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The following resources are texts, contexts and web sites used in an online centennial literary class. The last entries are some research tools we considered helpful in shedding light on turn of the century literature, as well as on Edna's perspective as a woman in Southern Louisiana. We have rated them according to importance in their contribution to our understanding of the changing roles of southern women in a time of urbanization, reconstruction, class distinctions, gender struggles and race relations.

We hope you will find them rewarding in your search of turn of the century history and literature and particularly, how it all relates to Edna. 

We have used the following rating system to evaluate some of the resources below.

* good   ** insightful    *** illuminating    **** a must read



DuBois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk. Mineola, New York: Dover, 1994.

Comment: An important resource in the literature of black protest. This collection of essays reflects the polarization of black leaders into two groups. A landmark in documenting the struggle for civil rights in America. And establishes the color line with clarity and criticism.

Veblen, Thorstein. The Theory of the Leisure Class. Mineola, New York: Dover, 1994.

Comment: This book is an examination of the class distinctions in culture at the end of the nineteenth century America. Veblen provides an insightful account of the materialistic culture that developed during this era and issues a social critique on how that development influences society and economics in our time.


Chesnutt, Charles W. Collected Stories of Charles W. Chesnutt. New York: Mentor, 1992.

Comments: A series of short stories by a sly ex-slave named Uncle Julius, probing psychological depths in black people unheard of in local color writing. Chesnutt takes the stereotypical slave and remakes him into an artful storyteller with a new spin on the moral wisdom he imparts to the reader.

Chopin, Kate. The Awakening and Selected Stories of Kate Chopin. New York: Penguin, 1976.

Comments: This little book contains a whole series of local color stories with an array of interesting characters set in south Louisiana. Chopin uses Creole dialogue and the predicaments of distinctly different women to cleverly draw the reader into the culture of south Louisiana with moral, economic, class, race and gender implications that rivet the reader to this series of short stories.

Culley, Margo. The Awakening Kate Chopin. New York: W.W Norton, 1994.

Comment: A wonderful resource for biographical and historical contexts and criticism, illuminating the era beautifully, adding dimension to Chopin's writing.

Norris, Frank, McTeague. New York: Signet, 1964.

Comment: A disturbing story of immigrants obsessed with gold and wealth, realistically portrayed in a too-close glimpse of their shabby existence and ultimate destruction in turn of the century San Francisco.



Lagniappe means a little something extra for your research edification. These are some sources students found helpful in doing research for our class projects.

Barker, Deborah E. The Awakening of Female Artistry. In Lynda S. Boren & Sara deSaussure Davis (Eds.), Kate Chopin Reconsidered: Beyond the Bayou. Baton Rouge: Louisiana, 1992. (61-79) ***

Comment: This is an intriguing exploration of the artistic development of Edna Pontellier. Indeed most of the accompanying entries in the compilation in which it is to be found are both useful and engaging.

Bradford, James C. Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War and its Aftermath. Annapolis: Naval Institute P, 1993. **

Comment: This is a collection of essays by some of the nation's top naval and military historians.  According to Bradford, for the first time examination is given to the actions of America's naval, military, and diplomatic communities during war.  These actions led to victory against Spain, the U.S. domination of the Philippines, and transformation of the United States into a world power.

Reflechir: les images des prairies tremblantes. Cut Off, LA: The Cheniere Hurricane Centennial, 1994. ***

Comment: This reference book was found in the Louisiana History section of the New Orleans Public Library. I really enjoyed it because it is full of photographs from Cheniere Caminada during the time period of The Awakening.

Curole, Windell. Cheniere Caminada Remembered. Cut Off, LA: Centennial Committee, 1994. VHS ***

Comment: This video reference was fun to watch because it helped me to appreciate the local culture of Cheniere Caminada and at the same time helped me to understand the complete devastation of Cheniere through the very real first hand account of a now deceased survivor of that great hurricane.

Dearborn, Mary V. Pocahontas's Daughters: Gender and Ethnicity in American Culture.  New York: Oxford UP, 1986. ****

Comment: According to Dearborn, certain themes pervade America's female ethnic literary tradition and culture.  This book looks at American women's fiction in terms of gender and ethnicity, important to the understanding of American culture.  An in-depth synopsis is presented of American women's writings from the late 19th century to contemporary times.  Dearborn offers a significant redefinition of ethnic theory as an important contribution to both ethnic and women's studies.

Eble, Kenneth. "A Forgotten Novel: Kate Chopin's The Awakening". Western Humanities Review: 10: (1956): ***

Comment: This favorable review of The Awakening written in 1956 recognizes what is so evident - the novel is ahead of its time. Eble explores Chopin's ability to capture character, to impart the exact gesture, and her use of images and symbols to unify structure in the novel. This review will be most helpful in seeing through an obviously well written book and into the special quality of its author, Kate Chopin.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson. New York: Book Club Associates {n.d.}. ***

Comment: This book is an all-in-one excellent source for Emerson's insights into life, politics and introspection. One read through this book would provide a clear view into the world of humanity as Emerson saw it.

Green, Elna C. Southern Strategies. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1987.**

Comment: A comprehensive study of the woman suffrage movement in the South, emphasizing the historic, economic and class factors that influenced the movement in the second half of the 19th century until the ratification of the nineteenth amendment.  Good research, but not a particularly enjoyable read.

Griffith, Elisabeth. In Her Own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. New York: Oxford, 1984.***

Comment: Very informative and insightful look at the life of an extraordinary new woman of the 19th century, a true pioneer of the female spirit.  I hope to read it again this summer.

Knight, James W. and Callahan, Joan C., Preventing Birth: Contemporary Methods and Related Moral Controversies. Salt Lake City: U Utah P, 1989.**

Comment: The text concerns the history and development of contraception from the 1800’s to the present; it discusses physical methods and the social stigmas attached to them.

Levitt, Judith Walzer, Brought to Bed: Childbearing in America, 1750 to 1950. New York: Oxford UP, 1989. ***

Comment: The text follows the history of obstetrics in the United States and Europe, including quotes from period physicians and accounts of childbirth.

Linderman, Gerald F. The Mirror of War: American Society and the Spanish-American War.  Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1974. **

Comment: The Spanish-American war was conceived as the triumph of moral judgment and as a rejection of those whom Americans felt had most seriously damaged the governing consensus of twenty-five years.  According to Linderman, the forces creating war were more expressions of a disappearing nineteenth century social structure and less the initial declaration of twentieth century capitalism.  This book is a compilation of six essays that explore the social consensus and attempts to scrutinize nineteenth-century American society caught by war at a time of special tensions.

McMillen, Sally G. Motherhood in the Old South. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1990.

Comment: The text focuses on motherhood and the expectations of nineteenth century women as caregivers. It does not include quotations or statistical information.*

Pitre, Loulan Joseph. Cheniere Caminada Avant L'Ouragan: Culture in a Nineteenth Century Cajun Community. Cambridge, MA: Cote Blanche P, 1983.

Comment: This reference, also found in the Louisiana History section of the New Orleans Public Library, is a dissertation done by a student from Harvard. The information was remarkably interesting and was for the most part full of information taken from the U. S. Census of 1880.

Riis, Jacob. (1995;1890). How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York.
http://www.cis.yale.edu/amstud/inforev/riis/title.html (1999, April 4). ****

Comment: This is a Hypertext edition of Riis' most acclaimed work. It is complete and conscientiously presented in as authentic a manner as possible. The original woodcut illustrations, arguably the most important part of the work, are included.

Wheeler, Majorie Spruill. New Women of the New South. New York: Oxford, 1973.****

Comment: This book was chock full of women who led the woman suffrage movement in the South.  Wheeler is tremendously knowledgeable about the history of the South and the women’s movement in both the North and the South.  However, it is her essays about the women themselves that makes this book an invaluable resource.

Wilson, Edmond. Novelists of the Post-War South: Albion W. Tourgis, George W. Cable, Kate Chopin, Thomas Nelson Page. New York: Oxford, 1963.***

Comment: Edmond Wilson provides easy-to-read summaries of the major works by the authors in his book's title, followed by critical review. It's obvious that Wilson chose authors of his liking because each has a favorable review.


Comment: This web site gives the historical context of Kate Chopin's writings. It gives a short introduction about Chopin's early life and then expresses her viewpoints on her own ideas about her writings.


Comment: This web site will provide Chopin's depictions of culture in New Orleans and of women's struggles for freedom.


Comment: This web site will give you the meaning of "Creole" from the Encyclopedia of Cajun Culture's point of view. It gives a small history on how the Creole culture started.


Comment: Bingo - this is an amazing site called 19th Century America Literary & Cultural Links to the Web. There are numerous, easy to navigate links with expert information about women's issues, racism, etc. The site provides three options: frames, no frames and text only. Almost all the links are edited by university or government sources. They include a brief statement about why the site was created and a description of the resources they suggest. Professors or librarians lend credibility to the information provided within the many links, authoring most of them. The sources are reliable and the Rutger's library is an astoundingly easy resource to manipulate and to search for specific information. ****


Comment: A University of New Orleans web site providing stills from the movie as well as actual movie clips (without having to download a plug-in). It takes a while to download - but if you don't have access to the movie in its entirety, it's a glimpse into pertinent scenes. ***


Copyright (c) 1999; all rights reserved.

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