march 2020

24mar4:00 pm6:00 pmThe Yellow Wallpaper Short Story : Donation onlyFULL-- new study announced for week of March 30th4:00 pm - 6:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:One Off EventDuration:One day

Event Details

“I really have discovered something at last. Through watching so much at night, when it changes so, I have finally found out. The front pattern does move – and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it! Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over. Then in the very ‘ bright spots she keeps still, and in the very shady spots she just takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard. And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern – it strangles so:…”
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wall-Paper

SALON DETAILS ***In light of the current epidemic, the London Literary Salon is offering VIRTUAL studies- we will be using ZOOM for our seminars– so you can join from anywhere in the world***

  • Facilitated by Toby Brothers
  • Tuesday March 24th  
  • One meeting; two hours 4-6 PM GMT
  • Meeting on line
  • Recommended edition:  (this can be found in many short story anthologies or on-line:

TO REGISTER for the study, please use the secure Paypal payment button donate-anything from 1£ or 1 EURO or $1 is fine.

This is a virtual study: a study like this is priced at £25 for the two hours– to participate you will need to subscribe to Zoom (free) and donate £1/$1 minimum. All donations will be going to my local foodbank to help those in need in this COVID-19 crisis. Your donation is your registration. The study is limited to 10 participants. Please contact us if you have any questions.


Below you will find some further readings and background information about Charlotte Perkins Gilman and her most famous short story.  I can email  an outline regarding the Turn of the Century (that would be 19th-20th) and the impact of major paradigm shifts of the time on women.

All of this will be useful to our discussion, but as always the purpose of the Salon is to engage with the words on the page.  In my research on TYW, I have found many writers summarizing the story as showing how the rest cure resulted in madness for the patient. This is positioned as an extension of the societal oppression of women at the time that Gilman exposes using her passionate narrator. But this is too simple- and disregards the intrigue and complexity of the mind that changes over the course of the story. Pay close attention to the images and patterns of narration: how does Gilman bring the reader into the world of the narrator? How is this world made plausible- up to and through the end?

To position this work as a feminist writing can be useful but also runs the risk of reducing the peculiarities of the piece. We may discuss the rubric of feminist writings and how that can be useful to our understanding of the historical context of the story while we attend to the range of questions raised in the piece. What is madness, for example, and can we definitively describe the narrator as mad?

Notes on Charlotte Perkins Gilman (outlined from the Norton Anthology of American Literature)

1860-1935: CPG lived her life on the margins of a society whose economic assumptions about women she vigorously repudiated. Through her resistance to the ‘masculinist ideals’ of the time came the body of work, both fiction and non-fiction, that she produced to question and offer a new societal vision.

Raised by her mother alone in Rhode Island after her father abandoned her family, Charlotte describes her upbringing as painful and lonely. Her mother tried to prevent her children from dependency on broken relationships by withholding all expressions of physical love. Charlotte struggled to support herself as a governess and designer of greeting cards before she married, and quickly came to understand the lack of economic opportunities available to women. She became involved in the suffrage movement, writing in defense of prostitutes among other subjects. When she married, she struggled to continue her growing career as a writer and lecturer while taking on the mantle of wife and mother. Her growing despondency led to her treatment at the hands of Dr. S. Weir Mitchell and the use of his rest cure (please read the one page description cited below).  Gilman chose to separate from her husband when she became convinced her marriage threatened her sanity; her private choices reflected her championing of non-traditional roles for women. Her writings included Women and Economics wherein she argues that women’s economic dependency on men stunts not only the growth of women but that of the whole human species. In Herland, Gilman imagines a feminist utopia populated only by women (reproduced by parthenogenesis) in a society that is collectively administrated and ecologically sound.

*Rest Cure:

*Google book introduction from Dr. S. Weir Mitchell: