The Cambridge Companion to Kate Chopin

Although she enjoyed only modest success during her lifetime, Kate Chopin is now recognised as a unique voice in American literature. Her seminal novel, The Awakening, published in 1899, explored new and startling territory, and stunned readers with its frank depiction of the limits of marriage and motherhood. Chopin's aesthetic tastes and cultural influences were drawn from both the European and American traditions, and her manipulation of her 'foreignness' contributed to the composition of a complex voice that was strikingly different to that of her contemporaries. The essays in this Companion treat a wide range of Chopin's stories and novels, drawing her relationship with other writers, genres and literary developments, and pay close attention to the transatlantic dimension of her work. The result is a collection that brings a fresh perspective to Chopin's writing, one that will appeal to researchers and students of American, nineteenth-century, and feminist literature.

• Covers all of Chopin’s oeuvre in its historical and international literary context • Offers a variety of theoretical approaches to reading her work • Emphasises for the first time the transatlantic dimension of her fiction


Chronology; Introduction Janet Beer; 1. What we do and don’t know about Kate Chopin’s life Emily Toth; 2. At Fault: a reappraisal of Kate Chopin’s other novel Donna Campbell; 3. Kate Chopin and the subject of childhood Pamela Knights; 4. ‘Race’ and ethnicity in Kate Chopin’s fiction Susan Castillo; 5. Kate Chopin on fashion in a Darwinian world Katherine Joslin; 6. The Awakening and New Woman fiction Ann Heilmann; 7. Reading Kate Chopin through contemporary French feminist theory Michael Worton; 8. The Awakening as literary innovation: Chopin, Maupassant and the evolution of genre Elizabeth Nolan; 9. Kate Chopin, choice and modernism Avril Horner; 10. Kate Chopin and post-colonial New Orleans Helen Taylor; 11. The Awakening: the first hundred years Bernard Koloski; Guide to further reading; Index.