Herland, Paperback
3 out of 5 (5 ratings)

Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780486404295

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Reviews

Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by
1.5

This was written in 1915 and is an account of three male explorers discovering a land entirely composed of women. With no plot to speak of, and some dreadful writing, it's pretty much just an exposition of how lovely an all female world would be. I'd give it a miss if I were you!

Review by
3.5

When I read the book I tried to keep in mind that this book was written by a radical feminist , at a time where women still were considered something like "second class". She saw that if society was to allow women the right of full "humanity", that the changes had to start at the root of society. These wishes (demands) have been, IMO, well reflected in Herland.The story starts with three man trying to discover a society run entirely by woman. The first one is Terry, a rich womanizer, macho who truly believes women have to be subservient to man, and definately would never accept a woman as his equal. Still, a very strong general opinion of men during that time period. The second man is Jeff, the dreamer, very poetic, who idolizes women to the point, that he thinks women should not perform any physical or mental labor, and require to be sheltered at all times. The last guy in the lot is Vandyck a sociologist only interested in human activities.Arriving in Herland they find nothing the way they expect it, they thought they will find a society of women who need to be civilized - in their opinion women can't be civilized without men showing them how to do it. But what do they find? A highly civilized world, run by well educated women, who managed to achieve a thriving all-female society through parthenogenic birth. A perfect world, where everyone is happy, everyone is educated at the same standard, no disease, a community with equal opportunies. Terry finds it impossible to adjust to this world and tries at every turn to dominate the women, he feels they are not women, they are to masculine, they have no right to be as they are, views them as objects without any substance to them, and that the Herland women are abnormal. Jeff settles in well and adores the women and sort of views them like prized goddesses. Vandyck is the only one of the three who enjoys this world and tries to learn as much as he can.All in all, this was a very interesting read which explores the differences between a patriarchal and matriarchal society, trying to show the need for a balanced gender performance, demonstrating the importance of accepting women as equals. Considering that this is a very short book Perkins managed to get quite a few points across, aside from it being about feminism, it also discusses religion, the importance of democracy and socialism.What I didn't like in the book was that some parts were very racist, for example the Herlander women developed a breeding programme to further the purity of their race. So, what does that say - was that her opinion? Or just something, she wanted to address racism with?

Review by
3

The essential problem with Herland is that Perkins is describing a world where everything is pretty awesome, really. When the disruption to the plot happens (the man arriving in Herland), it doesn't actually cause a disruption. The women of herland are all, it's ok, we've got this. Then they keep the men until they behave civily and marry them of to get with the breeding (though given that women of Herland have no concept of marriage or presumably monogamy as they have no idea of sexual relationships why they didn't just ask for sperm so everyone could have babies I'll never know). It is a world building novel but it lacked any kind of plot of drive that might make it interesting as more than an intellectual exercise.

Review by
4

There is a lot to like about this book. First, it focuses on a society where women have been living together for thousands of years without war, poverty, jealousy, or disease. (And they somehow worked out the whole birth thing.)<br/><br/>What's more to love is <i> how </i> Gillman did it. The narrator is a man. A man who is recounting his beautiful year in Herland.<br/><br/>The only thing I feel this book is missing is what Ellador felt when introduced to our 'civilized' world. That would be a good book, but strays from the points Gillman was trying to make about our society: boo paternalism, question religion, equal rights, war is bad, use your brain, capitalism is bad/socialism is good. <br/><br/>With all of those themes: me gusta.

Review by
4

There is a lot to like about this book. First, it focuses on a society where women have been living together for thousands of years without war, poverty, jealousy, or disease. (And they somehow worked out the whole birth thing.)<br/><br/>What's more to love is <i> how </i> Gillman did it. The narrator is a man. A man who is recounting his beautiful year in Herland.<br/><br/>The only thing I feel this book is missing is what Ellador felt when introduced to our 'civilized' world. That would be a good book, but strays from the points Gillman was trying to make about our society: boo paternalism, question religion, equal rights, war is bad, use your brain, capitalism is bad/socialism is good. <br/><br/>With all of those themes: me gusta.