New Commons Project highlights importance of “The Yellow Wallpaper”

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FARMINGTON – This month’s New Commons Project focus will be on Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” published in 1892.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” was first published in the New England Magazine in 1892. The conversations it incited (particularly among physicians) led Charlotte Perkins Gilman to publish “Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper” a decade later, noting that the story is semi-autobiographical. In the 1970s Gilman’s story found a resurgence of interest through the merging field of women’s studies. In 2020, the experience of living cautiously in the pandemic invited a renewed interest in the story, with a number of popular articles emphasizing the emotional and cognitive consequences of isolation, as well as the continued gender inequities in the domestic sphere.

April’s main events will include a giveaway of the reissued 1973 Feminist Press edition of “The Yellow Wallpaper” beginning April 7.

At 11:45 a.m. on April 7, Dr. Misty Krueger will discuss the importance of the book and why it is still read today. The Zoom link to that discussion is available here.

From April 7 to 22 “Living Paper: Touch and Textual Afterlife” will be on exhibit at the Farmington Public Library. The show will consist of six pieces of Crystal Cawley’s original paper sculptures which draw together text and textiles. The exhibit includes Cawley’s limited edition artist’s bok of “The Yellow Wallpaper” as well as pieces from two of Cawley’s artwork series. Cawley will be available for discussion and an art demo on April 22 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at UMF’s The Landing and will be followed the next day by a paper sewing workshop from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. also at The Landing. Pr-registration is required for both events.

A live Q&A with Dr. Elizabeth Donaldson will be available via Zoom on April 20 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. A prerecording keynote address by Dr. Donaldson 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.

To read “The Yellow Wallpaper” or to listen for free, click here.

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