The Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Yellow Wall-Paper,” a National Library of Medicine traveling exhibit, reviews the role of late nineteenth-century medical and scientific experts in using the idea of female weakness to discourage women from participating in professional, creative, and intellectual life. The exhibit explores the story behind Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s indictment of the medical profession and the social conventions restricting women’s professional and creative opportunities.
To preserve her health, Gilman was advised by a physician to “live as domestic a life as far as possible… And never touch pen, brush, or pencil again” as long as she lived. After three months of following the advice of her physician, she returned to writing. In two days she wrote “The Yellow Wall-Paper,” a story about a young woman driven mad by the “rest cure” advocated by the medical profession. Readers found the story to be intriguing and disturbing; today, it is considered a classic of feminist literature. Gilman became an influential writer and speaker about women’s rights and economic independence. A digital version of “The Yellow Wall-Paper” from the January 1892 issue of The New England Magazine is available, courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.
The exhibit will be on display Monday, March 7, through Saturday, April 16 in the GA-PCOM Atrium. For more information about the exhibit, please contact Skye Bickett at 678-225-7541 or firstname.lastname@example.org.