Virtually everyone who's known me in the last twenty-five years, including thousands of students, has somehow touched my research on Kate Chopin -- which makes it impossible to acknowledge them all. More recently, countless e-mail correspondents about Kate Chopin have enriched, or sometimes bedeviled, my days. These acknowledgments, then, are only partial, and I hope those not mentioned by name will feel covered in this general acknowledgment of thanks to everyone. (I also hope that my biographers, if I ever have any, will pull together all my book acknowledgments and create the mega-acknowledgment that really will cover everyone.)
My first personal debt, of course, is to my parents, who instilled in me a love of writing, literature, and learning, as well as an insatiable curiosity about people's lives, and an activist insistence on making the world a better place for women. My mother, Dorothy Ginsberg Fitzgibbons, lived long enough to see the dedication to her in my Kate Chopin book nearly a decade ago; my father, John Fitzgibbons, was already in a nursing home with Alzheimer's disease. Both have since passed away, but I draw on their wit, intelligence, and strength of character every day -- or try to.
My family network of supporters continues to encourage writing, literature, and learning: Sara Ruffner, Theresa Toth, Dennis Fitzgibbons, Ellen Boyle, Beauregard, Foxy, and the late Bunkie.
Per Seyersted deserves thanks from everyone who has ever opened The Awakening. He opened our eyes to Kate Chopin, and more than two decades ago, he gave me -- then a lowly graduate student -- a chance to work on his first collection of Chopin's private writings. None of this would exist without him. I am also, as always, grateful to Barbara Ewell for her own Chopin research and for the research tasks she did for me in New Orleans while I lived in exile in Pennsylvania: her energy and organizational abilities remain unsurpassed. Over more than two dec-