The Awakening (Collins Classics)

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HarperCollins UK, May 31, 2012 - Fiction - 224 pages
91 Reviews
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HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics.

‘I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn't give myself.’

Heralded as one of the first instances of feminist literature and rejected at its time of publication by the literary set on grounds of moral distaste, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening caused consternation in 1899.

Constrained and confined by the limitations surrounding marriage and motherhood in the late 1800s, Edna Pontellier begins to challenge the notion of femininity through her thoughts and actions. Questioning her love for her husband, and opening herself up to the possibilities of other men and a life outside of societal convention leads to a gradual awakening of her desires.

Chopin’s fascinating exploration of one woman challenging the expectation that surrounds her is powerful, daring and ultimately tragic in its conclusions.

 

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User Review  - lethalmauve - LibraryThing

Pioneering feminist work bogged down by its emotionally distant atmosphere, without any room for complete immersion nor resonance, The Awakening tells the frustrating ambivalence and wavering desire ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mbmackay - LibraryThing

I came across this book when my nephew was reading it for school. First published in 1899, the book was famous (notorious) for its sympathetic portrayal of a woman in a loveless marriage who strays ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

Kate Chopin was born Katherine O'Flaherty in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 8, 1851. Although she was brought up in a wealthy and socially elite Catholic family, Chopin's childhood was marred by tragedies. Her father was killed in a train accident when Chopin was just four years old, and in the following years she also lost her older brother, great-grandmother, and half-brother. In 1870, at the age of 19, she married Oscar Chopin, the son of a wealthy cotton-growing family in Louisiana. The couple had seven children together, five boys and two girls, before Oscar died of swamp fever in 1883. The following year, Chopin packed up her family and moved back to St. Louis to be with her mother, who died just a year later. To support herself and her family, Chopin started to write. Her first novel, At Fault, was published in 1890. Her most famous work, The Awakening, inspired by a real-life New Orleans woman who committed adultery, was published in 1899. The book explores the social and psychological consequences of a woman caught in an unhappy marriage in 19th century America, is now considered a classic of the feminist movement and caused such an uproar in the community that Chopin almost entirely gave up writing. Chopin did try her hand at a few short stories, most of which were not even published. Chopin died on August 22, 1904, of a brain hemorrhage, after collapsing at the World's Fair just two days before.

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