“The Yellow Wallpaper,” a short story illustrating the attitudes towards the mental and physical health of women in the 19th century, is the next featured topic by the University of Maine at Farmington’s New Commons Project. SYSTEM

“The Yellow Wallpaper,” a short story illustrating the attitudes towards the mental and physical health of women in the 19th century, is the next featured topic by the University of Maine at Farmington’s New Commons Project.

Published in 1892, the story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is an early work of American feminist literature that depicts the gradual mental breakdown of a woman protesting the professional and societal oppression of women. At that time, many medical professionals saw women as weak and fragile and needing to be controlled. Gilman’s own devastating experience with depression and her physician’s flawed remedy inspired her to write the story. She used her writing to explore the role of women and paved the way for writers such as Alice Walker and Sylvia Plath.

The UMF New Commons events featuring “The Yellow Wallpaper” are free and will run between April 7 to 23, 2021. The following resources will help prepare for the events:


“The Yellow Wallpaper” Book Giveaway
Pick up a free copy of The Yellow Wallpaper (while available.) Your new copy will be a reissuing of the 1973 Feminist Press edition, with an afterword by Elaine R. Hedges that solidified the text’s importance in gender studies scholarship.
Wednesday, April 7, thru Friday, April 23, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Farmington Public Library

Art Exhibit: Crystal Cawley, “Living Paper: Touch and Textual Afterlife”
In this exhibit, six pieces of Crystal Cawley’s original paper sculptures draw together texts and textiles, honoring traditions of handiwork while giving renewed poetic life to discarded objects. It includes Cawley’s limited edition artist’s book of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” as well as pieces from two of Cawley’s artwork series. They invite a sustained reflection on the delicate transformation of textures and the affective layers of paper materials.
Wednesday, April 7, thru Friday, April 23, at the Farmington Public Library during normal hours (Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. – 5.p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

“Why Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman Wrote ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ and Why We Still Read It”
Online faculty talk by Dr. Misty Krueger, UMF associate professor of English, will historically situate Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The lecture will include playing and analysis of Dr. Krueger’s new recording of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” available now at newcommonsproject.org. No registration is required for this online live event. Link: http://maine.zoom.us/j/82502683737
Wednesday, April 7, 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Online Video Keynote: Elizabeth Donaldson, “Framing Silas Weir Mitchell”
Dr. Elizabeth Donaldson, prominent disability studies scholar and Professor of English at the New York Institute of Technology, will discuss Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell, the historical figure behind the rest cure; reading Gilman in the pandemic; and present-day connections to the #FreeBritney movement. Link: http://vimeo.com/newcommonsproject
Available Tuesday, April 13, 9 a.m. to Tuesday, April 20, 7 p.m., 2021.

Online Live Discussion of “The Yellow Wallpaper” with Elizabeth Donaldson
Join Dr. Elizabeth Donaldson for a live online discussion of mental illness in “The Yellow Wallpaper” hosted on Zoom by the New Commons Project. Link: http://maine.zoom.us/j/82502683737
Tuesday, April 20, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

The UMF New Commons program provides a rich offering of free events including expert talks, discussions, films and more, many online, for the education and enjoyment of people in Maine and beyond. Nominated by individuals throughout Maine, the selection of New Commons works have the common thread of representing many of the principles and cultural values that inspire and fascinate Maine residents. The New Commons Project is a public humanities initiative of the University of Maine at Farmington, Maine’s public liberal arts college, in partnership with the Maine Humanities Council. To learn more about the New Commons Project, and to view many of the events for the first 12 topics, visit the website at: https://newcommonsproject.org.

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