Herland
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

 

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.

In 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.

The 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.

"Beauty, 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.

The 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."

An absolute Must-Read for all Utopian Dreamers.


Herland
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Free Kindle edition on Amazon.com

Other Utopian Fiction Titles

Utopia (Thomas More) 1516
Looking Backward (Edward Bellamy) 1888
A Modern Utopia (H.G. Wells) 1905
Herland (Charlotte Perkins Gilman) 1915
Island (Aldous Huxley) 1962
Macrolife: A Mobile Utopia (George Zebrowski) 1979
The Songs of Distant Earth (Arthur C. Clarke) 1986
The Secret of Shambhala (James Redfield) 2001
I Have Seen The Promised Land (David Adams) 2009
One Day In Peace (Robert Alan Silverstein) 2013
Mom Saves The Universe (B. P. Meinhardt) 2014
Pangaea: A Utopian Fantasy (A.J. Questerly) 2015
A Tale of Two Islands (Bruce Castle) 2016

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