I am absolutely fascinated with this novel... and not only because it was temporarily banned in the 20th century for presenting scandalous themes. We follow Edna Pontellier on her quest for sexual, economical, and artistic gratification in lieu of Victorian women's "acceptable" roles. It's an ethical tug-of-war that speaks to women who try to sculpt their own identities in the midst of motherhood and argues that women have individual needs other than a house, husband, and children. The Awakening is rich with haunting images of caged birds, golden rings, and the pull of the sea, making this one of the most intriguing feminist novels I have read.... and a must read for any mother. — Jess Hanlon
Published in 1899, The Awakening traces the transformation of Edna Pontellier from a respectable wife to a woman who openly spurns social and marital conventions. Chopin's reward for her fearless honesty was a chorus of condemnation and censure. Crystalline prose and timeless themes make The Awakening as eye-opening today as in 1899. — Mike Hare
She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before.
Condemned as "sordid" and "immoral" on its publication in 1899, this story of a woman trapped in her marriage effectively ended Chopin's career but was revived as a proto-feminist classic in the 1970s. What Newsweek calls Chopin's "prophetic psychology" insures its timeliness today.
The Art of The Novella Series
Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.
About the Author
Kate Chopin lived in Louisiana during her marriage and began to write after her husband's death. In addition to The Awakening, she wrote a novel, At Fault, and more than 100 short stories.
"I wanted them all, even those I'd already read." —Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer
"Small wonders." —Time Out London
"[F]irst-rate…astutely selected and attractively packaged…indisputably great works." —Adam Begley, The New York Observer
"I’ve always been haunted by Bartleby, the proto-slacker. But it’s the handsomely minimalist cover of the Melville House edition that gets me here, one of many in the small publisher’s fine 'Art of the Novella' series." —The New Yorker
"The Art of the Novella series is sort of an anti-Kindle. What these singular, distinctive titles celebrate is book-ness. They're slim enough to be portable but showy enough to be conspicuously consumed—tiny little objects that demand to be loved for the commodities they are." —KQED (NPR San Francisco)
"Some like it short, and if you're one of them, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, has a line of books for you... elegant-looking paperback editions ...a good read in a small package." —The Wall Street Journal