That there has been surprisingly little textual debate about Chopin's writings is a tribute to the openness and attentiveness of her founding editors. This edition would not have been possible without their work, and gratefully acknowledges its debts.
Here, I follow the general practice of previous editors of intervening as little as possible in Chopin's texts. I have made no attempt to standardize spelling or punctuation from story to story, or to regularize the use of upper-case (e.g. for 'Street', 'River'), or the use of italics for non-English terms. Although italicization may at times seem inconsistent, Chopin is often extremely precise about inflection, and I do not wish to erase possible critical implications that readers might wish to explore (e.g. questions of Chopin's construction of her audience). Occasional syntactical compressions or moments of disagreement of tense or number (e.g. 'their personality', p. 143) are also a feature of Chopin's writing, reflecting a frequent informal oral tone in her narration. Her punctuation, too, often marks speech patterns, not syntax. Some seeming misprints (e.g. 'Monsieur, l'Artist' for 'Monsieur, l'Artiste', p. 149) may represent deliberate 'Americanisms' or other intentional effects, and, if in any doubt, I have not altered these. I have, however, silently corrected obvious misprints, cross-checking with the book-version where one exists (e.g. 'walkinng' for 'walking', p. 134; 'luxurions' for 'luxurious', p. 178).
Editors have found little to argue about in the text of The Awakening, which was published by Herbert S. Stone & Company, Chicago & New York, on 22 April 1899. To date, no manuscript of the novel has been located, and, without later variants in Kate Chopin's lifetime, the first edition has served as the base for all subsequent reprintings, and is the one used here. Although the Stone text is remarkably clear of irritating errors, like most editors I have added a word ('of') to 'scene torture' (p. 122), and inserted two speech marks (pp. 69, 70); 'doctor' (p. 72, l. 31) has been changed to 'Doctor'. No further