Complete Novels and Stories
At Fault • Bayou Folk • A Night in Acadie • The Awakening • uncollected stories
"Chopin is not, and never has been, a writer who is easily summed up. Here we get everything—the complete stories and the novels—in one tidy, well-presented package... Chopin's richness is best swallowed in great quantities, and this new edition makes that possible."
— Buffalo News
This volume contains four books by Kate Chopin: the novel At Fault (1890); the story collections Bayou Folk (1894) and A Night in Acadie (1897); and the novel The Awakening (1899). It also includes 55 stories not collected by Chopin. Because she often revised her stories for book publication and because some of her uncollected stories that were published in magazines survive in the form of clippings with revisions in her hand, the present volume prints those stories in texts containing the revisions.
Chopin began writing At Fault in St. Louis in July 1889 and completed it the following April. After receiving a single rejection, from the Chicago-based Belford's Monthly magazine, she decided to publish At Fault at her own expense. The book was published by the Nixon-Jones Printing Company in St. Louis on September 27, 1890, in an edition of 1,000 copies. Chopin did not revise the novel after its publication. This volume prints the 1890 Nixon-Jones edition of At Fault.
The 23 tales and sketches included in Bayou Folk were written between 1888 and 1894. "In Sabine," "Old Aunt Peggy," "Madame Célestin's Divorce," and "A Gentleman of Bayou Têche" were published for the first time in Bayou Folk; the 19 remaining stories had been published in the following periodicals: "A No-Account Creole" (Century, January 1894); "In and Out of Old Natchitoches" (Two Tales, April 8, 1893); "A Very Fine Fiddle" (Harper's Young People, November 24, 1891); "Beyond the Bayou" (Youth's Companion, June 15, 1893); "The Return of Alcibiade" (St. Louis Life, December 17, 1892); "A Rude Awakening" (Youth's Companion, February 2, 1893); "The Bênitous' Slave" (Harper's Young People, February 16, 1892); "Désirée's Baby" (Vogue, January 14, 1893); "A Turkey Hunt" (Harper's Young People, February 16, 1892); "Love on the Bon-Dieu" (Two Tales, July 23, 1892); "Loka" (Youth's Companion, December 22, 1892); "Boulôt and Boulotte" (Harper's Young People, December 8, 1891); "For Marse Chouchoute" (Youth's Companion, August 20, 1891); "A Visit to Avoyelles" (Vogue, January 14, 1893); "A Wizard from Gettysburg" (Youth's Companion, July 7, 1892); "Ma'ame Pélagie" (New Orleans Times-Democrat, December 24, 1893); "At the 'Cadian Ball" (Two Tales, October 22, 1892); "La Belle Zoraïde" (Vogue, January 4, 1894); "A Lady of Bayou St. John" (Vogue, September 21, 1893). Bayou Folk was published by Houghton, Mifflin & Company on March 24, 1894. Chopin did not subsequently revise these stories. This volume prints the text of the 1894 Houghton, Mifflin edition of Bayou Folk.
In 1895, Chopin wrote to Houghton, Mifflin proposing a second book of stories. After several inquiries, Horace E. Scudder declined on behalf of the firm and suggested that Chopin write a novel instead, advising her that the "chance of success in such a case is much greater than with collections of short stories." In 1897, having unsuccessfully offered a collection to the Chicago firm of Stone & Kimball as well, Chopin approached Way & Williams, another Chicago publishing house, with her proposal. Way & Williams agreed to bring out a book of 21 tales and sketches written between 1891 to 1896. All but one of the stories, "In the Vicinity of Marksville," had been published in periodicals: "Athénaïse" (Atlantic Monthly, August and September 1896); "After the Winter" (New Orleans Times-Democrat, April 5, 1896); "Polydore" (Youth's Companion, April 23, 1896); "Regret" (Century, May 1894); "A Matter of Prejudice" (Youth's Companion, September 25, 1895); "Caline" (Vogue, May 20, 1893); "A Dresden Lady in Dixie" (Catholic Home Journal, March 3, 1895); "Nég Créol" (Atlantic Monthly, July 1897); "The Lilies" (Wide Awake, April 1893); "Azélie" (Century, December 1894); "Mamouche" (Youth's Companion, April 19, 1894); "A Sentimental Soul" (New Orleans Times-Democrat, December 22, 1895); "Dead Men's Shoes" (Independent, February 11, 1897); "At Chênière Caminada" (New Orleans Times-Democrat, December 23, 1894); "Odalie Misses Mass" (Shreveport Times, July 1, 1895); "Cavanelle" (American Jewess, April 1895); "Tante Cat'rinette" (Atlantic Monthly, September 1894); "A Respectable Woman" (Vogue, February 15, 1894); "Ripe Figs" (Vogue, August 19, 1893); "Ozème's Holiday" (Century, August 1896). While Chopin was preparing the collection, the title of "In the Vicinity of Marksville" was changed to "A Night in Acadie," which became the title for the collection. A Night in Acadie was published by Way & Williams in November 1897. Chopin did not revise these stories after they appeared in the 1897 Way & Williams edition of A Night in Acadie, the text of which is printed here.
Kate Chopin began work on "A Solitary Soul," the working title of The Awakening, in June 1897. Shortly after its completion in January 1899, the novel was sent to H. S. Stone and Co., which had acquired the option to publish The Awakening when the firm bought Way & Williams in November 1898; H. S. Stone published it on April 22, 1899. Chopin did not revise The Awakening after the 1899 H. S. Stone edition, the text that is printed here.
The 55 uncollected stories in this volume were written between 1869 and 1903. Some appeared in magazines and newspapers; others were not published in the author's lifetime. For all but three of these stories ("A Horse Story," "Ti Frère," and "Alexandre's Wonderful Experience"), the texts printed here are taken from Per Seyersted (ed.), The Complete Works of Kate Chopin (Baton Rouge: Louisiana University Press, 1969). For some of the stories published in magazines, Chopin made corrections and revisions on clippings from the periodicals (these clippings are now in the collection of the Missouri Historical Society). Seyersted's edition incorporates these alterations and prints the stories in the approximate order of their composition. Seyersted's source for each of the stories is listed below:
Many of Chopin's uncollected stories were to be included in "A Vocation and a Voice," a collection that was accepted by Way & Williams in 1898 but never published. H. S. Stone and Co., after acquiring Way & Williams' assets in November 1898, returned the manuscript to her in February 1900, informing her that they would not bring out the book. She did not attempt to publish the collection elsewhere. A list in Chopin's hand of the stories to be included in "A Vocation and a Voice" does not survive. According to Daniel Rankin's Kate Chopin and Her Creole Stories (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1932), "A Vocation and a Voice" was to contain 22 stories written between 1893 and 1900: "A Vocation and a Voice," "Elizabeth Stock's One Story," "Two Portraits," "An Idle Fellow," "A Mental Suggestion," "An Egyptian Cigarette," "The White Eagle," "The Story of an Hour," "Two Summers and Two Souls," "The Night Came Slowly," "Juanita," "The Unexpected," "Her Letters," "The Kiss," "Suzette," "Fedora," "The Recovery," "The Blind Man," "A Morning Walk," "Lilacs," "Ti Démon," and "The Godmother." Rankin's list, however, does not provide an adequate basis for reconstructing the proposed book: it includes "The White Eagle," which according to the Seyersted edition was written after Chopin's manuscript of "A Vocation and a Voice" was returned to her; it does not specify which version of "Ti Démon" was to be included ("Ti Démon" was a working title for "A Horse Story" and may have been its title when she submitted her manuscript); and it does not indicate the order of the proposed collection. Although Chopin undoubtedly sought to publish a third book of short stories entitled "A Vocation and a Voice," the present volume has not attempted to reconstruct the collection because Chopin's intentions regarding this book are not clear.
This volume presents the texts of the original printings chosen for inclusion here, but it does not attempt to reproduce features of their typographic design, such as display capitalization of chapter openings. The texts are presented without change, except for the correction of typographical errors. Spelling, punctuation, and capitalization are often expressive features and are not altered, even when inconsistent or irregular.
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