This story hits so many of my favourite themes. Feminism! Hysteria! Hideous home decor! It’s impossible to extricate the story from the context and climate it was written in, the forced rest-cures of the Victorian era that the writer herself was victim of. I first read and studied the story at university, and as I get older (and during the long, dark months of living alone during a global pandemic) I relate more to the protagonist — driven to madness when left to her own devices in forced solitude. A deliciously gothic exploration of motherhood, mental health and oppressive patriarchal structures.
Published in The New England Magazine, January 1892. Widely collected and published, including as a £1 Penguin Little Black Classic. Available to read online here