Approaches to Teaching Gilman’s The “Yellow Wall-Paper” and Herland

  • Editors: Denise D. Knight, Cynthia J. Davis
  • Pages: xvii & 198 pp.
  • Published: 2003
  • ISBN: 9780873529006 (Cloth)
  • ISBN: 9780873529013 (Paperback)
Approaches to Teaching Gilman's "The Yellow Wall-Paper" and Herland Cover

“This long-awaited volume will be extraordinarily useful to teachers of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The essays model a most admirable kind of academic writing: they recognize the scholarly nature of pedagogy and hence serve both as practical resources for teachers (helping them develop syllabi, presentations, and assignments) and as exciting new contributions to the scholarship on Gilman.”

—Jennifer S. Tuttle, University of New England

Although the rediscovery in 1973 of the long-forgotten story “The Yellow Wall-Paper” (1892), by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, met an enthusiastic reception, no one expected the enormous impact it would have, resulting in dozens of articles and books, numerous dissertations, dramatizations on stage and in film, and inclusion in college literature anthologies. Not surprisingly, then, the story, often alongside Gilman’s second-most-famous work, Herland (1915), is widely taught in a variety of disciplines: literature, composition, feminist theory, women’s studies, psychology, history, sociology, religion—even geography. This volume in the MLA’s Approaches to Teaching series addresses the rewards and challenges of teaching these two works and offers a practical and valuable resource for teachers who are new to Gilman as well as for experienced teachers looking for fresh approaches.

Like other volumes in the series, this one is divided into two parts. The “Materials” section discusses editions and anthologies; surveys other writings by Gilman; suggests background and critical studies of interest to students and teachers; and identifies an array of supplemetary materials: film adaptations of “The Yellow Wall-Paper”; historical documents on birth control and the eugenics and Socialist movements; women’s magazines and handbooks published in Gilman’s time; and related literary works by other women writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe. The “Approaches” section contains twenty-one essays that look at the works from a variety of perspectives, for students on different levels in a range of courses.