This site is composed of a digital edition of Charlotte Perkins Stetson’s “The Yellow Wall-Paper.” You can see side-by-side views of the manuscript (i.e. Stetson’s original, hand-written version of the story from 1890) and the periodical (i.e. the first print publication of “The Yellow Wall-Paper” in New England Magazine from 1892). Please see the Introduction for more information about why this comparison is important.
Throughout this edition, we discuss Charlotte Perkins Stetson, but you may commonly know her as Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Charlotte Perkins Stetson is her first married name, and so, the name she used when she wrote “The Yellow Wall-Paper.” She would divorce her husband, Charles W. Stetson in 1894 after being separated since 1888 (four years before “The Yellow Wall-Paper” was published). When she remarried Houghton Gilman in 1900, she changed her name to Gilman, which is how she is most commonly remembered today. For the purpose of clarity (both the manuscript and periodical use the name “Stetson”), we have maintained the name Charlotte Perkins Stetson throughout this edition.
Our transcriptions of “The Yellow Wall-Paper” are based on the manuscript and periodical facsimiles (or scans) from the Schlesinger Library Charlotte Perkins Gilman Digital Collection housed at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Our transcription of “Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper” is based on the digitized version of Stetson’s (then Gilman’s) periodical, The Forerunner, from HathiTrust.
“The Yellow Wall-Paper” and “Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper” parts of the edition (discussed below) are both encoded using TEI (Text Encoding Initiative), a set of standardized XML (extensible markup language) tags for encoding editions. You can freely download the TEI/XML, but please give Dr. Deanna Stover and Rebecca Norton (the Editors of this edition) credit if you use or alter our code.
The Sections of the Site
The site is split up into four sections: About the Edition, Introduction, “The Yellow Wall-Paper,” and “Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper.”
About the Edition: This is where you’ll find instructions on how to use our dual-text edition that compares the manuscript with the periodical.
Introduction: In this section, you’ll read more about the context of Stetson’s short story and read an argument for this digital edition.
“The Yellow Wall-Paper”: This is where you’ll see the actual text of “The Yellow Wall-Paper.” You will need to view this part of the site on a desktop, laptop, or tablet–it will not work on mobile devices. This is because this portion of the site is set up in a manner that allows you to simultaneously see the manuscript and periodical and all the variants (or changes) between them. All of these changes are highlighted in yellow, and there are other interactive features discussed below.
“Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper”: In this tab, users can see Stetson’s (then known as Gilman) short article, “Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper,” which was published in Stetson’s own magazine, The Forerunner, in 1913.
“The Yellow Wall-Paper” Edition - How to Read a Dual-Text Edition
The first thing you’ll probably notice when entering “The Yellow Wall-Paper” part of this site is all of the yellow highlights in the document. Everything highlighted in yellow marks a change, or variant, between the manuscript and periodical versions of “The Yellow Wall-Paper.”
To reiterate, the manuscript is Stetson’s version of the story that she sent to publishers after completing the short story in 1890. This manuscript is mostly a fair copy, meaning there are few authorial corrections–however, there are some as we will discuss below.
The periodical is the first publication of “The Yellow Wall-Paper” in print. We transcribed the short story from New England Magazine, which was published in January 1892. A magazine is a type of periodical, and we will use the term “periodical” to discuss the New England Magazine version of “The Yellow Wall-Paper” throughout this edition.
For both the manuscript and periodical, we attempted to keep everything exactly as it appeared in the original–including spelling errors (see “furnitnre” instead of “furniture” on page 654 of the periodical, for instance).
We decided on this transcription style because that is part of the point of this edition–comparing the original documents written and published in the late nineteenth century. We have, however, added red underlines to words that are misspelled or used incorrectly. If you hover over anything with a red underline, a correction will appear. You can turn off our emendations by unchecking the “Our Corrections” box at the bottom of the page. There are also other views you can toggle, as we discuss more below.
We have decided to mark all variants–whether substantive (such as a change in word) or “non-substantive” (such as paragraphing, spacing, punctuation, etc.)--in yellow because, as we discuss more in the Introduction, our edition argues that these “small” changes can alter the reading of this story. We did not want to create a hierarchy of these variants (nor did we want to overwhelm the reader with a cacophony of colors), so all changes are marked in yellow.
There are also several variants indicated by a small yellow dot. These are places where there is a change in content that has no match in the other document. For instance, a yellow dot in the manuscript may indicate that there is a comma in the periodical, but other spacing remains the same. In another example, there may be added words right before a punctuation mark as in the last line of the story where the manuscript ends with “him!” but the periodical adds in the words “every time” right before the exclamation point. Because there is not even a space to highlight in these instances, we have added these yellow symbols to indicate a change.
Guidance for Using the Edition
Page Numbers and Page Images:
The black boxes represent page numbers and, as you’ll see, sometimes they appear in the middle of sentences and paragraphs and sometimes don’t. Clicking on these black boxes will bring up the corresponding page image. Note that the black circles in the periodical mark column beginnings (always with the numbers 1 and 2) and will also open up the appropriate page.
When you click on a black box in the manuscript, for instance, a page image of the manuscript will cover up the periodical portion of the site. This is so that you can compare the facsimile of the manuscript with our transcription. When you click on the black box (or circle) in the periodical, it will cover up the manuscript. You can, however, expand the page to cover the entire screen by clicking the double-sided arrow in the upper right corner.
To exit the page view, simply click on the “X” in the upper right corner of the image.
At the bottom of the edition, you can see a Filter Bar, which allows you to switch between different views of the text. We have added descriptions of each of these filters when you hover over them, but we will expand on each of those filters here:
Edition Differences: This filter allows you to get rid of all the yellow highlighting of variants in both documents for an easier reading experience.
Page/Column Markers: This filter will make the page and column markers (those little black boxes and circles discussed above) disappear. Again, this may provide an easier reading experience, although it will take away the option to view the page images themselves.
Stylized Content: Words that are meant to be italicized are typically underlined in manuscripts because it is nearly impossible to write in italics. Because of this, we have added a filter to get rid of the yellow highlighting around words that are underlined in the manuscript and italicized in the periodical, seeing as these might be considered unnecessary variants to display. Unchecking this box will also take away the highlights surrounding the section breaks (those asterisks or plus-signs) as these, too, are simply stylistic in nature. However, if one word is stylized (underlined or italicized) in one version of the text and there is no style on the other, the word will remain highlighted even if this box is unchecked.
Our Corrections: This filter will turn off the spelling corrections that the editors of this edition (Dr. Deanna Stover and Rebecca Norton) have made. These spelling corrections are indicated by a red line when this box remains checked. Hovering over a word underlined in red will display the correction.
Authorial Deletions: This filter will take out any of the words that Stetson crossed out in the manuscript for an easier reading experience.
Scroll Lock: This filter will allow you to scroll through the manuscript and periodical independently of one another. The standard view makes it so that the manuscript and periodical align as closely as possible to each other, making comparison easier. However, if you turn off the scroll lock and click on something that is highlighted, the other document will match up again and both highlighted portions of the respective documents will be marked with a dark blue outline.
The Manuscript - Some Particulars
The manuscript has a few features that the periodical does not have by virtue of it being a handwritten document.
For instance, there are some instances of light blue text in our transcription. Although all of Stetson’s manuscript is written with black ink (except for the note at the top which rejects the manuscript, written by someone else, which appears in red), the blue text in our edition indicates words that have been added when Stetson edited the manuscript. Sometimes the blue text appears in-line (such as the “^he” on page 2 of the manuscript), and other times it appears above the line (as in “special” on page 7). This is because sometimes Stetson squeezed in additions either in the margins of the page or in between words themselves, whereas other times she added corrections above the original text. We have tried to reproduce these edits to the best of our abilities.
There are also times when Stetson wrote over another word. In these instances, you can hover over the blue word and see what she has written over. The blue text is her correction, while the green box will show what was there originally (for example, see “^bargain” which replaced “equation” on page 13). In some instances, the green box is blank; this is when we were unable to decipher what word is underneath.
At this stage, there is currently no way to internally search the site. However, we advise you to use Command + F (on Macs) or Control + F (on Windows) to find specific words within the manuscript and periodical.
This edition did not happen in a void. Dr. Deanna Stover (Assistant Professor of English at Christopher Newport University) and Rebecca Norton (BA, ‘22) worked together as part of the 2021 Summer Scholar program at Christopher Newport University (CNU) to start putting together the edition. Dr. Stover is immensely grateful to Rebecca Norton, who completed a round of coding on the periodical and manuscript (before Dr. Stover combined the two) and who helped draft parts of the Introduction and did some of the research towards the rest. Norton also encoded the entirety of “Why I Wrote the Yellow Wall-Paper” and helped to design a mock-up of the site. We are also very thankful for CNU’s Summer Scholar program, which gave us the opportunity to work together and build what we hope you will find to be an important addition to studies of “The Yellow Wall-Paper.”
But even before the Summer Scholar program, students in Dr. Stover’s Introduction to Digital Humanities and Writing for the Digital Humanities courses helped her think through the transcriptions and coding. We would like to extend thanks to the following students (listed in no particular order) who wanted named credit for their participation in the beginning stages of this edition: Alexander Pekala, Amanda Ballou, Anna T., Dallas Austin, Vassie Dinstel, Ethan Bales, Jeremiah L. Bethea, Megan Ednie, Skylor Ritchie, Diane Frola, Erin Slupe, Ethan Stowe, Ilmina Ilyar, Logan Maged, Tanner, Yuhka Kaneda, Thomas Brackett, Kayla Childers, Emma Farrar, Christopher Ritter, Marissa Sawh, Hannah Yetter, Abby Saether, Camille Kaiser, Carly Palmer, Hannah Fulk, K. Scott, Madison Ferris, Nicholas Branch, Rebecca Kiser, Aidan Wheeler, Alyssa Meyer, Ashley Baradari, Caroline Daniels, Clark Edwards, Colin Lowrance, Elissa Mena, Erica Whitehouse, Jackson Clyburn, Kayla Brundick, Maggie Styers, Michaela Smith, Samantha Buchholz, Sarah Kay Biser, Severin X Newsom, Teagan Mauk, Anissa Wise, Alex Nyikos, Matthew Whitlock, Chantelle Rhoden, Sydney Keesee, Brad Karner, Maria Hedspeth, Candis Wimberly, Dylan Wintermute, Alexandra Van Orden, Emma Dixon, Dylan Rosnick, Sarah Prince, and Chloe Baker.
Dr. Stover would also like to thank students in her Writing for the Digital Humanities courses in Spring 2022 for their help in testing the website and for giving her suggestions for what to explain to new users to the site.
And last but not least, we would like to share our immense gratitude with Jason Fairfield who built this website from scratch. This edition would not have been possible without him.
If you have any questions (or corrections!) please contact Dr. Deanna Stover at firstname.lastname@example.org.