What Diantha Did

A forgotten classic of early feminist literature, from the author of The Yellow Wallpaper, examines societal perceptions of "women's work" and the "servant problem."

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's What Diantha Did tells the story of an ambitious young woman who sets out to revolutionize the way housework is done in one California community. In some ways, the story is dated; the people Diantha tries to help are middle-class women and their household servants. She is writing before refrigerators, washing machines, and other conveniences we take for granted. And yet, her solution is so modern that it is hard to understand how radical it was at the time, and some of the problems are, sadly, still not obsolete.

What Diantha Did is an unapologetically didactic novel by one of the foremost feminist writers of the early twentieth century, intended, like the novels of Upton Sinclair and other turn-of-the-century progressives, to instruct while amusing. It was originally serialized in fourteen monthly parts in Gilman's own magazine, The Forerunner, before being published as a volume in 1910

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