The Yellow Wallpaper
This short story is one of the most popular pre-1923 texts in the English language, ranking third only to The Bible and Shakespeare for free downloads on Project Gutenberg. The strange, haunting vignette delineates a woman's post-partum mental breakdown. First published in January 1892 in The New England Magazine, it is a landmark work of American feminist literature, illustrating attitudes in the 19th century toward women's physical and mental health. It anticipates the works of Sylvia Plath and other feminst writers seven decades later.
This remarkable work from 1915 is a Utopian novel about an isolated society composed entirely of women, who reproduce via parthenogenesis (asexual reproduction). The result is an ideal social order: free of war, conflict, and domination.
The Man Made World
Originally published as Our Androcentric Culture, or The Man Made World in 1911, this is one of the first feminist works to explore the now familiar credo that women are peace-loving nurturers while men dominate through violence. This is Gilman's exposition of Lester Ward's theory "that woman is the race type, and the male, originally but a sex type, reaching a later equality with the female, and, in the human race, becoming her master for a considerable historic period." An important and prescient work, published fifty-eight years before Kate Millet's Sexual Politics.