The Awakening

Front Cover
SOHO BOOKS, 2011 - History - 118 pages
2011 Reprint of 1899 Edition. "The Awakening" is a novel by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899. Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century, the plot centers around Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century South. It is one of the earliest American novels to focus on women's issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism. The novel's blend of realistic narrative, incisive social commentary, and psychological complexity makes "The Awakening" a precursor of American modernism and prefigures the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway and echoes the works of contemporaries such as Edith Wharton and Henry James. It can also be considered among the first Southern works in a tradition that would culminate with the modern masterpieces of Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Tennessee Williams.

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User Review  - Cariola - LibraryThing

Reread for a course I'm teaching (I'm about to get 50 papers on it!). Since I've read this classic novel of a woman's confused longing for selfhood many times, I found myself focusing on Chopin's ... Read full review

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User Review  - heidilove - LibraryThing

I loved this book. Not everyone I know does, but there you are; I'm different like that. Read full review

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About the author (2011)

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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