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Extended Audio Sample The Awakening, by Kate Chopin Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (68,667 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kate Chopin Narrator: Grace Conlin Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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First published in 1899, this revolutionary novel so disturbed critics and the public that it was banished for decades afterward. Now widely read and admired, The Awakening has been hailed as an early vision of woman’s emancipation. Rooted in the romantic tradition of Melville and Dickinson, it is the story of twenty-eight-year-old Edna Pontellier, a surprisingly modern woman trapped in a dehumanizing marriage and in search of self-discovery. Turning away from convention and society toward her primal instincts for passion and freedom, Edna abandons her family to realize herself as an individual. But her quest leads to her destruction by a society that grants no place for those unfulfilled by marriage and motherhood.

Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast, The Awakening is one of the most important novels written by an American woman in the nineteenth century and a landmark work of early feminism.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Exquisite and sensitive…iridescent.”

    Willa Cather 

  • “Beautifully written.”

    Edmund Wilson

  • “Kate Chopin was long before her time in dealing with sexual passion…and the personal emotions of women.”

    New York Review of Books

  • “Interesting and timely…Chopin’s oracular feminism and prophetic psychology almost outweigh her estimable literary talents.”


  • “Chopin shares the boldness in technical experiment and moral relativism of her contemporaries in the 1890s…a writer of considerable sensibility and talent…in her stories she worked for breadth. In height, however, and depth, it is The Awakening that will serve as her passport into our time and posterity.”

    Times Literary Supplement (London)

  • “Her story is a tragedy and one of many clarion calls in its day to examine the institution of marriage and woman’s opportunities in an oppressive world.”

    500 Great Books for Women

  • “[A] poignant spiritual tragedy.”


  • A Wall Street Journal Pick of 5 Novels on the Status of Women

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Beatrice | 2/20/2014

    " I can see how it was considered scandalous when it was first published but it seems pretty tame now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Melissa | 2/20/2014

    " Chick lit 1900s style. I have trouble w/ period pieces b/c I have a poor imagination for life pre-1960s. I just can't imagine a lack of indoor plumbing or heat, for example. So I when this was assigned for a freshman course I was prepared not to like it. I was wrong. So many of Edna's struggles are faced by women today. Very good- I've gone on to read some if Kate Chopin's short stories and they are just as good. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Zofie Vedas | 2/20/2014

    " I'll be honest, I couldn't finish this book. I got to about chapter eleven before I gave up, it was dull and I detested the protagonist. Since it was for class I just read sparknotes, probably didn't miss much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Alex | 2/18/2014

    " Once I understood, I thought this book was beautiful. "

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