How She Rates Among the Greats
NARRATOR: Kate Chopin was an author in a field with many authors. It will be up to scholars, teachers and students to decide whether Chopin's writing is worthy of their time for decades and centuries to come.
SOUNDBITE: E. F. Genovese/Emory University
I think she may last better than Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Welty and Flannery O'Connor are a little more difficult. They are both very good. I put her in, probably in a league with them as the leading southern women writers of the 19th and 20th century, notch below Faulkner, in part because of volume, in part because of range of subject matter.
SOUNDBITE: Barbara Ewell/Loyola University (New Orleans)
Chopin's prose is unusual for the period. It's very impressionistic. It's very clear. It doesn't linger over scenes, and yet, it, it doesn't fail to give us very vivid images of the context of her characters, of the surroundings of her characters. But, it never lets those surroundings overtake the character. It's always her. It's always the individual, the self that she's trying to explore.
SOUNDBITE: Thomas Bonner/Xavier University of Louisiana
I think that she belongs to the group of writers of realism and naturalism of the 1890s in American literature, Crane, Garland, Norris, Dreiser. She competes favorably with the power of women writers like Willa Cather, Sarah Orne Jewett for example. Her works have more of a forward-looking stance than a backward looking stance. In brief, Kate Chopin is a major writer.