Startlingly rare first printing of Gilman's most important nonfiction work.
WOMEN AND ECONOMICS
"[W]hatever the economic value of the domestic industry of women is, they do not get it."<br />
Major feminist treatise on women's enforced economic dependence, published two years after Gilman served as California's delegate to the International Socialist and Labor Congress in London, cementing her stature as a serious social thinker and public intellectual. The perennial popularity of Gilman's eerie THE YELLOW WALLPAPER (1892) and utopian HERLAND (1915) has often effaced the importance of her political and polemical feminist writings, not least because much of her revolutionary socialism has won the argument and ceased to shock as it once did. A exception is Gilman's eloquent argument for community kitchens and universally available early childcare: a demand backed by reasoning that has remained solid for the past twelve decades without ever becoming the law in the country of the author's birth. Her argument for models of living outside the heteronormative nuclear family structure remains current as well: "Married people will always prefer a home together, and can have it; but groups of women or groups of men can also have a home together if they like..." And more than half a century before THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE, she identified the core of the housewife's alienation: "Men meet one another freely in their work, while women work alone."
As for the subject of female household labor, so prized and promoted by traditionalists, Gilman asks the (now) classic question: if women's domestic work is really worth so much to families, what will you pay them for it?
In and after the 1890s, Gilman (who divorced her first husband, artist Charles Walter Stetson, in 1884, and would take the name Gilman upon her second marriage, in 1900) became a renowned speaker on the lecture circuit, not only on the "Woman Question" but on a full range of economic, ethical, and educational topics, on which she continued to publish; the shortcomings of her ideology would be noted and critiqued by later feminists, though her importance remains. The deserved renown of THE YELLOW WALLPAPER has preserved Gilman's fame to the present day while obscuring both the importance and the sheer volume of her full published output, demonstrating the unfortunate effectiveness of Joanna Russ's famous dictum in HOW TO SUPPRESS WOMEN'S WRITING: "She wrote it, but she only wrote one of it." Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman in fact wrote hundreds of "it": WOMEN AND ECONOMICS is one of the most significant.
OCLC locates just one institutional holding.
Read more: Joanna Russ, How to Suppress Women's Writing.
Boston: Small, Maynard & Co, 1898. 7.5'' x 4.75''. Original red publisher's cloth. Printed paper label mounted to spine. vii, , 340 pages. Spine sunned; dampstaining to lower corner of front board. Minor foxing to endpapers and scattered throughout.
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