Kate Chopin (February 8, 1850 – August 22, 1904) was an American author who made her mark writing stories for both adults and children in magazines like Vogue and The Youth Companion. Following the death of her husband and the failure of his businesses, she suffered from depression, but found writing to be the therapeutic outlet she needed. And because of the various changes in occupation and location, Chopin drew upon her experiences as material for her writing.
Living in the New Orleans area, she was inspired by those who, like here, were searching for a more fulfilling life of love and happiness. Chopin was a realist and wanted to represent the world as it was in her time, and she did this stunningly. She wasn’t afraid to confront harsh themes, as she did with the issue of racism in her short story, “Desirée’s Baby.”
Read the full text of The Awakening (1899)
A foremother of feminist literature
Chopin is admired as one of the foremothers of 20th century feminist literature. Though she herself may not hae consider herself a feminist as such; she simply thought that women’s desires and ambitions were just as men’s.
Her best known work remains The Awakening. It was a controversial work in its time, and some reviewers like her contemporary, Willa Cather, offered up a rather harsh assessment. It has endured, and is still in print.
Though she wrote fiction, her stories contain profound and very real observations. She allowed the range of human experience she viewed in everyday life to come through in her writing. Kate Chopin died in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904.
On Certain Bright, Brisk Days: Kate Chopin on her writing life
More about Kate Chopin on this site
- Review by Willa Cather of The Awakening
- On Certain Brisk, Bright Days
- The Awakening (1899) – full text
- Influential Quotes by Kate Chopin
Biographies about Kate Chopin
- The Kate Chopin International Society
- 23 Short Stories
- Chopin’s works discussed on Goodreads
- Chopin’s books on Amazon.com
Read and Listen
- Chopin on Project Gutenberg
- Audio recordings of Chopin’s works on Librivox
- Amazon’s Kate Chopin page
Articles, News, Etc.
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