Literature Emily Toth Kate Chopin

ISBN 13: 9780292781276

Kate Chopin

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9780292781276: Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin (1851-1904) was the young widow of a near-bankrupt Louisiana cotton-farmer when she returned to her native St Louis and turned to writing to support her six children. Her fiction won immediate acclaim, but the publication in 1899 of "The Awakening", the portrayal of a woman's extramarital affair and sexual awakening, sparked a national scandal that led to the book being banned and plagued the author for the rest of her life. Rediscovered in the 1960s, the book was hailed as a feminist classic and Kate Chopin as a major American author. This biography aims to reveal a life as fascinating, vigorous and notorious as any Kate Chopin invented for her characters, including an affair with a married man. Chopin suffered for her independence, but created for herself a life which was in some ways ahead of its time.

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From Publishers Weekly:

More than 70 years after its publication, The Awakening by Kate Chopin (1850-1904)--the story of a woman who embraces solitude and abnegates the responsibilities of marriage and motherhood--was rediscovered by the women's movement. After a friend passed a copy to Toth at an antiwar march, she "found a dissertation topic and lifelong pursuit." Not a detail of Chopin's history is considered too trivial for inclusion in this pedestrian dissection. Alongside a chronicle of Chopin's emergence as a short-story writer and novelist are reports on her honeymoon menstrual cramps, her physician's "deliberately unstylish" clothes and the career of Frances Porcher, an early reviewer of The Awakening . The literal-minded biographer ( The Curse: A Cultural History of Menstruation ) tediously compares "Kate" with "Edna" (Edna Pontellier, the heroine of The Awakening ); her explanations of Chopin's discontent in her marriage and illicit relationship with a married man are flimsy. Toth is also given to portentousness: during the Civil War years, Chopin "took the law into her own hands" when she tore down a Union flag that appeared mysteriously on her front porch. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Born in St. Louis in 1850, Chopin eventually moved to Louisiana when she married. Left a widow with six children in 1882, she turned to writing for her livelihood, and she was successful until the publication of her controversial novel The Awakening in 1899. This novel is the story of a woman who relinquishes the traditional female role by having an extramarital affair and seeking independence. In this meticulously researched biography, which began as a dissertation, Toth has uncovered the essence of a woman whose writings veiled the undercurrents of her remarkable life. From the high society of St. Louis to the backwaters of Cloutierville, Louisiana, Chopin was a keen observer and skillful raconteur of the unfolding relationships of men and women. She boldly touched upon topics rarely treated in mainstream literature, and she was ultimately castigated for this. Although the text is weighed down by detail, this is a worthwhile purchase for those interested in a feminist well ahead of her time whose artistic merit has now been fully recognized.
- Mary Ellen Beck, Troy P.L., N.Y.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Toth, Emily
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