The Awakening

Front Cover
Pocket Books, 1998 - Fiction - 223 pages
First published in 1899, this beautiful, brief novel so disturbed critics and the public that it was banished for decades afterward. Now widely read and admired, "The Awakening" has been hailed as an early vision of woman's emancipation. This sensuous book tells of a woman's abandonment of her family, her seduction, and her awakening to desires and passions that threated to consumer her. Originally entitled "A Solitary Soul, " this portrait of twenty-eight-year-old Edna Pontellier is a landmark in American fiction, rooted firmly in the romantic tradition of Herman Melville and Emily Dickinson. Here, a woman in search of self-discovery turns away from convention and society, and toward the primal, from convention and society, and toward the primal, irresistibly attracted to nature and the senses "The Awakening," Kate Chopin's last novel, has been praised by Edmund Wilson as "beautifully written." And Willa Cather described its style as "exquisite, " "sensitive, " and "iridescent." This edition of "The Awakening" also includes a selection of short stories by Kate Chopin.

"This seems to me a higher order of feminism than repeating the story of woman as victim... Kate Chopin gives her female protagonist the central role, normally reserved for Man, in a meditation on identity and culture, consciousness and art." -- From the introduction by Marilynne Robinson.

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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 (1998)

Kate Chopin, born in 1851 as Katherine O'Flaherty in St. Louis to an Irish merchant father and an aristocratic Creole mother, grew up studying piano and reading Austen, Dickens, Goethe, and the BrontCs. She blossomed into a beauty and was admired for her wit and grace in spite of a streak of free-spiritedness. After marrying Oscar Chopin in 1870, she continued her independent behavior, smoking cigarettes, dressing as she pleased, and taking long walks alone. Yet she bore six children in twelve years of marriage and assumed management of the Chopin family plantation upon Oscar's sudden death in 1882. Turning seriously to writing about that time, she published stories in Vogue and Atlantic Monthly. She wrote a novel, At Fau“/I> a collection of short stories, Bayou Folk; another collection, A Night in Acadie; and her masterpiece, The Awakening. Criticized as immoral and shockingly inappropriate for female readers, the novel sold very poorly and was considered a failure. Chopin, anguished and dismayed by the harsh criticism The Awakening received, eventually stopped writing. She died in 1904, certain that she would be remembered only as a writer of short stories.

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