Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton and Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Studies in Short Fiction — An Introduction

  • Janet Beer
Chapter

Abstract

The three authors who are the subjects of this book, Kate Chopin (1850–1904), Edith Wharton (1862–1937) and Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935), were prolific and innovative short-story writers. All three wrote short stories throughout their professional lives and were also practitioners in other genres; all wrote poetry, for private and public consumption, both Gilman and Wharton wrote novels, criticism, autobiography, essays and cultural critiques, Wharton wrote travel books and Gilman had a long and distinguished career as a sociologist, lecturing and writing outside the academic establishment to a wide range of different audiences. Chopin, the most dedicated short story writer of the three, wrote a few minor articles and was the author of three novels: one, Young Dr Gosse, was destroyed after she failed to find a publisher for it, another, At Fault, was published at her own expense in 18901 and her third and best known, The Awakening, was published in 1899, toward the end of her life.

Keywords

Income Coherence Assure Expense Arena 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Toth, Emily Kate Chopin (London: Century, 1990), p. 189.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Showalter, Elaine ‘Smoking Room’, Times Literary Supplement, 16 June 1995, p. 12.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Actually the title of a book by Gilman, The Man-Made World; or, Our Androcentric Culture (New York: Charlton Co., 1911).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Lewis, R.W.B. Edith Wharton (London: Constable & Co., 1975), p. 61.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    The publication date of the story is the subject of some confusion among scholars. In her book, The Captive Imagination: A Casebook on ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ (New York The Feminist Press, 1992), Catherine Golden explains the reasons for the misdating of the story’s first publication and arrives at January 1892 as the true date of its appearance in the New England Magazine. See also Julie Bates Dock et al. in ‘But One Expects That”: Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and the Shifting Light of Scholarship’, PMLA, Vol. 111, 1, January 1996, pp. 52–65, for a scathing appraisal of the inaccuracies — textual and otherwise — that have dogged the critical treatment of Gilman’s tale.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 10.
    Gilman, Charlotte Perkins The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 1935 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990), p. 119.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    See Larzer Ziff’s discussion of the ideological imperatives of those in charge at the literary magazines at the turn of the century in his The American 1890s: Life and Times of a Lost Generation (London: Chatto and Windus, 1967), pp. 123–4.Google Scholar
  8. 15.
    Chopin, Kate The Complete Works of Kate Chopin (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1969), pp. 717–18.Google Scholar
  9. 20.
    White, Barbara A. Edith Wharton: A Study of the Short Fiction (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1991), p. 28.Google Scholar
  10. 21.
    Lewis, R.W.B. & Nancy Lewis (eds). The Letters of Edith Wharton (London: Simon and Schuster, 1988), p. 124.Google Scholar
  11. 22.
    Wharton, Edith The Writing of Fiction (London: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925), p. 37.Google Scholar
  12. 23.
    Wharton, Edith The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1973), p. 2.Google Scholar
  13. 25.
    Wharton, Edith A Backward Glance (New York: 1934; rpt. London: Constable & Co., 1972), p. 207.Google Scholar
  14. 29.
    Seyersted, Per & Emily Toth (eds) A Kate Chopin Miscellany (Nachitoches: Northwestern State University Press, 1979), pp. 120–1.Google Scholar
  15. 33.
    Berthoff, Warner American Trajectories: Authors and Readings 1790–1970 (University Park: Penn State Press, 1994), p. 70.Google Scholar
  16. 34.
    See Helen Taylor’s discussion of local color and its contingencies in her book, Gender, Race and Region in the Writings of Grace King, Ruth McEnery Stuart and Kate Chopin (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989), pp. 15–22.Google Scholar
  17. 38.
    Jones, Anne Goodwyn Tomorrow is Another Day: The Woman Writer in the South, 1859–1936, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981), p. 153.Google Scholar
  18. See also Ryu, Chung-Eun ‘The Negro as a Serious Subject in Kate Chopin’s Fiction’, English Language and Literature, Vol. 36, (4), 1990, pp. 659–78 for a discussion of the differences in relations between black and white in Chopin’s Louisiana as compared to other Southern States and how these differences are reflected in the fiction.Google Scholar
  19. 53.
    Bell, Michael Davitt The Problem of American Realism: Studies in the Cultural History of a Literary Idea (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), p. 171.Google Scholar
  20. 54.
    Hill, Mary A. The Journey from Within: The Love Letters of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 1897–1900, (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1995), p. 196.Google Scholar
  21. 58.
    Cranny-Francis, Anne Feminist Fiction: Feminist Uses of Generic Fiction (London: Polity Press, 1990), p. 6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Janet Beer 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet Beer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishRoehampton InstituteLondonUK

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