This LPB production revisits the life and work of renowned nineteenth-century Louisiana author Kate Chopin. She is best known for her work The Awakening, the story of a woman's self-realization that shocked the Victorian establishment. Actress Kelly McGillis (Witness) narrates the documentary and actress JoBeth Williams (The Big Chill) reads passages from Chopin's fiction.
Her early stories were well-received nationally and earned her literary fame as a "local colorist," even appearing in the first issue of Vogue. However, her career was devastated when The Awakening was published in 1899. It drew a storm of criticism for its "shocking, morbid, and vulgar" story and quickly went out of print. The novel was not resurrected until the 1950s, when its importance was recognized by participants in the growing women's movement. Today The Awakening is among the five most-read American novels in colleges and universities and is considered an early example of American realism.
National and international authorities on Chopin and Southern literature and culture contributed to this program, including Dr. Emily Toth of Louisiana State University; Elizabeth Fox-Genovese of Emory University; Barbara Ewell of Loyola University, New Orleans; R.W.B. Lewis of Yale University; Peggy Prenshaw of Louisiana State University; and Dr. Jean Bardot of France.
Kate Chopin: A Re-Awakening was produced by Tika Laudun and Lucille McDowell and directed by Tika Laudun, based on a script by Anna Reid Jhirad. The program was photographed by Rex Fortenberry and edited by Randy Ward, with digital restoration and effects by Steve Mitchum. Funding was provided in part by grants from the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
[ Electronic Library | Additional Resources | Credits ]