The Story of the Kate Chopin Revival
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Louisiana State University Press
Series: Southern Literary Studies
Cover, Title Page, Copyright
No other American book was so maligned, neglected for so long, and then embraced so quickly and with such enthusiasm as Kate Chopin’s 1899 novel The Awakening. And none has been so thoroughly redeemed as...
Part 1: Feminisms
1. My Part in Reviving Kate Chopin
“You should read this,” said my friend Annette Stadd, slipping a small orange-covered paperback into my book bag. I barely got a peek at the cover drawing—a lady with a chignon—before we rejoined the chant “U.S. Out of...
2. Linked Fortunes: Kate Chopin, the Short Story (and Me)
As for so many others, my first encounter with Kate Chopin was a tip from a colleague—“You gotta read this!” Or, more specifically, “Put this one in your syllabus!” It was the mid-seventies. I had just finished my PhD at a venerable...
3. Bringing Kate Chopin to Britain: A Transatlantic Perspective
It is a truth universally acknowledged that, in Britain as well as the United States, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening is now one of the most widely read and critically discussed works of fiction and also one of those most studied in literature courses...
4. Creating the New American Library's Awakening
Since The Awakening is now regularly referred to as a classic of American literature as well as a classic of women’s studies, it might be helpful to describe some of the qualities associated with a literary “classic.” The one of greatest importance...
5. So Long As We Read Chopin
I was a poor graduate student living in a cold-water basement flat in a city in which I did not speak the majority language. I had just that day found a paperback copy of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, a book I had seen passing reference...
Part 2: Foundations
6. My Life with Kate Chopin
Writing about how Kate Chopin and her fiction entered my life and the lives I’ve touched professionally in the critical and social context of a generation ago suggests not only that something significant had occurred in the world of letters...
7. On First Looking (and Looking Once Again) into Chopin's Fiction: Kate and Ernest and “A Pair of Silk Stockings”
Of course, neither Hemingway’s gender nor his general (I would argue undeserved) reputation for misogyny would seem to hold out much hope that his remarks on writing could tell us anything we need to know about how to read a...
8. The Death of Edna Pontellier and the Card Catalog
In 1976 my bibliography of Kate Chopin’s writings was published by G. K. Hall as part of Joseph Katz’s Reference Guides in Literature. The volume, Edith Wharton and Kate Chopin: A Reference Guide, was largely devoted to Edith Wharton,...
9. Romantic Overtures
Kate Chopin entered my life more than twenty years ago when I inherited a Women in Fiction course at Tulane. It had been a popular class, and as the departing instructor handed me her syllabus, she pointed to one writer in particular...
Part 3: Expansions
10. Kate Chopin and the Future of Short Fiction Studies
Since learning about the plan to revisit Kate Chopin, I have been asking myself why an essay on this writer has appeared in each of my three books on short fiction theory even though I have never considered myself...
11. Reckoning with Race in The Awakening
When I was in high school and college in the 1960s, no one I knew had ever heard of Kate Chopin. She first came to my attention in 1973, when I was a graduate student in English at the University of Nebraska– Lincoln. It was a sign...
12. Feeling the Countercurrent
The undertow in Kate Chopin’s fiction has absorbed me for thirty years. Chopin’s best-known stories speak of women’s struggles for better lives—for independence, fulfillment, integrity, intimacy, joy. But deep in some of those works...