These notes attempt to clarify details of some of Chopin's explicit and embedded literary, historical, and cultural allusions. Scattered, often repeated, throughout the stories are short, foreign words and phrases: these are translated in the glossary. Longer phrases and words requiring more explanation are marked in the text and translated here (all from varieties of French, unless noted otherwise). Racial classifications are explained in the glossary.
All references to Chopin's manuscripts and clippings are to those held in the Kate Chopin Papers, Missouri Historical Society ( MHS), St Louis, Mo. Her Commonplace Book (CB), diary (Impressions), and MS account books recording her story submissions and earnings ( 1888-95; 1888-1902) are cited from these papers (Box 1/Folders 2 and 14; Box 3/Folders 19 and 20). These have now been transcribed in Emily Toth and Per Seyersted (eds.), Kate Chopin's Private Papers ( 1998). If not specified, full publication details for other references will be found in the Select Bibliography. I use the following abbreviations: KC = Kate Chopin; BF = Bayou Folk; NA = A Night in Acadie; ET = Emily Toth, Kate Chopin: A Life of the Author of 'The Awakening' ( 1990); Baedeker = James F. Muirhead (ed.), The United States . . . 1893 ( Leipzig: Karl Baedeker, 1893); Coleman = Historical Sketch Book and Guide to New Orleans ( New York: W. H. Coleman, 1885).
Written April/June(?) 1897-Jan. 1898. Pub. by Herbert S. Stone & Company ( Chicago: 22 April 1899). (Text here.) Working title: ' A Solitary Soul.
3Allez vous-en! . . . Sapristi!": 'Go away! Go away! For heaven's sake!' KC shared Mr Pontellier's impatience with parrots: 'I have no leaning towards a parrot. I think them detestable birds with their blinking stupid eyes and heavy clumsy motions. I could never become attached to one. I have never in my life heard one talk' ( Impressions, May 1894). This unusually vocal parrot has been much discussed, as an image of the novel's multiple voices, and for the metaphors of caging and freedom it introduces.
gallery: (of a house) a long balcony or open porch.
Grand Isle: one of a number of semi-tropical islands lying in the Gulf of Mexico about sixty miles south of New Orleans, now linked by a bridge to the mainland, but then accessible only by boat, and inhabited largely by shrimp fishers and trappers, many of whom were believed to be descendants of pirates. After the Civil War, the former plantation grounds became a select summer resort for New Orleans residents. KC and her children are said to have spent summer vacations here.