Wild Unrest: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Making of

Wild Unrest: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Making of "The Yellow Wall-Paper"

by Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz
     
 

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In Wild Unrest, Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz offers a vivid portrait of Charlotte Perkins Gilman in the 1880s, drawing new connections between the author's life and work and illuminating the predicament of women then and now. Horowitz draws on a treasure trove of primary sources to explore the nature of 19th-century nervous illness and to illuminate the making of

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Overview

In Wild Unrest, Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz offers a vivid portrait of Charlotte Perkins Gilman in the 1880s, drawing new connections between the author's life and work and illuminating the predicament of women then and now. Horowitz draws on a treasure trove of primary sources to explore the nature of 19th-century nervous illness and to illuminate the making of Gilman's famous short story, "The Yellow Wall-Paper": Gilman's journals and letters, which closely track her daily life and the reading that most influenced her; the voluminous diaries of her husband, Walter Stetson; and the writings, published and unpublished of S. Weir Mitchell, whose rest cure dominated the treatment of female "hysteria" in late 19th-century America. Horowitz argues that these sources ultimately reveal that Gilman's great story emerged more from emotions rooted in the confinement and tensions of her unhappy marriage than from distress following Mitchell's rest cure. Hailed by The Boston Globe as "an engaging portrait of the woman and her times," Wild Unrest adds immeasurably to our understanding of Charlotte Perkins Gilman as well as the literary and personal sources behind "The Yellow Wall-Paper."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A convincing, absorbing, and perceptive book." —Publishers Weekly

"Wild Unrest is enthralling. Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a brilliant, passionate, self-divided young American woman—prone to depression. Here is the powerful story of how she became a great American—one who could find both love and her life's work."—Catharine R. Stimpson, New York University

"With brilliant psychological and literary insight, Wild Unrest probes the conflicts between love and work that defined Charlotte Perkins Gilman's early adult life. The book will forever change our understanding of Gilman's most disturbing, and justly famous, work of fiction." — Elisabeth Israels Perry, author of Belle Moskowitz: Feminine Politics and the Exercise of Power in the Age of Alfred E. Smith

"An erudite, accessible, and timely tale of an extraordinary woman, whose words and deeds, in Horowitz's deft hands, lay bare the contours of passion, power, suffering, and medicine in a critical chapter of American life." — Andrea Tone, Canada Research Chair in the Social History of Medicine

"An intelligent provocative read." —Louise Gleason, Worcester Women's History Project

"[A] fascinating account of one woman's attempts to navigate the tightly circumscribed social world of the 1800s...Horowitz's account is compelling..." —Phoebe Connelly, Bookforum

"Horowitz found an interesting relationship to follow: our bold dreamer Charlotte and struggling artist Walter." —Carmen Johnson, tk reviews

"In Wild Unrest: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Making of The Yellow Wall-Paper, Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz brings Gilman's life and work together in an engaging portrait of the woman and her times." —Anna Mundow, Boston Globe

'[Horowitz] takes a gentle, yet personal approach, letting Gilman speak for herself much of the time through her diaries and letters... Wild Unrest is refreshingly non-reductive, in that its author allows Gilman to be complex, to have a nature that is both loving and resistant, physical and intellectual, male and female. Horowitz shares evidence of Gilman's deep affection for women without categorizing her in terms of today's sexual dichotomies. She also places Gilman's melancholic episodes in context, and provides a fascinating history behind terms like "neurasthenia," and famed neurologist S. Weir Mitchell's "rest cure."'
— Angela Meyer, Bookslut

'The first new biography, a must for "Wallpaper" geeks, is the elegantly written Wild Unrest: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Making of the Yellow Wall-Paper.' —Paula Kamen, Ms. Magazine

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199891931
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
11/15/2012
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
1,468,164
Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 5.00(h) x 0.80(d)

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