Edited by Shawn St. Jean
"This volume offers both Gilman scholars and scholars of textual studies a unique and helpful means of engaging with a work that exists in multiple forms, and includes some insightful new readings of this much-analyzed story."
Charlotte Rich, editor of the Charlotte Perkins Gilman Newsletter
“The question recently has become not simply ‘What does the story mean?‘ but also ‘Which story?‘… St. Jean’s edited volume is necessary reading for anyone seeking to understand the often-Byzantine critical debate in textual and Gilman studies over which is the authoritative version of Gilman’s story, which variants matter and why, and how are we to know.”
Resources for American Literary Study
“In short, this edition is a valuable resource not only for scholars of Gilman’s oeuvre, but indeed for the many of us who teach her best-known story in our classrooms.”
American Literary Realism
“One cannot fail to recognize the importance of the volume. It sheds useful light on 1890s publishing practices, provides essential source material for anyone planning to reprint Gilman’s story, and, most importantly, offers critics of the story easy access to the two important competing texts—and fodder for potentially endless critical debate.”
Scholars have argued for decades over which constitutes the best possible version of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s frequently anthologized story “The Yellow Wall-Paper.”
Most editions have been based on the 1892 New England Magazine publication rather than the handwritten manuscript at Radcliffe College. Publication of the unedited manuscript in 1994 sparked controversy over which of the two was definitive. Since then, scholars have discovered half a dozen parent texts for later twentieth-century printings, including William Dean Howells’s version from 1920 and the 1933 Golden Book version.
While traditional critical editions gather evidence and make an argument for adopting one text as preferable to others,“The Yellow Wall-Paper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: A Dual-Text Critical Edition, edited by Shawn St. Jean, offers both manuscript and magazine versions, critically edited and printed in parallel for the first time. New significance appears in such facets as the magazine’s accompanying illustrations, its lineation and paragraphing, Gilman’s choice of pronouns, and her original handwritten ending.
This critical edition of “The Yellow Wall-Paper” includes a full and nontraditional apparatus, making it easy for students and scholars to study the more than four hundred variants between the two texts. Four new essays, written especially for this volume, explore the implications of this multitext model.
Shawn St. Jean, an independent scholar in Brockport, New York, has previously published on Charlotte Perkins Gilman in Studies in Bibliography, Feminist Studies, and Studies in Short Fiction. He is the author of Pagan Dreiser: Songs from American Mythology.
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