Chopin, Kate O'Flaherty

Kate O'Flaherty Chopin (shō´păn´), 1851–1904, American author, b. St. Louis. Of Creole-Irish descent, she married (1870) a Louisiana businessman and lived with him in Natchitoches parish and New Orleans. In these places she acquired an intimate knowledge of Creole and Cajun life, upon which she was to draw in many of her stories. After her husband's death in 1883, she returned with their six children to St. Louis and there began to write. Two collections of tales, Bayou Folk (1894) and A Night in Acadie (1897), earned her a reputation as a local colorist, but her novel The Awakening (1899) caused a storm of criticism because of its treatment of feminine sexuality. In depicting objectively a woman's confused groping toward self-understanding and self-acceptance, Chopin seemed to threaten the mores of her time although she did not explicitly attack them. Largely ignored for the next 60 years, her work is now praised for its literary merit as well as for its remarkable independence of mind and feeling.

See her complete works, ed. by P. Seyersted (2 vol., 1969) and ed. by S. M. Gilbert (2002); her private papers, ed. by E. Toth et al. (1998); T. Bonner, Jr., The Kate Chopin Companion (1988); biographies by E. Toth (1988 and 1999).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Awakening, and Other Stories
Kate Chopin; Pamela Knights.
Oxford University Press, 2000
Kate Chopin's The Awakening: A Sourcebook
Janet Beer; Elizabeth Nolan.
Routledge, 2004
Unveiling Kate Chopin
Emily Toth.
University Press of Mississippi, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 12 "The Awakening"
Depression and Chopin's 'The Awakening.' (Kate Chopin)
Ryan, Steven T.
The Mississippi Quarterly, Vol. 51, No. 2, Spring 1998
Un-Utterable Longing: The Discourse of Feminine Sexuality in 'The Awakening.' (Novel by Kate Chopin)
Wolff, Cynthia Griffin.
Studies in American Fiction, Vol. 24, No. 1, Spring 1996
Poe and 'The Awakening.' (Edgar Allan Poe)
Franklin, Rosemary F.
The Mississippi Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 1, Winter 1993
Art Is an Unnatural Act: Mademoiselle Reisz in 'The Awakening.'
Seidel, Kathryn Lee.
The Mississippi Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 1993
Kate Chopin's the Awakening: Screenplay as Interpretation
Marilyn Hoder-Salmon.
University Press of Florida, 1992
Women in Literature: Reading through the Lens of Gender
Jerilyn Fisher; Ellen S. Silber.
Greenwood Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: "Female Resistance to Gender Conformity in Kate Chopin's The Awakening" begins on p. 22
The Awakening's Signifiying "Mexicanist" Presence
Barrish, Phillip.
Studies in American Fiction, Vol. 28, No. 1, Spring 2000
Dangerous Spending Habits: The Epistemology of Edna Pontellier's Extravagant Expenditures in the Awakening
Bunch, Dianne.
The Mississippi Quarterly, Vol. 55, No. 1, Winter 2001
Fashioning the Hybrid Woman in Kate Chopin's the Awakening
Mathews, Carolyn L.
Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 35, No. 3, September 2002
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