The Awakening and Selected Stories

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A feminist literary landmark: the daring story of a woman's search for personal freedom that was so controversial in 1899 that it ended its author's career.


With an effortless, sure-handed artistry, Kate Chopin tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a young mother and model wife, whose romantic involvement with a young man at a seaside resort allows her for the first time to imagine a freer life. Upon her return to New Orleans, Edna leaves her husband's home for her own cottage, pursues her artistic ambitions, and begins an affair, only to discover that the constraints of social custom are more powerful than she had thought. Contemporary readers were shocked by the frank, unapologetic treatment of adultery in The Awakening, but over the ensuing century the novel went on to achieve the status of a classic for its visionary prescience and narrative brilliance.