importance of social democratic thought to feminist and African American campaigns for equality, the book dialogues with recent theories of radical egalitarianism. Readers interested in American literature, U.S. history, political theory, and race, gender, and class studies will all find in American Socialist Triptych a valuable and provocative resource.
A compelling critical investigation into Gilman’s conception of setting and place
Charlotte Perkins Gilman and a Woman’s Place in America is a pioneering collection that probes how depictions of space, confinement, and liberation establish both the difficulty and necessity of female empowerment. Turning Victorian notions of propriety and a woman’s place on its ear, this finely crafted essay collection studies Gilman’s writings and the manner in which they push back against societal norms and reject male-dominated confines of space.
The contributors present fascinating and innovative readings of some of Gilman’s most significant works. By examining the settings in “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Herland, for example, the volume analyzes Gilman’s construction of place, her representations of male dominance and female subjugation, and her analysis of the rules and obligations that women feel in conforming to their assigned place: the home.
Additionally, this volume delineates female resistance to this conformity. Contributors highlight how Gilman’s narrators often choose resistance over obedient captivity, breaking free of the spaces imposed upon them in order to seek or create their own habitats. Through biographical interpretations of Gilman’s work that focus on the author’s own renouncement of her “natural” role of wife and mother, contributors trace her relocation to the American West in an attempt to appropriate the masculinized spaces of work and social organization.
Engaging, well-researched, and deftly written, the essays in this collection will appeal to scholars of Gilman, literature, and gender issues alike.
Considers Gilman’s place in American literary and social history by examining her relationships to other prominent intellectuals of her era
By placing Charlotte Perkins Gilman in the company of her contemporaries, this collection seeks to correct misunderstandings of the feminist writer and lecturer as an isolated radical. Gilman believed and preached that no life is ever led in isolation; indeed, the cornerstone of her philosophy was the idea that “humanity is a relation.”
Gilman's highly public and combative stances as a critic and social activist brought her into contact and conflict with many of the major thinkers and writers of the period, including Mary Austin, Margaret Sanger, Ambrose Bierce, Grace Ellery Channing, Lester Ward, Inez Haynes Gillmore, William Randolph Hearst, Karen Horney, William Dean Howells, Catharine Beecher, George Bernard Shaw, and Owen Wister. Gilman wrote on subjects as wide ranging as birth control, eugenics, race, women's rights and suffrage, psychology, Marxism, and literary aesthetics. Her many contributions to social, intellectual, and literary life at the turn of the 20th century raised the bar for future discourse, but at great personal and professional cost.
During her lifetime, Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935) was a popular writer, public speaker, and social reformer whose literary interests ranged from short stories, novels, and nonfiction philosophical studies to poetry, newspaper columns, plays, and many other genres. Though she fell into obscurity after her death, there has been a resurgence of interest in Gilman’s works among literary scholars.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman: New Texts, New Contexts represents a new phase of feminist scholarship in recovery, drawing readers’ attention to Gilman’s lesser-known works from fresh perspectives that revise what we thought we knew about the author and her work. Volume contributors consider an array of texts that have not yet enjoyed adequate critical scrutiny, including Gilman’s short fiction, drama, and writing for periodicals, as well as her long fiction. Similarly, incorporating careful archival, biographical, and historical research, contributors explore Gilman’s life and writings—including her most famous story, “The Yellow Wall-Paper”—through strikingly new critical lenses. Other essays included here assess Gilman’s place in a longer historical trajectory and within multiple rhetorical traditions, from the genre of feminist humor to the canon of African American women’s literary production.
“These essays exemplify all the virtues of interdisciplinarity in consideration of that most multidisciplined of writers, Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The contributors simultaneously clarify and complicate our understanding of some of the more vexed areas of Gilman's work by engaging saliently with her theories of ethnicity, class, prostitution, and the dynamics of gender; posing difficult questions to contemporary feminist scholars; and providing sensitive and insightful guidance to a well-chosen and wide range of texts.”—Janet Beer, author of Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton and Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Studies in Short Fiction
Famous for her short fiction—most notably “The Yellow Wallpaper”—Charlotte Perkins Gilman also produced a vast body of nonfiction in tandem with her work as a Progressive-era feminist reformer. Rooted in groundbreaking research on Gilman’s extensive correspondence, publications, and speeches, this keenly argued intellectual biography reconstructs her controversial output and the heady context in which she produced it.
Judith Allen provides the first comprehensive assessment of Gilman’s complicated feminism by exploring the renowned writer’s theories of sexuality and evolutionary analyses of androcentric—or male-dominated—culture. These ideas, Allen shows, informed Gilman’s many contributions to the suffrage movement, the fight to abolish regulated prostitution, and efforts to legalize birth control. Restoring a previously overlooked public intellectual to her preeminent place in Progressive-era politics and the history of feminism at home and abroad, Allen’s landmark study provides the fullest account available of Gilman’s consequential life and profoundly influential work.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1869-1935) was one of the leading intellectuals of the American women's movement in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Moving beyond the struggle for suffrage, Gilman confronted an even larger problem—economic and social discrimination against women. Her book, Women and Economics, published in 1898, was repeatedly printed and translated into seven languages. She was a tireless traveler, lecturer, and writer and is perhaps best known for her dramatic short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper." Gilman's autobiography gives us access to the life of a remarkable and courageous woman.
Originally published in 1935, soon after Gilman's death, The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman has been out of print for several years. This edition includes a new introduction by Gilman's noted biographer, Anne J. Lane.
Raising the Dust identifies a heretofore-overlooked literary phenomenon that author Beth Sutton-Ramspeck calls “literary housekeeping.” The three writers she examines rejected turn-of-the-century aestheticism and modernism in favor of a literature that is practical, even ostensibly mundane, designed to “set the human household in order.”
To Mary Augusta Ward, Sarah Grand, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, housekeeping represented public responsibilities: making the food supply safe, reforming politics, and improving the human race itself. Raising the Dust places their writing in the context of the late-Victorian era, in particular the eugenics movement, the proliferation of household conveniences, the home economics movement, and decreased reliance on servants. These changes affected relationships between the domestic sphere and the public sphere, and hence shaped the portrayal of domesticity in the era's fiction and nonfiction.
Moreover, Ward, Grand, and Gilman articulated a domestic aesthetic that swept away boundaries. Sutton-Ramspeck uncovers a new paradigm here: literature as engaging the public realm through the devices and perspectives of the domestic. Her innovative and ambitious book also connects fixations on cleaning with the discovery of germs (the first bacterium discovered was anthrax, and knowledge of its properties increased fears of dust); analyzes advertising cards for soap; and links the mental illness in Gilman's “The Yellow Wall-Paper” to fears during the period of arsenic poisoning from wallpaper.