By the Editors of

Penguin Random House Republishes The Awakening with a New Introduction

Penguin Random House, according to an essay in the New York Times, is issuing a hardcover edition of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening with an introduction by Claire Vaye Watkins.

The Times essay is adapted from Watkins’s introduction. The essay’s headline describes the book as “The Classic Novel That Saw Pleasure as a Path to Freedom.”

The paperback Penguin Classics edition of Chopin’s novel has been popular among teachers, scholars, students, and others since its appearance in 1984. Its introduction, “The Second Coming of Aphrodite,” written by celebrated feminist literary critic Sandra M. Gilbert, has long been one of the most influential essays about the novel.

Claire Vaye Watkins is the author of Battleborn (2012), a collection of short stories, and Gold Fame Citrus (2015), a novel.

Modern Library Republishes The Awakening with a New Introduction

Modern Library

Publisher’s Weekly wrote: “The Modern Library launched a new trade paperback series, Modern Library Torchbearers in 2019. The series, the publisher said,  honors “a more inclusive vision of classic books’ by ‘recognizing women who wrote on their own terms, with boldness, creativity, and a spirit of resistance.’

“The books, all previously published, will be repackaged, and each will be introduced by a contemporary woman writer. The inaugural list for the series features . . . The Awakening by Kate Chopin, with an introduction by Carmen Maria Machado” along with five other titles.

An earlier (1981) Modern Library version of The Awakening included an influential introduction by Nina Baym.

The Awakening for Students of History

Praeger has published The Historian’s Awakening: Reading Kate Chopin’s Classic Novel as Social and Cultural History (2019), edited by Bernard Koloski. The book is aimed at faculty and students reading Kate Chopin’s novel in its historical context.

It includes a copy of the novel with 200 annotations and 19 illustrations focused on historical elements. It includes also a preface for teachers, a chronology of historical events relevant to the novel, a guide for pronouncing the names of the novel’s characters, an introductory chapter about Kate Chopin’s life, and a chapter about the historical context of The Awakening, with an emphasis on nineteenth-century social and cultural realities of class, gender, ethnicity, and modernity. At the end is an extensive bibliography and index.

The Third Norton Critical Edition of The Awakening

For decades, teachers and scholars have depended upon the Norton Critical Edition of The Awakening. The volume, first published in 1976 and updated in 1994, sold hundreds of thousands of copies and played an important part in establishing Kate Chopin as an essential American author.

Margo Culley’s Third (2018) Norton Critical Edition of The Awakening is now available. It includes excerpts from nine critical essays published since 2000 and from nineteen published before the twenty-first century. It contains updated bibliographies, and it retains its authoritative text, its footnotes, its selections from 1899 reviews, and over two dozen excerpts describing biographical and historical contexts.

The new edition of the Norton will be welcomed by readers in the United States and abroad. As Margo Culley writes in her preface to the volume, Kate Chopin “would be astonished” with the world-wide success of her novel.

A New Collector’s Edition of The Awakening

The Macmillan Collector’s Library has published a new edition of The Awakening (2018). Its description reads: “Designed to appeal to the book lover, the Macmillan Collector’s Library is a series of beautifully bound pocket-sized gift editions of much loved classic titles. Bound in real cloth, printed on high quality paper, and featuring ribbon markers and gilt edges, Macmillan Collector’s Library are books to love and treasure.”

The volume includes 23 of Chopin’s short stories and an introduction by J. Michelle Coghlan.