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The Awakening & Other Stories
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Readers and critics were scandalized by The Awakening when it was first published but it is now regarded as amongst the boldest and earliest of feminist fiction. It is published here with a selection of Chopin’s strikingly perceptive short stories and introduced by Dr J. Michelle Coghlan, specialist in American literature.

In The Awakening Edna Pontellier is on holiday with her husband and two young children at a sleepy resort town on the Louisiana Gulf Coast. There, she is pursued by the charming and unmarried Robert Lebrun. Edna doesn’t play by the rules; flirtation turns to an affair which awakens in Edna her own desire to break away from her passionless marriage, her children and the strict conventions of nineteenth-century society.

Kate Chopin was born in St. Louis in 1850, to a Creole mother and an Irish father. Educated at St Louis’ Sacred Heart Academy, Chopin went on to reject her catholic faith and embraced a free thinking philosophy inspired by writers such as Darwin and Huxley. In 1870 she married French Creole Oscar Chopin, who died in 1882 of yellow fever. A widow at only 32 with six children, she eventually moved home to St Louis where she began writing fiction. She completed three novels and close to one hundred short stories which were published in prominent magazines such as Atlantic Monthly and Vogue. She died in 1904.