Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Her Contemporaries: Literary and Intellectual Contexts

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Cynthia J. Davis, Denise D. Knight
University of Alabama Press, Apr 16, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 251 pages
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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.


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1 The Two Mrs Stetsons and the Romantic Summer
Charlotte Perkins Gilman and William Dean Howells
The Literary Politics of Gender in FindeSiècle California
4 Charlotte Perkins Gilman William Randolph Hearst and the Practice of Ethical
Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Lester Frank Ward
Animadversions and Obstacles
7 The Sins of the Mothers and Charlotte Perkins Gilmans Covert Alliance with Catharine Beecher
Intertextuality and Womans Manifest Destiny
Mary Austin and Charlotte Perkins Gilman
A Source for Herland in Inez Haynes Gillmores Angel Island
Herland Meets Heterodoxy
Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Karen Horney on Freudian Psychoanalysis

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About the author (2004)

Cynthia J. Davis is Associate Professor of English at the University of South Carolina and author of Bodily and Narrative Forms: The Influence of Medicine on American Literature, 1845-1915.

Denise D. Knight
is Professor of English at the State University of New York, Cortland, and author of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: A Study of the Short Fiction.

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