This edition of The Yellow Wallpaper includes a generous selection of cultural and historical documents that illuminate how Gilmans classic feminist tale can be read as a springboard for her subsequent career as a cultural critic. The documents accompanying this edition have been selected to help readers situate The Yellow Wallpaper in relation to Gilmans time period and wide range of interests. Included are excerpts from nineteenth-century advice manuals for young women and mothers; medical texts discussing the nature of womens sexuality; social reform literature concerning womens rights, the working classes, and immigration; and excerpts from periodicals, diaries, and writers notebooks that give readers a sense of the changing literary scene that Gilman entered.
Both Gilmans story and her subsequent career as a social critic are illuminated when readers see her as a writer about and a citizen of her time. A woman gradually suffers a mental breakdown as a result of confinement and denial of her creative energies by her husband.