Kate Chopin’s novels and short stories are being translated into many other languages:
Kate Chopin’s family on her mother’s side was of French extraction, and Kate grew up speaking both French and English. She was bilingual and bicultural—feeling at home in different communities with quite different values—and the influence of French life and literature on her thinking is noticeable throughout her fiction.
Kate Chopin wrote in English, but today her fiction is known throughout the world. It has attracted great attention from scholars and students, and has been translated into other languages, including Albanian, Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, Galician, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malayalam, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Portuguese, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and Vietnamese. There are pages on the site in three of these languages:
A Third Kate Chopin Short Story in Arabic
We are grateful to hear from Professor Lina Ibrahim at Bayan University College, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, who tells us that she has translated “Regret,” Kate Chopin’s short story, into Arabic. It is published in al-adab.com, an online literary magazine. You can read “Regret” and Lina Ibrahim’s earlier translations, “The Story of an Hour” and “Désirée’s Baby,” on the al-adab.com website.
We asked Professor Ibrahim why she chose to translate these three stories. She replied:
“Each story struck a chord with me. The three women: Désirée, Louise, and Mamzelle Aurélie represent three types of women caught up in situations that other women can relate to until the end of time.
“Désirée faces what so many women face: If there’s a problem, blame it on the woman. Her husband, recognizing the color of his son, is unable to blame anyone but his young beautiful wife. As a man, he thinks of himself as infallible and believes the woman must be responsible for a sin and must be punished (for a crime, it turns out, she did not commit)
“Louise represents miserable women caught in a traditional marriage. They have everything, yet they aren’t happy. The moment of revelation that comes to Louise while grieving the death of her husband brings with it a state of ecstasy. Now she is free, now she understands that her marriage was a prison from which she is finally released. I do believe that many women nowadays find themselves in similar marriages.
“Mamzelle Aurélie is a spinster by choice. She realizes too late that the outcome of her decision to not marry is a life of loneliness. What I relate to in the story is her realization that the children made her aware of what she was missing—not the absence of a male partner, not marriage as an institution, but the joy that comes with having children, connecting with and taking care of them. Here lies the regret of her choice.”
“The Story of an Hour” in Greek
Natasha Zacharopoulou tells us that she has published her translation of “The Story of an Hour” into Greek. (Scroll down a little and click on the photo of Kate Chopin.)
She adds, “I’ve also done a translation of ‘The Night Came Slowly,’ and it will appear on the website. It’s a site about literature. There are short stories and poems by Greek writers, and also others from the world of literature, translated into Greek by me or other Greek writers.
“I am a writer too. I write poems, short stories, and novels. Nine books of mine have been published here in Greece. I also translate ancient Greek poetry into new Greek (e.g. Sappho, Simonides, Alkman, etc).”
Of Special Significance: The First Translation of The Awakening into Danish
Keith Bergman at the Danish publisher Forlaget Hetland tells us that “we have published The Awakening for the first time in Danish. The translation was done by Henrik Torjusen, a PhD student from Oslo University.”
Oslo University has a special significance for Chopin readers, because it was Per Seyersted, formerly the Director of the American Studies Institute at the university, who in 1969 published Kate Chopin’s Complete Works—along with a new biography—and helped transform Kate Chopin into one of America’s essential authors.
Seyersted’s mother had been a “women’s rights leader in Norway,” his current biographer, Emily Toth, tells us. He had done a Master’s degree at Harvard University, where he wrote a paper about Chopin for Cyrille Arnavon, a visiting professor from Paris who had translated The Awakening into French in 1952.
Arnavon and Seyersted are central figures in the revival of Kate Chopin’s fiction.
“Hetland Books,” The publisher’s website says, “is the English name of the Copenhagen-based independent publishing house Forlaget Hetland. Hetland Books’ aim is to publish translated works from English to Danish.
“Our books often have a North Atlantic feel to them, reflecting the provenance of the publisher.
“Hetland Books takes its name from the point of the British Isles closest to the Kingdom of Denmark. Faroe, an Atlantic archipelago and part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is only 200Km north of the Shetland Islands. Their name for Shetland — is Hetland.”
Charlie: A New Translation of Sixteen Kate Chopin Short Stories into French
Editions Eternel: “Les classiques oubliés de la littérature” [The Forgotten Classics of Literature] has published Charlie, a translation of sixteen Kate Chopin short stories into French, by Camille Vourc’h.
Ms. Vourc’h writes: “Dans chacune de ces seize nouvelles, c’est le souffle même de la vie qui est écrit, il s’anime quand la passion est trop forte pour les convenances et souvent, il fait gagner l’émancipation.” [In each of these sixteen stories, it’s the spirit of life itself which is described; that spirit moves in people when emotions are too powerful for what is socially acceptable, and often it results in their breaking free.]
Camille Vourc’h owns “Camili BOOKS & TEA,” an English bookshop and tearoom in Avignon, France.
François Chopin is a cousin of Kate Chopin’s great-granddaughters Susie Chopin, Gerri Chopin Wendel, and Annette Chopin Lare. He lives in France near Avignon and attended the reception at Camili BOOKS & TEA celebrating the publication of Charlie. We are grateful to him for the photo showing the reception, the one showing Camille Vourc’h (in green) with people at the reception, and the one showing himself with Camille.
Two Kate Chopin Short Stories in Arabic
We are grateful to hear from Professor Lina Ibrahim at Bayan University College, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, who tells us that she has translated two Kate Chopin short stories into Arabic. Both are published in al-adab.com, an online literary magazine. You can read “The Story of an Hour” and “Désirée’s Baby” on the al-adab.com website.
Defausta Editorial in Spain has published a new translation of Kate Chopin’s 1890 novel At Fault into Spanish. The novel was translated by Susana Prieto Mori. The volume was published in 2016.
A Translation of Kate Chopin’s Poems into French.
Gérard Gâcon’s volume, Sous le ciel de l’été, was published by l’Université de Saint-Étienne in 2009.
The original English and the French translation of each of the forty-six poems are presented side by side, and the volume contains an introduction that includes a discussion of Chopin’s prose works “Athénaïse,” “Charlie”, “The Story of an Hour”, and “The White Eagle.” After the poems is a translation of “The White Eagle” into French, an annex with translated passages from Chopin’s 1894 diary and her 1897 dedication to Ruth McEnery Stuart in a copy of Bayou Folk, along with excerpts from an interview Chopin’s son Felix gave in 1949. The volume concludes with a brief chronology of Chopin’s life and a short bibliography.
Gérard Gâcon has translated Shakespeare into French as well as work by Robert Herrick, Andrew Marvell, Lewis Carroll, and others British writers. Some of his translations are published in Paris by Gallimard in the prestigious Pléiade series.
Here is Kate Chopin’s last poem, written in 1900:
To the Friend of My Youth: To Kitty
It is not all of life
To cling together while the years glide past.
It is not all of love
To walk with clasped hands from first to last.
That mystic garland which the spring did twine
Of scented lilac and the new-blown rose,
Faster than chains will hold my soul to thine
Thro’ joy, and grief, thro’ life–unto its close.
And here is Gâcon’s translation of the poem:
A 2011 Brazilian Translation of Kate Chopin Short Stories
We received this message from Beatriz Viégas-Faria, a professor at the Universidade Federal de Pelotas in Brazil:
“I’m writing to let you know about a new book with translations of twelve of Kate Chopin’s short stories that launched on June 20, 2011, in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
“Each of the twelve short stories (in the original English and in Brazilian Portuguese) is followed by two essays–one from a PhD in literature and one from a medical professional (psychiatrists and/or psychoanalysts and one specialist in public health, a nationally renowned fiction writer).
“Other features of the book: one essay presents the translations and the translation process, another presents the literary importance of the short stories, and another presents the importance of Kate Chopin as an example of how literature can help qualify and make more human the relation between a medical doctor and a patient. There is also a text written by two of the translators on Kate Chopin’s life and work.”
“Launching night in Porto Alegre was a big success,” Beatriz Viégas-Faria adds, “with more people than seats for the dramatic reading of ‘A Pair of Silk Stockings’ by actress/professor Mirna Spritzer (the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul). And then we signed books until 10 PM, when the book store closed.
“That was June 20, and then on Sept. 16, in São Paulo, we had another session of book signing, and actress Cris Nicolotti (stage and TV actor from São Paulo) was in charge of the dramatic reading of that same story. We had a good crowd attending, so we again had people lining up to have their books signed.
“On Oct. 27, 2011, in Caxias do Sul (state of Rio Grande do Sul, again), we’ll have yet another book signing session, with dramatic reading by a local actor. And then on Nov. 10, the book signing is scheduled to take place in the traditional and nationally renowned (57-year-old) Book Fair of Porto Alegre. This fair is absolutely packed with people for its 15 days of duration, and every year it opens on the last Friday of October. Our famous Feira do Livro, with its typical outdoor stands under the Spring blossoms, rain or shine, opened every year, even during the times of censorship during the political regime of military dictatorship in our country.”
A 2011 French Translation of Kate Chopin Short Stories–With a Different Emphasis
Éditions Interférences in Paris published in 2011 a new translation of Kate Chopin short stories. The volume is titled Le Sorcier de Gettysburg, and the translations were done by Marie-Anne de Kisch.
The foreword to the volume notes that “at the end of the nineteenth century, in a Louisiana still traumatized by the Civil War, [Kate Chopin] described with subtlety and even audacity the contradictions and ambiguities of the female soul. In Le Sorcier de Gettysburg, as in Une Nuit en Acadie, there is another aspect of her work on display. Although women maintain an important place in the stories, the principal characters this time are Louisiana and its inhabitants.”
The book includes translations of eighteen Chopin stories, arranged in this order: “The Maid of Saint Phillippe,” “A Wizard from Gettysburg,” “Ma’ame Pélagie,” “The Locket,” “The Return of Alcibiade,” “Mrs. Mobry’s Reason,” “A Visit to Avoyelles,” “The Lilies,” “Mamouche,” “Polydore,” “Dead Men’s Shoes,” “Loka,” “The Bênitous’ Slave,” “Old Aunt Peggy,” “Nég Créol,” “Vagabonds,” “Ripe Figs,” and “A Reflection.”
Translations of The Awakening
The Awakening has been translated into many languages. It first appeared in a French translation by Cyrille Arnavon in 1952.
That edition has illustrations by André Hubert. Here’s Edna and Robert:
And here is the first page of the 1952 French translation:
It has also been translated again into French and into other languages. If you know of a translation into still another language, would you contact us? Some older book covers:
A 2010 translation into German:
In addition, our thanks to Noriko Fujikawa at Tsuda College in Tokyo, Japan, for telling us about a Japanese translation of The Awakening. “The book,” Noriko writes, “is called Mezame (which means awakening in Japanese). It was translated by Yoshiko Takita and published by Arechi Shuppansha in 1995 (with a 2nd edition in 2004).”
Mariko Utsu of Yonezawa Women’s Junior College adds that there have been three Japanese translations of The Awakening so far, each by a different translator. The one listed above is the second one.
They are, in the order of publication:
Mezame, translated by Kazuko Sugisaki, published by Bokushinsha in 1977.
Mezame, the edition above, the one translated by Yoshiko Takita. It also includes “The Story of an Hour,” “Emancipation: a Life Fable,” “At the ‘Cadian Ball,” “The Storm,” and “Désirée’s Baby.”
There is also, Mariko tells us, a translation of some Chopin short stories:
Keito Shopan Tanpenshu: Nanbu no Shinsho Fukei (meaning, “A Collection of Short Stories by Kate Chopin: An Imagined Scenery of the South”) translated by Kazuko Sugisaki, published by Kirihara Shoten in 1988. The collected stories are: “With the Violin,” “Mrs. Mobry’s Reason,” “A Harbinger,” “Doctor Chevalier’s Lie,” “Beyond the Bayou,” “Désirée’s Baby,” “Caline,” “An Idle Fellow,” “The Story of an Hour,” “The Kiss,” “Her Letters,” “Dead Men’s Shoes,” “A Pair of Silk Stockings,” “Aunt Limpy’s Interference,” “The Blind Man,” “The Locket,” “Elizabeth Stock’s One Story,” “The While Eagle,” and “The Wood-Choppers.”
And there is a collection of stories by women. Its title is Onnatachi no Jikan: Rezubian Tanpen Shosetsu Shu (meaning, “Women’s Time: Lesbian Short Stories”), edited and translated by Maki Tonegawa, published by Heibonsha in 1998. The Chopin story this book includes is “Lilacs.”
Antía Veres Gesto, a student of translation at the University of Vigo in Spain, tells us that Kate Chopin’s The Awakening has been translated into Galician.
The translation was done by Ana Maria Valladares Fernández. It was published by Toxosoutos, Editorial, in 2003 and is available in both print and digital form. It seems that Chopin is not well-known in Galicia, but, according to reviews, the reception of The Awakening has been positive. The novel is thought of as one of the icons of the feminist movements of the 1960s.
Antía Veres Gesto notes that “it is important for a minority language like ours to become more visible all over the world.”
If you know of a translation into another language, would you contact us?
A New Spanish Translation of The Awakening
Eulalia Piñero Gil has completed a new translation of The Awakening into Spanish. The edition, titled El despertar, is dated 2012 and is published in Madrid by Catedra, Letras Universales.
The new volume includes a 100-page introduction to Kate Chopin and her work as well as a lengthy bibliography.
Eulalia Piñero Gil is Associate Professor in American Literature and Director of the Gender Studies Seminar at Dpto. de Filología Inglesa, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain.
Translations of The Awakening into Swedish and Malayalam
Laurie Gardner in Bucksport, Maine, tells us that The Awakening has been translated into Swedish. The translation, Uppvaknandet, was done by Margareta Lundgren and was published by Forum in Falköping, Sweden, in 1977.
We have learned that the novel has also been translated into Malayalam, a language spoken by about 33 million people in the state of Kerala, on the Malabar Coast in southwestern India. The translation, Uyirppu, was done by Krishnaveni and was published by Kairali Books / Kabani Books in 2012.