Review by Choice Review
For this useful volume, Beer (Oxford Brookes Univ., UK) assembled 11 essays by prominent scholars, among them Donna Campbell, Bernard Koloski, Ann Heilmann, and Emily Toth. Although to date the majority of critical attention on Chopin (1850-1904) has focused on The Awakening (1899), the contributors to this collection stretch conventional boundaries and take the scholarship on Chopin in a fresh direction. Campbell reappraises the social message embedded in Chopin's much-derided novel At Fault (1890) and makes a compelling case for its merits; Pamela Knights explores Chopin's engagement in the literary marketplace through her fictional depiction of children; Susan Castillo examines race and ethnicity in Chopin's regional tales. Other essays assess the transatlantic contexts of Chopin's work; the relationship between Chopin and postcolonial New Orleans; the reading of Chopin through the lens of French literary theory; and Maupassant's influence on Chopin during the dawning of modernity. The collection is bookended by Toth's delightful biographical essay and Koloski's retrospective study of Chopin's critical reception during the 100 years since the publication of The Awakening. The absence of illustrations is regrettable, but a user-friendly index is a plus. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. D. D. Knight SUNY College at Cortland
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