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The Awakening [Norton Critical Edition, 1st…

The Awakening [Norton Critical Edition, 1st ed.]

by Kate Chopin, Margaret Culley (Editor), Margo Culley (Editor)

Other authors: Elizabeth Ammons (Contributor), George Arms (Contributor), Cyrille Arnavon (Contributor), Jules Chametzky (Contributor), Margo Culley (Contributor)30 more, Dorothy Dix (Contributor), Kenneth Eble (Contributor), Lee R. Edwards (Contributor), Anna Shannon Elfenbein (Contributor), Marie Fletcher (Contributor), Elizabeth Fox-Genovese (Contributor), Sandra M. Gilbert (Contributor), Lewis Leary (Contributor), John R. May (Contributor), Percival Pollar (Contributor), Daniel S. Rankin (Contributor), Donald A. Ringe (Contributor), Per Seyersted (Contributor), Mary L. Shaffter (Contributor), Elaine Showalter (Contributor), Stewart Smith (Contributor), George M. Spangler (Contributor), Charlotte Perkins Stetson (Contributor), Ruth Sullivan (Contributor), Helen Taylor (Contributor), Dunrobin Thomson (Contributor), Wilbur Fisk Tillett (Contributor), Paula A. Treichler (Contributor), Thorstein Veblen (Contributor), Nancy Walker (Contributor), Cynthia Griffin Wolff (Contributor), Suzanne Wolkenfeld (Contributor), Patricia S. Yaeger (Contributor), Janet Scammon Young (Contributor), Larzer Ziff (Contributor)

Series: Norton Critical Editions

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The daughter of a wealthy Kentucky farmer and wife of a wealthy New Orleans businessman, Edna Pontellier has an easy life, one that would bring most women nothing but happiness. And at first, Edna is quite content with her life. She sees nothing wrong with her husband treating her as nothing more than another of his prized possessions, and is happy, if a little bored. They spend their summers on Grand Isle in the company of other members of New Orleans society. Their days are often spent at the beach and their nights at various parties. As the summer wanes, though, Edna becomes less and less content with her life, and more and more enamored with a young man who harmlessly, initially, showers her with attention. She begins to rebel against the notion that she has no identity separate from that of a wife and mother and struggles to embrace her individuality. This struggle continues following their return to New Orleans, and the disappearance of her young companion. By the end of the book, she has decided that she will no longer allow her life to be determined by anyone else, including her husband and her children.

This is often called an early feminist work, despite the authors strident disagreement. I'm not sure that I see it as espousing feminist ideals myself. Instead it expresses the notion of the individual. While Edna was a very selfish character, and her wants and desires failed to take into consideration the very real responsibilities she had towards her husband and children, it also depicted a struggle that many women experience as wives and mothers. It is all too easy to subsume yourself in your husband and your children, completely loosing your identity as an individual. Edna realizes that she does not want this - she wants to be a fully realized person and so she battles the expectations placed on her by society.

In this modern era, if a woman is dissatisfied with her home life and chooses to leave it, abandoning husband and child, it is accepted, though there is still often a great stigma and prejudice towards any woman who will not or cannot put her children above all else, especially self. However, in the era when this book was written it was shocking, even scandalous, for a woman to even consider placing her own desires above that of her husband or children. She was a slave to societal expectations, so for Kate Chopin to write about a woman doing just that, would have sent shock waves throughout both the literary world and the general public. Not surprisingly, this book all but ended her career. Today, this novel wouldn't even ruffle the feathers of the most repressed among us, but at the time it was considered quite avant garde and was a precursor and inspiration to many later feminist authors. ( )
  Mootastic1 | Jan 15, 2016 |
Not much to say about this.

I'm glad I've read it finally. I was impressed and maybe a little bit moved, but not bowled over. I do enjoy all of the drama surrounding its controversial nature, though
  Esquiress | Mar 16, 2010 |
The person who recommended this book to me is a bit of literature snob; only reading classics and looking down her nose at anything written after the early 1900's. To be honest, I wasn't expecting to enjoy the book as much as I did. It had a light, lyrical prose; fantastic descriptions of Victorian Creole life; as well as a quick and easy pace. I found myself caught up in the story of Mrs. Edna Pontellier, and relating to her, even if her actions were less than noble.

I enjoyed reading the Norton Critical Edition for a few reasons; the historical footnotes were fascinating and helped give context to the content, and reading criticisms from when the book first came out vs. later criticism was also interesting. I'm not sure I would have gotten as much out of the book if I had read a version without these things. ( )
  pinprick | Sep 15, 2009 |
You really want the Norton edition of this book, which includes contemporary essays and reviews. ( )
  amandrake | May 12, 2008 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate Chopinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Culley, MargaretEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Culley, MargoEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Ammons, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arms, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arnavon, CyrilleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chametzky, JulesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Culley, MargoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dix, DorothyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eble, KennethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Edwards, Lee R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elfenbein, Anna ShannonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fletcher, MarieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fox-Genovese, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, Sandra M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leary, LewisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
May, John R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pollar, PercivalContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rankin, Daniel S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ringe, Donald A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Seyersted, PerContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shaffter, Mary L.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Showalter, ElaineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, StewartContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Spangler, George M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stetson, Charlotte PerkinsContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sullivan, RuthContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Taylor, HelenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thomson, DunrobinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tillett, Wilbur FiskContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Treichler, Paula A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Veblen, ThorsteinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Walker, NancyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wolff, Cynthia GriffinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wolkenfeld, SuzanneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yaeger, Patricia S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Young, Janet ScammonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ziff, LarzerContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Do Not Combine: This is a "Norton Critical Edition", it is a unique work with significant added material, including essays and background materials. Do not combine with other editions of the work. Please maintain the phrase "Norton Critical Edition" in the Canonical Title and Publisher Series fields.

The first and second editions of the NCE have significantly different contents. Please do not combine.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393960579, Paperback)

This Second Edition of a perennial favorite in the Norton Critical Edition series represents an extensive revision of its predecessor.

The text is that of the first edition of the novel, published by Herbert S. Stone in 1899. It has been annotated by the editor and includes translations of French phrases and information about New Orleans locales, customs, and lore, the Bayou region, and Creole culture. "Bibliographical and Historical Contexts", expanded and introduced by a new Editor’s Note, presents biographical, historical, and cultural documents contemporary with the novel’s publication. Included are a biographical essay by the acclaimed Chopin biographer Emily Toth, "An Etiquette/Advice Book Sampler" with selections from the conduct books of the period in which Chopin lived and wrote, and period fashion plates from Harper’s Bazar. A comprehensive "Criticism" section, introduced by a new Editor’s Note, contains expanded selections from hard-to-find contemporary reviews of the novel; two letters of mysterious origin written in response to the novel; and Chopin’s "Retraction," which followed The Awakening’s negative reception. These are followed by twenty-seven interpretive essays, twelve of them new to the Second Edition, that provide a variety of perspectives on The Awakening, including essays by Cynthia Griffin Wolff, Nancy Walker, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Paula A. Treichler, Sandra M. Gilbert, Lee R. Edwards, Patricia S. Yaeger, Elizabeth Ammons, and Elaine Showalter. A Chronology of Chopin’s life and an updated Selected Bibliography are also included.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:33 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Edna Pontellier, a Victorian-era wife and mother, is awakened to the full force of her desire for love and freedom when she becomes enamored with Robert LeBrun, a young man she meets while on vacation.

» see all 5 descriptions

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