“The Storm” by Kate Chopin is a short story written in 1898, just a year before what is now her best-known work, The Awakening (a novella). Had it been published it would surely have been just as controversial, since it also explores extramarital passion as its theme.
At the time these works were written, women — especially married mothers — were supposed to be “the angels in the house.” Any hint of agency over one’s sexual desires in a work of fiction, particularly from a woman’s pen, was considered shocking. The Awakening, now considered a proto-feminist work and a staple in literature courses, was reviled by critics and banned in many quarters long after its publication. Read More→
“A White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett (1849 – 1900) is one of this esteemed New England author’s most widely anthologized short stories, originally published by Houghton, Mifflin and Co. in 1886. Shortly thereafter, it was the title story in Jewett’s collection, A White Heron and Other Stories.
The story focuses on a city girl named Sylvia who comes to live in the countryside with her grandmother. She meets a hunter who is seeking a rare bird. Sylvia is torn as to whether she should tell him that she spotted the bird. As the story progresses, she grows to love country living and the animals who are part of its habitats.
Sarah Orne Jewett’s short stories and novels reflected her love for the natural surroundings of her native South Berwick, Maine. The coastal community served as the fictionalized setting for most of her novels and short stories. Read More→
The short story “A Wagner Matinee” by Willa Cather was first published in the February, 1904 issue of Everybody’s Magazine. It became part of Cather’s first book of short stories, collected under the title The Troll Garden (1906). Following is the full text of “A Wagner Matinee.”
Clark, a young man living in Boston, finds out that his Aunt Georgiana is coming to town from Nebraska to settle an estate. As a younger woman, Georgiana was an esteemed music teacher at the Boston Conservatory. While on a trip to the Green Mountains of Vermont, she met Howard Carpenter, a man ten years younger than she. The two eloped and began a homestead in Nebraska. Read More→
Rachel by Angelina Weld Grimké (1880 – 1958) was notable for being the first staged play by an African-American writer, and the first to be performed by an all-Black cast. Grimké may have been better known as a poet, but Rachel, her three-act drama, was a singular achievements for these “firsts.”
Angelina Weld Grimké (not to be confused with her white abolitionist great-aunt, Angelina Grimké Weld), was a talented yet lonely figure in the field of literature. Ann Allen Shockley, in Afro-American Women Writers (1991) wrote of her: Read More→
“Miss Brill” by Katherine Mansfield (1888 – 1923) is a much-anthologized short story by this New Zealand-born author considered a master of the genre. It was first published in The Garden Party and Other Stories in 1920.
Miss Brill is an elderly woman who has created her own illusory world.Some of the themes in this classic short story include loneliness, aging, and alienation. It’s considered a modernist piece and is replete with symbolism rather than plot.
Here is some supplementary information on Miss Brill: Read More→