- When it was published in 1899, charges of sordidness and immorality consigned this classic into initial obscurity and irreparably damaged its author's literary and social reputation.
- Through careful, subtle changes of style, Chopin shows the transformation of Edna Pontellier, a young wife and mother who—with tragic consequences—refuses to be caged by married and domestic life and claims for herself moral and erotic freedom.
- In her introduction, Sandra M. Gilbery considers the issues explored in the novel and stories collected—from their growth out of the feminist literary tradition of the nineteenth century, to their place among other concerns of the fin de siècle writers in America and Europe.
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