Kate Chopin: Her Novels and Stories

Missouri History Museum, St. Louis, USA

American author Kate Chopin (1850–1904) wrote two published novels and about a hundred short stories 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 some of America’s most prestigious magazines—Vogue, the Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s Young People, Youth’s Companion, and the Century. A few stories were syndicated by the American Press Association. Her stories appeared also in her two published collections, Bayou Folk (1894) and A Night in Acadie (1897), both of which received good reviews from critics across the country. About a third of her stories are children’s stories—those published in or submitted to children’s magazines or those similar in subject or theme to those that were. By the late 1890s Kate Chopin was well known among American readers of magazine fiction.

Her early novel At Fault (1890) had not been much noticed by the public, but The Awakening (1899) was widely condemned. Critics called it morbid, vulgar, and disagreeable. Chopin’s work was mostly forgotten after her death, but, beginning in the 1950s, scholars rediscovered it and praised it for its truthful, graceful depictions of women’s lives. Today Kate Chopin is widely accepted as one of America’s essential authors. (continue)

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