Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s provocative utopian novel Herland, first published in 1915, tells its story through the observations of three male explorers who discover a land inhabited solely by women; the women reproduce through parthenogenesis (asexual reproduction). Initially skeptical, the explorers come to realize that Herland has evolved into an ideal, cooperative, matriarchal society—fertile, peaceful, and clean—by selectively reproducing the women’s best attributes. As the explorers study Herland culture, they also rethink their own.
This edition reproduces the text originally published in The Forerunner in 1915, including several passages omitted from other editions. Stories, poetry, and nonfiction writing by Gilman on topics such as birth control, capital punishment, and eugenics provide a rich context for the novel. Materials originally published alongside Herland in 1915, many of which have never before been republished, are also included, as is an excerpt from the sequel, With Her in Ourland.
“A splendid classroom edition of Gilman’s best-known novel. Not only does Beth Sutton-Ramspeck restore some passages omitted by previous editors of the text, her introduction and selection of ‘related writings’ smartly situate the story and the controversial issues it raises—political, biological, social, architectural, environmental, literary, and economic—in the context of Gilman’s life and times.” — Gary Scharnhorst, University of New Mexico
“This edition importantly positions Gilman alongside authors often associated with her—such as socialist and fellow utopian writer Edward Bellamy—and those rarely paired with her, such as nature writer John Muir. Likewise, Herland and Related Writings brings together excerpts from seminal Gilman works with her lesser-known works, and, of real interest, materials that appeared in The Forerunner in 1915 alongside Herland. In her introduction, Beth Sutton-Ramspeck concludes provocatively in speculating on Gilman’s response to approaches to her still prescient novel.” — Catherine Golden, Skidmore College
“While numerous editions of Herland have appeared in the years since the novel’s recovery, Beth Sutton-Ramspeck’s Herland and Related Writings will prove an invaluable resource for scholars and students alike. The carefully chosen “Related Writings” consist of selections from Gilman’s wide-ranging oeuvre, including, in an inspired editorial decision, materials appearing alongside Herland in the 1915 run of The Forerunner. Ancillary materials usefully complement and clarify Gilman’s best-known novel, making this new volume a welcome addition to Gilman scholarship.” — Cynthia Davis, University of South Carolina, Columbia