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Other titles in the Modern Library Classics series:
The Awakening and Other Stories (Modern Library Classics)by Kate Chopin
Synopses & Reviews
Introduction by Kaye Gibbons
Edited and with notes by Nina Baym
Commentary by Elizabeth Blackwell, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and from The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book
The Awakening shocked turn-of-the-century readers with its forthright treatment of sex and suicide. Departing from literary convention, Kate Chopin failed to condemn her heroine’s desire for an affair with the son of a Louisiana resort owner whom she meets on vacation. The power of sensuality, the delusion of ecstatic love, and the solitude that accompanies the trappings of middle- and upper-class life are the themes of this now-classic novel. As Kaye Gibbons points out in her Introduction, Chopin “was writing American realism before most Americans could bear to hear that they were living it.” This edition includes selected stories from Chopin’s Bayou Folk and A Night in Acadie.
Includes a Modern Library Reading Group Guide
A novel that scandalized America because of its sexual frankness, and because of the unconventional behavior of its female protagonist, The Awakening (1899) has enjoyed vast popularity in the 20th century. Our new edition also includes stories from Chopin's Bayou Folk (1894) and A Night in Acadie (1897), along with commentary and Kaye Gibbons's new introduction.
About the Author
Kate Chopin (1851-1904) did not begin to write until she was thirty-six years old. Up to that time, her life gave no hint of either literary talent or literary ambition. Yet after the publication of her first stories in 1889, she enjoyed ten years of a productive, serious, and fairly successful career. Her first novel, At Fault (1890), had difficulty finding a publisher, so she brought it out at her own expense and sent review copies to important journals. Her short stories—close to a hundred of them—were published for the most part in prestigious national magazines. They gave her a solid reputation as a gifted 'local color' writer—that is, an author specializing in the depiction of a particular region of the country and its inhabitants. From these many stories, she culled two well-reviewed collections: Bayou Folk in 1894 and A Night in Acadie in 1897. The Awakening, now her best-known work, appeared in 1899.
Critics of Chopin's own day disapproved of the sexual frankness of The Awakening and were especially disturbed by the narrator's neutrality toward the unconventional behavior of Edna Pontellier, the heroine. All reviews of the novel were unfavorable. Soon after this setback, a planned third collection of short stories was rejected by a publisher, and Kate Chopin essentially ceased to write. In poor health, she died some five years after The Awakening appeared. She was only fifty-three.
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