The Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, is a novel by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899. Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century, the plot centers on Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century American South. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women's issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism, generating mixed reaction from contemporary readers and criticism.
The novel's blend of realistic narrative, incisive social commentary, and psychological complexity makes The Awakening a precursor of American modernist literature; it prefigures the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway and echoes the works of contemporaries such as Edith Wharton and Henry James. It can also be considered among the first Southern works in a tradition that would culminate with the modern masterpieces of Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Tennessee Williams.
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Kate Chopin's classic, an American Anna Karenina, joins Canongate's Canons series.
With an introduction by Barbara KingsolverFrom the Publisher:
Edna Pontellier is a young woman living comfortably in the beautiful city of New Orleans. She is fond of her husband and proud of her sons but finds it impossible to accept that “for women it is a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals.” She fights back in the only way she knows, and her solution is extreme. Infamous in its time, The Awakening is now recognized as a radical work of fiction—sensuous, arresting, and clear–eyed in its commitment to freedom and independence. Kate Chopin was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1850; The Awakening was her third novel.
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