Kate Chopin Reconsidered: Beyond the Bayou

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In the past two decades scholars have come to realize that Kate Chopin is a major figure in southern and women's literature. This realization has in turn fueled an exploration of the motives and strategies that inform her work. Here, fourteen revealing essays consider Chopin's life and art from a variety of critical perspectives--biographical, New Historicist, materialist, poststructuralist, feminist. Lynda S. Boren's introduction sets the tone, describing the Louisiana region from which Chopin's portraits ...
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1999 Trade paperback Reprint. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 264 p. Southern Literary Studies. Audience: General/trade. NEW/UNUSED from the Publisher. Minor defects, not ... affecting the text. U.S. Domestic Tracking/Confirmation Included. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In the past two decades scholars have come to realize that Kate Chopin is a major figure in southern and women's literature. This realization has in turn fueled an exploration of the motives and strategies that inform her work. Here, fourteen revealing essays consider Chopin's life and art from a variety of critical perspectives--biographical, New Historicist, materialist, poststructuralist, feminist. Lynda S. Boren's introduction sets the tone, describing the Louisiana region from which Chopin's portraits emerged and identifying the peculiar difficulties faced by southern women in their quest for independence. The first section of the book focuses on biographical issues. Emily Toth analyzes Chopin's relationship with her mother and grandmothers and their influences on her fiction; Jean Bardot connects Chopin to the Creole heritage of her husband. Heather Kirk Thomas, discussing Chopin's creative motivation, questions earlier biographical and critical interpretations. Many of the pieces focus on Chopin's classic novel, The Awakening. Essays by Deborah E. Barker, Dorothy H. Jacobs, and Martha Fodaski Black examine aspects of confinement and liberation in Chopin's portrayal of the novel's protagonist, Edna Pontellier. Drawing on Chopin's connections to Greek tragedy, Baudelaire, Ibsen, and Shaw, these essays offer intriguing glimpses of Chopin's literary and political sophistication. Essays by John Carlos Rowe and Doris Davis focus on Chopin's awareness of the role of women, particularly those in the leisured class, in the economic structure of American society. Barbara C. Ewell, Katherine Joslin, and Lynda S. Boren, in individual essays, discuss the influence of the romantic tradition on Chopin's work. The book's final essays consider some of Chopin's lesser-known fiction. Sara deSaussure Davis deciphers the mythical structure of the story collection A Vocation and a Voice, Anne M. Blythe offers a new interpretation of the long story "Charlie," and Nancy S. Elli
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This collection of 14 essays purports to analyze Chopin's life and work from biographical, new historicist, materialist, poststructuralist, and feminist perspectives. However, several authors use the ``it means what I say because I say so'' approach to criticism. While there is one good essay, the rest range from poor to mediocre in scholarship and writing. Many are poorly conceived, poorly reasoned, and poorly supported, failing to present solid evidence from Chopin's text. Some are pointless, some contain distortions and misreadings, and one is unintelligible. This collection adds little to our understanding of this important American writer and is not recommended.-- Judy Mimken, Saginaw Valley State Univ., Mich.
Booknews
Dictionary of characters, places, titles, terms, and people from the life and works of Kate Chopin. Includes her translations of eight stories by deMaupassant and one by Adrien Vely, and concludes with a bibliographical essay by Bonner (English, Xavier U. Louisiana). Fourteen essays consider Chopin's (1851-1904) life and work from a variety of perspectives--biographical, New Historicist, materialist, poststructuralist, feminist. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807124352
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1999
  • Series: Southern Literary Studies
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynda S. Boren teaches gifted high-school students in Leesville, Louisiana, and is the author of Eurydice Reclaimed: Language, Gender, and Voice in Henry James.

Sara deSaussure Davis, associate professor of American literature and chair of the department of English at the University of Alabama, is coeditor of The Mythologizing of Mark Twain.

LSU Press

Lynda S. Boren teaches gifted high-school students in Leesville, Louisiana, and is the author of Eurydice Reclaimed: Language, Gender, and Voice in Henry James.

Sara deSaussure Davis, associate professor of American literature and chair of the department of English at the University of Alabama, is coeditor of The Mythologizing of Mark Twain.

LSU Press

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Table of Contents

Contents
Foreword
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction 1
I Biographical Approaches
Kate Chopin Thinks Back Through Her Mothers: Three Stories by Kate Chopin 15
French Creole Portraits: The Chopin Family from Natchitoches Parish 26
"What Are the Prospects for the Book?": Rewriting a Woman's Life 36
II Daring and Defying
The Awakening of Female Artistry 61
The Awakening: A Recognition of Confinement 80
The Quintessence of Chopinism 95
III Earning the Right
The Economics of the Body in Kate Chopin's The Awakening 117
The Awakening: The Economics of Tension 143
IV Reawakenings and Romantic Self-Deceptions
Kate Chopin and the Dream of Female Selfhood 157
Finding the Self at Home: Chopin's The Awakening and Cather's The Professor's House 166
Taming the Sirens: Self-Possession and the Strategies of Art in Kate Chopin's The Awakening 180
V The Lesser-Known Fiction
Chopin's Movement Toward Universal Myth 199
Kate Chopin's "Charlie" 207
Insistent Refrains and Self-Discovery: Accompanied Awakenings in Three Stories by Kate Chopin 216
Bibliography 231
Contributors 239
Index 243
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