Science Fiction Gilman, Charlotte Perkins: The Utopian “Herland” Trilogy. v1. 14 Feb 2022
#1  GrannyGrump 02-14-2022, 07:00 AM

Gilman pointedly calls this book “a short-distance Utopia, a baby Utopia, a little one that can grow.”
At a remote location in Tibet, a man in local costume, backed by a group of native people, confronts a woman at the head of an exploratory expedition; there is a sudden sense of realization as the man and woman recognize each other as siblings. Thirty years earlier, at the age of 25, John Robertson had been traveling through rural Tibet and had fallen over a precipice. He was nursed back to health by local villagers, but his memory was deeply impaired until he regained his recollection upon meeting his sister Ellen. He returns with her to the United States, to face a society that is vastly different from the one he knew in his youth.

Three young American men discover a country inhabited solely by women, who reproduced by parthenogenesis (a form of asexual reproduction), and had borne only girl children for two thousand years; eventually they marry three of the women.
The central theme of Herland is defining gender — the roles, how it is socially constructed, and how it is viewed as unchangeable by both genders. It also focuses on motherhood and individuality.

This book immediately follows the events of Herland, with Terry, Van, and Ellador traveling from Herland to “Ourland” (the contemporary 1915-16 world). The majority of the novel follows Van and Ellador’s travels throughout the world, and particularly the United States, with Van curating their explorations through the then-modern world, while Ellador offers her commentary and “prescriptions” from a Herlander’s perspective, discussing topics such as the First World War, foot binding, education, politics, economics, race relations, and gender relations.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (July 3, 1860 – August 17, 1935), also known as Charlotte Perkins Stetson, her first married name, was an American humanist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry and nonfiction, and a lecturer for social reform. She was a utopian feminist and served as a role model for future generations of feminists because of her unorthodox concepts and lifestyle. She has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Her best remembered work today is her semi-autobiographical short story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, which she wrote after a severe bout of postpartum psychosis.

Moving the Mountain, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935), was serialized in The Forerunner magazine in 1911, and published in book format in 1911; Herland was serialized in The Forerunner magazine in 1915; With Her in Ourland was serialized in The Forerunner magazine in 1916. The latter two titles were not published in book format until 1979 and 1997, respectively. Cover vignette from a painting by Mary Cassatt (1844–1926). This ebook is in the public domain where copyright is “Life+80” or less, and in the USA.
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