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  • Virago

The Yellow Wallpaper

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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Virago Modern Classics, Fiction, Classic fiction (pre c 1945)

First published in 1892, this perfect novel portrays with chilling power the powerlessness of women within Victorian marriage.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrenched this small literary masterpiece from her own experience. Narrated with superb psychological skill and dramatic precision, it tells the story of a nameless woman driven mad by enforced confinement after the birth of her child. Isolated in a colonial mansion in the middle of nowhere, forced to sleep in an attic nursery with barred windows and sickly yellow wallpaper, secretly she does what she has to do - she writes. She craves intellectual stimulation, activity, loving understanding, instead she is ordered to her bedroom to rest and 'pull herself together'. Here, slowly but surely, the tortuous pattern of the wallpaper winds its way into the recesses of her mind...

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Charlotte Anna Perkins (1860-1935) married at the age of twenty-four, but three years later separated from her husband. She was a writer of non-fiction and poetry, an editor, feminist theorist, and most of her work is about the status and oppression of women. She married again in 1900 but committed suicide a year after her husband died of inoperable cancer.

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