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Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
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Member:Dirk_P_Broer
Title:Herland
Authors:Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Other authors:Irene Reddish (Cover artist)
Info:London : The Women's Press Ltd (March 1986), Edition: 2nd UK Edition, Mass Market Paperback, 146 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**
Tags:feminist sf, Science Fiction, women's press sf

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Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1915)

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English (33)  Finnish (2)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Three male sexists discover an isolated country where only women live and have their assumptions about women challenged.

Herland is a utopia, and like all utopias, it is much more about ideas than plot. The three guys do make a pathetic attempt to escape at one point, but when that is foiled, they settle down to learn about the religion, philosophy and other ideas espoused in Herland, and also to eventually get married. There are a lot of interesting ideas here, especially for the time in which it was written, such as on controlling reproduction and the place of religion in society. And sure, there are plenty of times I've daydreamed of living in a world without men. But there are problems with the all-female utopia that Gilman fails to address. For instance, in Herland the women all seem asexual, which seems to ignore a fundamental aspect of our nature in favor of combatting the sexual objectification of women. Also, there seems to be no conflict, which is difficult to imagine of any group of human beings living together, no matter what their gender. Finally, and most importantly, it's not practical. We must imagine ways women can achieve equality while still keeping men around, if only for the very practical reason that we are all one species who are all in this together--or at least, we should be. Still, I'd recommend Herland, a quick read, just for its historical value as an early work of feminism, even if does end avoid some of the more difficult questions and then ends rather abruptly.

Read in 2015 for the SFFCat Challenge. ( )
  sturlington | Apr 25, 2015 |
"Herland" is, in a way, timeless. Considering how long ago it was written the language and situations can be applied to the modern world quite easily. I've read a lot of reviews on here saying that it isn't relevent to today's world and I think anyone who feels that way isn't really understanding of the feminist movement and the rights women are still fighting for. We may no longer feel we belong to men, but there are most definitely still men on this planet who feel we do. The character of Terry - the womanizing, dominant male - can be found in every bar, club and office in the world. I tutor in my college and the treatment I recieved last week from a male I was tutoring was definitely reflective of the gender bias and discrimination that still exists, and the power of the male ego.

The ending:

I took away a star because this book definitely could have been better. The language, though beautiful, was excessive at points. The foreshadowing suggested a much more climactic ending, and that just didn't happen. ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
There is a lot to like about this book. First, it focuses on a society where women have been living together for thousands of years without war, poverty, jealousy, or disease. (And they somehow worked out the whole birth thing.)

What's more to love is how Gillman did it. The narrator is a man. A man who is recounting his beautiful year in Herland.

The only thing I feel this book is missing is what Ellador felt when introduced to our 'civilized' world. That would be a good book, but strays from the points Gillman was trying to make about our society: boo paternalism, question religion, equal rights, war is bad, use your brain, capitalism is bad/socialism is good.

With all of those themes: me gusta. ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
There is a lot to like about this book. First, it focuses on a society where women have been living together for thousands of years without war, poverty, jealousy, or disease. (And they somehow worked out the whole birth thing.)

What's more to love is how Gillman did it. The narrator is a man. A man who is recounting his beautiful year in Herland.

The only thing I feel this book is missing is what Ellador felt when introduced to our 'civilized' world. That would be a good book, but strays from the points Gillman was trying to make about our society: boo paternalism, question religion, equal rights, war is bad, use your brain, capitalism is bad/socialism is good.

With all of those themes: me gusta. ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
I gave up on this book 3/4 of the way through it. It was far too didactic. Maybe it was enlightening for the time it was written, but from a 21st century perspective it just reads as condescending. ( )
  sbloom42 | May 21, 2014 |
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Charlotte Perkins Gilman is not ordinarily thought of as a humorist, but her feminist utopia, Herland, is a very funny book.
This is written from memory, unfortunately.
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We were not in the least "advanced" on the woman question, any of us, then.
They were inconveniently reasonable, those women.
They said: "With our best endeavors this country will support about so many people, with the standard of peace, comfort, health, beauty, and progress we demand. Very well. That is all the people we will make."
You see, they were Mothers, not in our sense of helpless involuntary fecundity, forced to fill and overfill the land, every land, and then see their children suffer, sin, and die, fighting horribly with one another; but in the sense of Conscious Makers of People.
We are used to seeing what we call "a mother" completely wrapped up in her own pink bundle of fascinating babyhood, and taking but the faintest theoretic interest in anybody else's bundle, to say nothing of the common needs of all the bundles. But these women were working all together at the grandest of tasks -- they were Making People -- and they made them well.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394736656, Paperback)

On the eve of World War I, an all-female society is discovered somewhere in the distant reaches of the earth by three male explorers who are now forced to re-examine their assumptions about women's roles in society.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:56 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

One the eve of WWI, three American male explorers stumble onto an all-female society somewhere in the distant reaches of the earth. Unable to believe their eyes, they promptly set out to find some men, convinced that since this is a civilized country--there must be men. So begins this sparkling utopian novel, a romp through a whole world "masculine" and "feminine", as on target today as when it was written 65 years ago.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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