Led On Line
Presentazione - About us
Novita' - What's new
Lededizioni Home Page Ricerca - Search
Catalogo - Catalogue
Per contattarci - Contacts
Per gli Autori - For the Authors
Statistiche - Statistics
Cookie Policy
Privacy Policy

Quando manca il detective. La presa in carico dell’investigazione in due racconti americani di fine Ottocento

Alessandra Calanchi


A Whisper in the Dark” by Louisa May Alcott (1877) and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892) offer an interesting, and not sufficiently investigated, perspective from the point of view of crime studies. Too intelligent and complex to be labelled as simple genre literature, and courted by gender studies, the two stories more aptly belong to Literature tout court, although many features normally lead to place them on the shelves of sensational, thriller, or mystery. The reading I propose stems from the desire to give voice to the two protagonists not only as victims of physical and psychological violence, but as active subjects and real Private Eyes within the narrative.


Alcott; Gilman; crime fiction; detection; Angloamerican literature; gender studies.

Full Text:



[Alcott, Louisa May]. 1877. “A Whisper in the Dark”. Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Magazine. (In Alcott 1889).

Alcott, Louisa May. 1889. A Modern Mephistopheles and A Whisper in the Dark. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Alcott, Louisa May. 1996. A Whisper in the Dark: Twelve Thrilling Tales. Ed. by Stefan Dziemianowicz. New York: Barnes & Noble Books. Kindle edition.

Allen, Judith A. 2009. The Feminism of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Sexualities, Histories, Progressivism. Chicago, ILL: University of Chicago Press.

Betjemann, Peter. 2014. “Eavesdropping with Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Fiction, Transcription, and the Ethics of Interior Design”. American Literary Realism 46 (2): 95-115. https://doi.org/10.5406/amerlitereal.46.2.0095.

Carpenter, Lynette. 1986. “‘Did They Never See Anyone Angry Before?’ The Sexual Politics of Self-Control in Louisa May Alcott’s ‘A Whisper in the Dark’”. Legacy 3 (2): 31-41 (Jstor 27/07/2019).

Cogan, Frances B. 1989. All-American Girl: The Ideal of Real Womanhood in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.

Cruea, Susan M. 2005. “Changing Ideals of Womanhood During the Nineteenth-Century Woman Movement”. ATQ. 19th- Century American Literature and Culture 19 (3): 187-204 (Jstor 27/07/2019).

Doyle, Arthur Conan. 1887. A Study in Scarlet. In The Beeton’s Christmas Annual, poi London: Ward, Lock & Co. https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:sY3vYS9evaoJ:https://www.gutenberg.org/files/244/244-h/244-h.htm+&cd=3&hl=it&ct=clnk&gl=it&client=firefox-b-d (30/07/2020).

Doyle, Nora. 2018. Maternal Bodies. Redefining Motherhood in Early America. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

Edelstein, Sari. 2007. “Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Yellow Newspaper”. Legacy 24 (1): 72-92. https://doi.org/10.1353/leg.2007.0004.

Egan, Kristen R. 2012. “Conservation and Cleanliness: Racial and Environmental Purity in Ellen Richards and Charlotte Perkins Gilman”. Women’s Studies Quarterly 39 (3-4): 77-92. https://doi.org/10.1353/wsq.2011.0066.

Egan, Maureen L. 1989. “Evolutionary Theory in the Social Philosophy of Charlotte Perkins Gilman”. Hypatia 4 (1): 102-19. Special issue The History of Women in Philosophy. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1527-2001.1989.tb00870.x.

Gilbert, Sandra, and Susan Gubar. 1979. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. 1892. “The Yellow Wallpaper”. The New England Magazine.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. 1997. Unpunished. Ed. by Catherine J. Golden and Denise D. Knight. New York: Feminist Press.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. 2019. La carta da parati gialla. Edizione con testo a fronte a cura di Alessandra Calanchi. Traduzione di Luca Sartori. Giulianova: Galaad.

Hausman, Bernice L. 1998. “Sex before Gender: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Evolutionary Paradigm of Utopia”. Feminist Studies 24 (3): 488-510. https://doi.org/10.2307/3178576.

Hill, Mary A. 1980. “Charlotte Perkins Gilman: A Feminist’s Struggle with Womanhood”. The Massachusetts Review 21 (3): 503-26 (Jstor 04/07/2019).

Kemp, Kathryn W. 2007. “‘The Dictograph Hears All’: An Example of Surveillance Technology in the Progressive Era”. Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 6: 416-17. https://doi.org/10.1017/S153778140000222X.

Keyser, Elizabeth Lennox. 1993. Whispers in the Dark: The Fiction of Louisa May Alcott. Knoxville: University of Tennessee.

Lloyd, Brian. 1998. “Feminism, Utopian and Scientific: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Prison of the Familiar”. American Studies 39 (1): 93-113 (Jstor 04/07/2019).

Lockwood, J. Samaine. 2012. “Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Colonial Revival”. Legacy 29 (1): 86-114. https://doi.org/10.5250/legacy.29.1.0086.

Poe, Edgar Allan. 1840. “Man of the Crowd”. Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, December. In The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. V, 2008. https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:RIECVfPq7DoJ:https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2151/2151-h/2151-h.htm+&cd=1&hl=it&ct=clnk&gl=it&client=firefox-b-d (30/07/2020).

Poe, Edgar Allan. 1843. “The Tell-Tale Heart”. The Pioneer, January. In The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. II, 2008. https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:T68b_YIF-FEJ:https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2148/2148-h/2148-h.htm+&cd=1&hl=it&ct=clnk&gl=it&client=firefox-b-d (30/07/2020).

Robinson, Lillian S. 1991. “Killing Patriarchy: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the Murder Mystery, and Post-Feminist Propaganda”. Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 10 (2): 273-85. https://doi.org/10.2307/464018.

Salas, Gerardo Rodríguez. 2012. “‘Just as a Scientific Hypothesis’: The Literary Language of Madness in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’”. Odisea13: 105-12 (Jstor 4/7/2019).

Seitler, Dana. 2003. “Unnatural Selection: Mothers, Eugenic Feminism, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Regeneration Narratives”. American Quarterly 55 (1): 61-88. https://doi.org/10.1353/aq.2003.0001.

Sheth, Falguni A., and Robert E. Prasch. 1996. “Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Reassessing Her Significance for Feminism and Social Economics”. Review of Social Economy 54 (3): 323-35. https://doi.org/10.1080/00346769600000016.

Spengler, Birgit. 2009. “Visual Negotiations and Medical Discourses”. Amerikastudien / American Studies 54 (1): 35-58. Special issue Appropriating Vision(s): Visual Practices in American Women’s Writing (Jstor 4/7/2019).

Van Wienen, Mark W. 2012. American Socialist Triptych: The Literary-Political Work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Upton Sinclair, and W.E.B. Du Bois. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.


Hitchock, Alfred. 1945. Spellbound.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ling-2020-002-cala

Copyright (©) 2021 Alessandra Calanchi – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Linguæ & - Rivista di lingue e culture moderne
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (06/04/2012 n. 185)
Online ISSN 1724-8698 - Print ISSN 2281-8952

Dipartimento di Scienze della Comunicazione, Studi Umanistici e Internazionali: Storia, Culture, Lingue, Letterature, Arti, Media
Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo

Editor-in-Chief: Roberta Mullini
Editorial Board: Maurizio Ascari - Stefano Beretta - Antonio Bertacca- Tania Collani - Chiara Elefante - Marina Guglielmi - Maryline Heck - Richard Hillman - Reinhard Johler - Stephen Knight - Cesare Mascitelli - Sonia Massai - Aurélie Moioli - Maria de Fátima Silva - Bart Van Den Bossche 

Editorial Staff: Margaret Amatulli - Alessandra Calanchi - Riccardo Donati - Ivo Klaver  - Massimiliano Morini - Antonella Negri - Luca Renzi

Referee List

© 2001 LED Edizioni Universitarie di Lettere Economia Diritto