Kate Chopin (1850–1904) was born in St. Louis. She moved to Louisiana where she wrote two novels and numerous stories. Because The Awakening was widely condemned, publication of Chopin’s third story collection was cancelled. The Awakening was rediscovered by scholars in the 1960s and 1970s and is her best-known work.
Kate Chopin: Complete Novels and Storiesby Kate Chopin, Sandra M. Gilbert (Editor)
In works set on ruined Louisiana plantations and in bustling New Orleans, Kate Chopin wrote with unblinking honesty about the strictures of propriety, the illusions of love and the realities of marriage, and the persistence of a past scarred by slavery and war. Her stories challenged contemporary mores as much by their sensuousness as their politics. Complete Novels and Stories gathers all of Chopin's extraordinary fiction for the first time.
The novel At Fault (1890) is an explosive melodrama centered on a love triangle between a strong-willed young widow, the stiff St. Louis businessman who buys timber rights to her plantation, and the man's alcoholic wife. In the story collections Bayou Folk (1894) and A Night in Acadie (1897), Chopin transforms the local color sketch into dazzling literary art, crafting perfectly calibrated tales of Louisiana culture with sympathetic insight. Suffused with a rich sense of place, Chopin's charming and often provocative stories bring to life the enticing world of the Louisiana bayou.
But The Awakening (1899), which scandalized many of her contemporaries and effectively ended her career, marks the true measure of her achievement. This story of a deeply unsatisfied woman embarking on a quixotic search for fulfillment brings together Chopin's great themes: the feminine longing for liberation from convention, the place of the woman artist in society, and the mysterious links between desire, birth, and death. Rendered with precision, detachment, and a suggestive ambiguity that defies easy judgments, The Awakening restored Chopin to literary prominence after its rediscovery by critics in the 1960s and 1970s.
The volume also contains stories Chopin never collected, including those meant for "A Vocation and a Voice," a book canceled by her publisher in 1900; stories Chopin never tried to publish, such as the erotically daring "The Storm"; and "Ti Frere," "A Horse Story," and "Alexandre's Wonderful Experience," the stories found in a long-lost cache of Chopin's papers.
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