Bonner ...provides a compendium of information, helpful to the undergraduate as well as to the scholar; a chronology of Chopin's life; nine translations by Chopin herself of French short stories, eight of which are by Guy de Maupassant, a major literary influence (five of these published here for the first time); period maps of Missouri, Louisiana, and New Orleans, and a 13-page bibliographic essay on primary and secondary sources, which is thorough and organized for easy reference. The bulk of the book is devoted to a 'Dictionary of Characters, Places, Titles, Terms, and People from the Life and Works of Kate Chopin.' The 'Dictionary' will be especially helpful to those readers ...who are unfamiliar with the Cajun and Creole terms--e.g., lagniappe, jambalaya--appearing in Chopin's fiction, or with the many references to French Catholicism made by her characters...Overall, this volume is a valuable tool for both the novice and experienced Chopin reader, and is highly recommended. Choice Recent years have witnessed a major rebirth of interest in the works of Kate Chopin, author of two novels and nearly 100 short stories.
The current volume makes an important contribution to the study of Chopin's work by providing a dictionary of characters, places, plot briefs, poem briefs, biographical items, and selected terms; period maps of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Missouri; and a bibliographic essay on primary and secondary sources. Also featured are Chopin's translations of eight Guy de Maupassant stories, five of which appear here in print for the first time, and one story by Adrien Vely. The dictionary delineates the characters and places in Chopin's fiction, many of which reappear as major and minor elements throughout her work. Of particular significance are the many unnamed characters who contribute to the development of recurring social themes. The maps of relevant areas in Louisiana and Missouri will help make the connections between character and place, story, and setting more concrete. The bibliographic essay covers editions, manuscripts, and letters in the primary sources section. Biography and criticism, including general appraisals and those addressed to special topics or particular works, are included in the secondary sources section.
The aim throughout is to resolve basic questions and confusions that persist regarding Chopin's work so that the reader can concentrate more productively--and more enjoyably--on the issues of form, theme, and influence that dominate her fiction.