Synopses & Reviews
Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all ones life.”
Kate Chopin was enjoying wide popularity as a writer, mainly of short stories, when her second novel, The Awakening, was published to widespread criticism of its immorality. A wake-up call to women all over the country, this landmark novel of early American feminism tells of a Louisiana wife who discovers the strength of her own sexuality and tries to wrench it from the hands of a patriarchal society. And just as Edna Pontellier is ostracized for trying to master her own sexual fate, so did Chopins reputation suffer after she wrote this book. Today The Awakening is considered a masterpiece and, along with Chopins short stories, has set a standard for younger generations of women who have learned to value their independence and authenticity.
Edited and with an Introduction by Barbara H. Solomon and with a New Afterword by Roxane Gay.
“Flexible, iridescent style.”—Willa Cather
“As pertinent as any fiction this year or last. It is uncanny, nothing else.”—The New York Times
Published in 1899, the short novel of feminist fiction is a sympathetic portrayal of a woman's discovery of the stifling bonds of her marriage and the strength of her own sexuality. Revised reissue.
About the Author
(18511904) was born in St. Louis. She began writing after her husbands death in 1882, supporting herself and her six children with the publication of stories in the leading popular magazines of the day. Her first novel, At Fault
, a pioneering work about the taboo subject of divorce, appeared in 1890. Bayou Folk
, her first collection of stories, was published in 1894 and gained her immediate national fame. But her second story collection, A Night in Acadie
(1897), began to depart from this popular and financially rewarding literary vein by presenting unconventional heroines whose views and actions stood in sharp conflict with the morality of the day. With The Awakening
(1899), Kate Chopin achieved what was to prove her literary masterpiece and her ultimate break with popular taste. Although she continued to publish short stories, Chopin did not recover her former success and died seemingly forgotten. The Awakening
, however, survived and has given its author a permanent and important place in American literature.
Barbara H. Solomon is a professor emerita of English and womens studies at Iona College. Among the anthologies she has edited are Herland and Selected Stories of Charlotte Perkins Gilman and The Haves and Have-Nots: 30 Stories About Money and Class in America.
Roxane Gay's writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories, McSweeney's, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Tin House, The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, and many others. She is the author of Ayiti, An Untamed State, and Bad Feminist, and is the co-editor of PANK Magazine.
Table of Contents
Edited and with an Introduction by Barbara H. Solomon
A Note on the Text
Wiser Than a God
A Point at Issue!
A Shameful Affair
At the 'Cadian Ball
Madame Celestin's Divorce
A Lady of Bayou St. John
La Belle Zoraïde
A Respectable Woman
The Story of an Hour
A Pair of Silk Stockings