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Kate Chopin

Biography

Chopin had almost been forgotten till the late 1960s. Her best known novel, The Awakening, had created such a furore on publication that she had virtually given up writing and her reputation had faded away. Only the renewed interest in women’s writing in the 1960s revived her reputation.

She was born Katherine O’Flaherty in 1850 in St. Louis. She married Oscar Chopin, a Creole who was working in St. Louis. They moved down to Louisiana and had six children. Chopin was very fond of New Orleans, as can be seen from The Awakening. Her summers were spent on the nearby resort of Grand Isle (called La Chênière Caminada in The Awakening), which was destroyed by a tropical storm in 1893. However, her husband’s business did badly and they returned to his family’s plantation in Cloutierville, Louisiana. Oscar died of swamp fever and Kate had to run the plantation on her own. She paid off his debts, sold the plantation and moved back to St. Louis. Soon afterwards, she started to write. Her output was fairly limited. She published a few short stories and only two novels. She is now known primarily for The Awakening. After the condemnation of this novel, she did not publish again and died five years later of a brain hemorrhage.

Books about Kate Chopin

Per Seyersted: Kate Chopin: A Critical Biography (the standard biography)
Peggy Skaggs: Kate Chopin (Twayne’s United States Authors Series, 485)
Emily Toth: Kate Chopin, a Life of the Author of The Awakening
Emily Toth: Unveiling Kate Chopin

Other links

Kate Chopin
Kate Chopin
Kate Chopin
Kate Chopin
Kate Chopin: The Vogue Stories
Kate Chopin: A Re-Awakening
Kate Chopin: The Mistress of Independence in Literature
The Kate Chopin International Society
Kate Chopin as Feminist: Subverting the French Androcentric Influence
The Story of An Hour (story by Chopin)

Bibliography

1890 At Fault
1894 Bayou Folk
1897 A Night in Acadie
1899 The Awakening
1969 The Complete Works of Kate Chopin
1974 The Storm and Other Stories
1979 A Kate Chopin Miscellany
1979 Kate Chopin Portraits: Short Stories
1986 The Return of Alcibiade
1991 A Vocation and a Voice: Stories
1992 A Matter of Prejudice and Other Stories
1995 The Kiss and Other Stories
1996 A Pair Of Silk Stockings and Other Stories
1996 Beyond The Bayou
1998 A Shameful Affair and Other Stories
1998 The Complete Works of Kate Chopin
2005 Lilacs and Other Stories
2009 A Family Affair and Other Short Stories