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The text is that of the first edition of the vel, published by Herbert S. Stone in 1899. It has been antated by the editor and includes translations of French phrases and information about New Orleans locales, customs, and lore, the Bayou region, and Creole culture. Bibliographical and Historical Contexts , expanded and introduced by a new Editor's Note, presents biographical, historical, and cultural documents contemporary with the vel's publication. Included are a biographical essay by the acclaimed Chopin biographer Emily Toth, An Etiquette/Advice Book Sampler with selections from the conduct books of the period in which Chopin lived and wrote, and period fashion plates from Harper's Bazar. A comprehensive Criticism section, introduced by a new Editor's Note, contains expanded selections from hard-to-find contemporary reviews of the vel; two letters of mysterious origin written in response to the vel; and Chopin's Retraction, which followed The Awakening's negative reception. These are followed by twenty-seven interpretive essays, twelve of them new to the Second Edition, that provide a variety of perspectives on The Awakening, including essays by Cynthia Griffin Wolff, Nancy Walker, Elizabeth Fox-Gevese, Paula A. Treichler, Sandra M. Gilbert, Lee R. Edwards, Patricia S. Yaeger, Elizabeth Ammons, and Elaine Showalter. A Chrology of Chopin's life and an updated Selected Bibliography are also included.
Margo Culley is Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is the editor of American Women's Autobiography: Fea(s)ts of Memory and A Day at a Time: Diary Literature of American Women, and co-editor of Women's Personal Narratives: Essays in Criticism and Pedagogy and Gendered Subjects: The Dynamics of Feminist Teaching. She teaches courses in American studies, women's studies, and ethnic studies.