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(S) Transnational Contexts in the Short Stories of Kate Chopin

In the past few years, the work of Katherine O'Flaherty Chopin has begin to emerge as one of the influential and significant pieces of literature written around the turn of the preceding century.

Born in St.Louis, Missouri, in 1851, Chopin only started writing after the premature death of her husband, Oscar, a cotton factor from New Orleans, Louisiana. With her first short stories, she aimed at the ready market of popular magazines for „local color“ stories, a genre that offered its readers exotic locales. To her Chicago and New York publishers, rural Louisiana certainly represented strange and foreign aspects of daily American life. While her first collections Bayou Folk (1894) and A Night in Acadie (1897) had met with warm receptions, her second novel, The Awakening (1899) was dismissed by most critics as immoral and unhealthy reading material. Chopin's portrayal of a young woman, who felt imprisoned by marriage and motherhood, was shocking to contemporary society and literary critics. Chopin's work began to decline into obscurity even before she died in 1904.

In this seminar, we want to discuss two of Chopin's most well-known short stories, „The Story of an Hour“ (1894) and „A Pair of Silk Stockings“ (1897). Anticipating The Awakening in subject matter and tone, we will focus in our discussion not only on setting, plot, character development and themes, but emphasize in particular the role of wifehood / motherhood as it is presented in the stories. More specifically, are there any historical and sociological differences that can be recognized in the perception of these roles based on
(different) time and place?

Note: If granted, participants of this seminar are invited to share their readings (assessments, thoughts, and impressions) with a wider, international audience in cooperation with a project of the Kate Chopin International Society,

Texts and worksheets will be provided.

Dozentin: Dr. Heidi Podlasli-Labrenz


  • Freitag, 26.03.2021
  • Dienstag, 30.03.2021
  • Mittwoch, 31.03.2021

Zeit: 14:00 (s.t.) bis 15:30 Uhr

Teilnehmerbegrenzung: 20 Personen

Entgelt: 32.- Euro

Veranstaltungsart: Online-Seminarreihe

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