In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Director MaryKatherine Callaway writes about The Complete Works of Kate Chopin.
Academic publishers often focus their lists on new scholarship in various fields, bringing into print contributions that offer fresh research, assert a different argument, or ground those findings within a broader context.
Occasionally, however, we also have the opportunity to issue a book containing older work, important writing by authors who for various reasons have dropped out of print and off the syllabus.
One such book is THE COMPLETE WORKS OF KATE CHOPIN, edited by the late Per Seyersted, a professor at the University of Oslo. He succeeded in gathering together all of Chopin’s previously unpublished and published works. Kate Chopin, born in 1850, often used Louisiana as the setting for her work, and she wrote prolifically—some would say frantically—to support herself and her six children after the untimely death of her husband.
First published by LSU Press in the Fall of 1969 in two hardcover volumes with a foreword by the renowned literary critic Edmund Wilson, these 1024 pages contain all of Chopin’s writing: 96 short stories, 20 poems, several essays, and two novels, some in print for the first time.
Seyersted added an appendix with a wealth of invaluable information, including the publication dates, where the works were published, and notes on the changes Chopin made at various stages.
Publication of this edition played a large part in reigniting interest in Chopin’s writing, and today she is one of a handful of nineteenth century American women writers taught and read worldwide.
The Press later combined the two volumes into one hardcover volume, published a paperback edition in 2006, and an ebook in 2012.
We are proud to think of the many thousands of scholars, students, and general readers who have enjoyed Kate Chopin’s writing because they opened this book.
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