Written in 1915 -- when women had very few rights
-- Herland is a fascinating novel about what a society
might be like which is centered and focused solely on
the role of 'motherhood' and nurturing; where every
action in daily life, and every tenet of education,
customs and institutions consciously considers how it
benefits the children of the nation.
this tale, three young male adventurers discover an
isolated, advanced civilization made up only of women.
Two thousand years ago a natural disaster had cut their
ancestors off from the rest of the world, and warring
conflicts had killed off all of the men of the nation.
Miraculously their civilization was saved when one of
the surviving female inhabitants was found to be able
to reproduce by parthenogenesis - a form of asexual
reproduction present in some animal species. This original
mother was revered and her offspring carried the same
reproductive trait allowing a new nation to develop
its own unique culture over the next sixty generations.
three men discover that unlike their society which was
driven by competition and struggle for survival (and
where World War I had just begun after a long and troubling
history of injustice, inequality, plagues and wars of
aggression), the two million female inhabitants of Herland,
residing in loving, prosperous and healthy villages
and cities, had lived
in peaceful cooperation for two thousand years. With
motherhood as the dominant mission of their culture,
and without any natural predators, they had developed
a loving, peaceful society without wars, kings, priests
or aristocracies, driven not by competition, but by
united action to making life as rewarding as possible
to all members of their communities.
Health, Strength, Intellect and Goodness" were the guiding
principles in their daily lives, education, culture
and their institutions. They had no enemies -- they
were all mothers, daughters, sisters and friends.
story is narrated by one of the men, a sociologist who
falls in love with one of the women of Herland and the
nation's culture itself. In the genuine eager happiness
of the children and young people of Herland, who have
been nurtured in a world where everybody loves them,
he sees that his culture's preconceived idea that "if
life was smooth and happy, people would not enjoy it"
is complete folly. From birth, children in Herland find
"themselves in an immediate environment which was agreeable
and interesting, and before them stretched the years
of learning and discovery, the fascinating, endless
process of education."
absolute Must-Read for all Utopian Dreamers.
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Kindle edition on Amazon.com