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First published in 1899, this beautiful, briefnovel so disturbed critics and the public that itwas banished for decades afterward. Now widely readand admired, The Awakening hasbeen hailed as an early vision of woman'semancipation. This sensuous book tells of a woman'sabandonment of her family, her seduction, and herawakening to desires and passions that threated toconsumer her. Originally entitled A SolitarySoul, this portrait of twenty-eight-year-oldEdna Pontellier is a landmark in American fiction,rooted firmly in the romantic tradition of HermanMelville and Emily Dickinson. Here, a woman insearch of self-discovery turns away from convention andsociety, and toward the primal, from conventionand society, and toward the primal, irresistiblyattracted to nature and the sensesTheAwakening, Kate Chopin's last novel, has beenpraised by Edmund Wilson as beautifullywritten. And Willa Cather described its style as exquisite, sensitive, and iridescent. This edition of TheAwakening also includes a selection ofshort stories by Kate Chopin.
This seems to me ahigher order of feminism than repeating the storyof woman as victim... Kate Chopin gives her femaleprotagonist the central role, normally reservedfor Man, in a meditation on identity and culture,consciousness and art. -- From theintroduction by Marilynne Robinson.