The Awakening Essay - Suggested Readings

Suggested Readings

Bloom, Harold, ed. Kate Chopin. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. A collection of ten critical essays on Chopin’s works, with considerable discussion of The Awakening. The editor’s introduction contains a thought-provoking comparison of The Awakening with the poetry of Walt Whitman.

Bonner, Thomas, Jr. The Kate Chopin Companion: With Chopin’s Translations from French Fiction. New York: Greenwood Press, 1988. An attractive and useful volume consisting mainly of a dictionary of characters, places, titles, terms, and people from the life and work of Chopin. Most of the translations are of stories by Guy de Maupassant, including “Solitude,” which is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand Chopin’s psychological outlook.

Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. Edited by Margaret Culley. New York: W. W. Norton, 1976. Contains fifteen essays or critical excerpts and ten 1899 reviews. Also contains background material on the situation of women in Chopin’s time.

Ewell, Barbara C. Kate Chopin. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1986. A biography of Chopin which surveys her writings in their entirety. Ewell emphasizes that The Awakening is Chopin’s best-known and most important creation but represents only a portion of her total achievement as a writer. This excellent study also contains a chronology, a bibliography, and comprehensive endnotes.

Fryer, Judith. The Faces of Eve: Women in the Nineteenth Century Novel. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. A chapter describes Edna Pontellier as the first woman in American fiction who is a fully developed character.

Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1981.

Keesey, Donald, Comp. Contexts for Criticism. 2d ed. Mountain View, Calif.: Mayfield, 1994. Considers The Awakening from the perspectives of historical, formal, reader response, mimetic, intertextual, and poststructural criticism.

Martin, Wendy, ed. New Essays on “The Awakening.” Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1988. A collection of four essays about Chopin’s novel with a lengthy introduction by the editor, who provides an overview of Chopin’s life and work. Each essay offers a distinct point of view; together they are intended to represent the best contemporary ideas about The Awakening by the so-called New Critics.

Platizky, Roger. “Chopin’s The Awakening.” The Explicator 53, no. 2 (Winter, 1995): 99-103.

Seyersted, Per. Kate Chopin: A Critical Biography. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1969. Reprint. New York: Octagon Books, 1980. An excellent biography by an authority on the author who served as editor of The Complete Works of Kate Chopin, published by Louisiana State University Press in 1970. Seyersted was influential in bringing Chopin back into the literary spotlight as a feminist writer of the first rank.

Toth, Emily. Kate Chopin. New York: William Morrow, 1990. An exhaustively researched book regarded by many critics as the definitive biography of Chopin. Toth identifies real-life models for Chopin’s literary characters. Many photographs are included.

Ziff, Larzer. The American 1890’s: Life and Times of a Lost Generation. New York: Viking Press, 1966. A social and literary history of the decade. Depicts Chopin as an artist and a pioneer in women’s rights.