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English Literature   >   Chopin: The Awakening


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Chopin: The Awakening

In this course, Professor Helen Taylor (University of Exeter) explores Kate Chopin's 1899 novel, The Awakening. After a brief introduction to the writing of the American South, the course begins proper with a discussion of Kate Chopin herself – her upbringing and education, her marriage and children, and her career as a writer. After that, in the third module, we think about Chopin's literary influences – authors such as W. D. Howells and Mary Wilkins Freeman from the States, and such as Gustave Flaubert and Leo Tolstoy from Europe. In the fourth module, we turn to the critical reception of The Awakening, a novel which was more or less forgotten after it was first published in 1899, but which re-emerged in the 1960s and 70s thanks to the work of Per Seyersted and the Woman's Press. In the following five short modules, we look in more detail at specific aspects of the novel – love and marriage in the fifth module, the setting of the novel in the sixth, motherhood and children in the seventh, the idea of Edna as an artist in the eighth, and the imagery of sleeping and waking in the ninth. In the tenth module, we consider the presentation of adultery in the novel, before moving on in the eleventh module to think about the novel's highly controversial ending.


In this module, we provide a brief introduction to the writing of the American South in general, and to Kate Chopin's The Awakening in particular.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Taylor, H. (2018, August 15). Chopin: The Awakening - Introduction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Taylor, H. "Chopin: The Awakening – Introduction." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,


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Prof. Helen Taylor

Exeter University