If you believe in LOA’s mission and would like to support our activities in a substantial way, nothing is more helpful than endowing a volume in the series to keep it permanently in print. Your gift will have prominent recognition in the book, and as a Guardian of American Letters you will make a lasting contribution to American culture.
This month’s featured candidate for adoption is Kate Chopin: Complete Novels & Stories. Widely condemned for immorality during her lifetime, and largely forgotten after her death, Chopin and her exploration of the inner lives of sensitive and daring women were rediscovered in the 1960s and 1970s. The Library of America edition published in 2002 is the culmination of that revival, affirming her place as an essential American writer.
The first truly comprehensive collection of Chopin’s fiction, the book opens with the novel At Fault (1890), an explosive melodrama centered on a love triangle, followed by two story collections, Bayou Folk (1894) and A Night in Acadie (1897), in which Chopin transforms the popular local color sketch into perfectly calibrated tales that portray Louisiana bayou cultures with sympathetic insight and an eye to the unresolved conflicts of a South reeling from the Civil War. Chopin’s novel The Awakening (1899) was considered so scandalous in its day that it effectively ended her public career as a writer. The story of a restless, unsatisfied woman’s quixotic search for fulfillment, The Awakening is rendered with a suggestive ambiguity that defies easy judgments about its protagonist’s actions, and confirms Chopin’s stature as a chronicler of independent women who was decades ahead of her time.
Complete Novels & Stories also includes all the short fiction Chopin never collected, including the works meant for a projected volume that her publisher canceled in 1900; stories that she never tried to publish, such as the erotically daring “The Storm”; and “Ti Frère,” “A Horse Story,” and “Alexandre’s Wonderful Experience,” three stories that weren’t discovered until 1992, in a long-lost cache of Chopin’s papers.
A fully tax-deductible contribution of $75,000 to the Guardians of American Letters Fund will help to keep these masterworks of American noir fiction in print and available to future generations of readers.