Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton and Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Studies in Short Fiction — An Introduction

  • Janet Beer


The three authors who are the subjects of this book, Kate Chopin (1850–1904), Edith Wharton (1862–1937) and Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935), were prolific and innovative short-story writers. All three wrote short stories throughout their professional lives and were also practitioners in other genres; all wrote poetry, for private and public consumption, both Gilman and Wharton wrote novels, criticism, autobiography, essays and cultural critiques, Wharton wrote travel books and Gilman had a long and distinguished career as a sociologist, lecturing and writing outside the academic establishment to a wide range of different audiences. Chopin, the most dedicated short story writer of the three, wrote a few minor articles and was the author of three novels: one, Young Dr Gosse, was destroyed after she failed to find a publisher for it, another, At Fault, was published at her own expense in 18901 and her third and best known, The Awakening, was published in 1899, toward the end of her life.


Baton Rouge Study Mores Short Story Complete Work Moral Purpose 
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  1. 1.
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  2. 2.
    Showalter, Elaine ‘Smoking Room’, Times Literary Supplement, 16 June 1995, p. 12.Google Scholar
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    Actually the title of a book by Gilman, The Man-Made World; or, Our Androcentric Culture (New York: Charlton Co., 1911).Google Scholar
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    The publication date of the story is the subject of some confusion among scholars. In her book, The Captive Imagination: A Casebook on ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ (New York The Feminist Press, 1992), Catherine Golden explains the reasons for the misdating of the story’s first publication and arrives at January 1892 as the true date of its appearance in the New England Magazine. See also Julie Bates Dock et al. in ‘But One Expects That”: Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and the Shifting Light of Scholarship’, PMLA, Vol. 111, 1, January 1996, pp. 52–65, for a scathing appraisal of the inaccuracies — textual and otherwise — that have dogged the critical treatment of Gilman’s tale.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Janet Beer 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet Beer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishRoehampton InstituteLondonUK

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