KATE CHOPIN Biography - Writers


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American author Kate Chopin (1850?1904) wrote about a hundred short stories and     
two novels in the 1890s. Most of her fiction is set in Louisiana and most of her     
best-known work focuses on the lives of sensitive, intelligent women.               
Her short stories were well received in her own time and were published by           
America's most prestigious magazines?the Atlantic Monthly, Harper's Young People,   
Youth's Companion, the Century, Vogue, and others. Her stories appeared also in     
her two published anthologies, Bayou Folk (1894) and A Night in Acadie (1897). A     
third anthology, A Vocation and a Voice, did not appear as a separate volume         
until long after her death.                                                         
Chopin's early novel At Fault (1890) was not much noticed by the public, but The     
Awakening (1899) attracted a firestorm of attention. Critics called it morbid,       
disagreeable, vulgar, trite, sordid, and disturbing. There is no evidence that       
the book was banned in Chopin's hometown of St. Louis, despite what some books       
and web sites claim, but in 1902, the Evanston, Illinois, Public Library removed     
it from its open shelves.                                                           
For some years Chopin's fiction was mostly forgotten, but in the 1920s her short     
stories began to be included in anthologies, and little by little people again       
became aware of her work. In the 1930s a Chopin biography appeared which praised     
her short fiction but condemned The Awakening. In the 1950s readers discovered       
that the novel speaks powerfully to their times. And after 1969, when a             
biography sympathetic to The Awakening was published?along with an edition of       
her complete works?Kate Chopin became known throughout the world.                   
Today her work appears in countless editions and translations and is embraced by     
people for its sensitive, graceful, poetic depictions of women's lives. The         
Awakening, "The Storm," "The Story of an Hour," "Désirée's Baby," and other         
stories have established Chopin as a classic writer who speaks eloquently to         
contemporary concerns.