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At Fault Paperback – February 15, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1466306912 ISBN-10: 1466306912

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Celebrated for her depictions of life among Louisiana’s Creole and Cajun peoples, Kate Chopin (1850–1904) is today seen as a major figure in southern literature. Her short stories and her last novel, The Awakening (1899), are widely read and studied. Unjustly neglected, however, is her first novel, At Fault, which Chopin published in 1890 at her own expense. This edition of At Fault—the first printing to appear since Chopin’s Complete Works was issued in 1969—now makes the book available to a wide audience.

The novel centers on Therese Lafirme, a widow who owns and runs a plantation in post–Civil War Louisiana. She encounters David Hosmer, who buys timber rights to her property to secure raw materials for his newly constructed sawmill. When David remarries, a love triangle develops between David, Fanny  (his alcoholic wife), and Therese, who tries to balance her strong moral sensibility against her growing love for David. In depicting these relationships, Chopin acutely dramatizes the conflict between growing industrialism and the agrarian traditions of the Old South—as well as the changes to the land and the society that inevitably resulted from that conflict.

Editors Suzanne Disheroon Green and David J. Caudle provide meticulous annotations to the text of At Fault, facilitating the reader’s understanding of the complex and exotic culture and language of nineteenth-century Louisiana. Also included is a substantial body of supporting materials thatcontextualize the novel, ranging from a summary of critical responses to materials illuminating the economic, social, historical, and religious influences on Chopin’s texts.

The Editors: Suzanne Disheroon Green is an assistant professor of English at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. She is the co-author, with David J. Caudle, of Kate Chopin: An Annotated Bibliography of Critical Works, and co-editor with Lisa Abney, of the forthcoming Songs of the New South: Writing Contemporary Louisiana

David J. Caudle, who is completing his doctorate at the University of North Texas, has published essays and book chapters dealing with American literature and linguistic approaches to literature.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

In her own time, the works of Kate Chopin (1851–1904) shocked readers and critics with their challenge to contemporary mores. Her stories and novels reveal unsparing truths about the interior lives of women, some of whom experienced profound disillusionment with the rigid yoke of marriage, combined with an unfulfilled longing for self-realization. Celebrated today as a precursor of twentieth-century feminism, Chopin's fiction is considered to be among the masterpieces of American literature.
True to the writer's intrepid explorations of taboo subjects and resonating with autobiographical elements, At Fault masterfully portrays a complex love triangle amid the tensions of the rural post-Reconstruction South. Thérèse Lafirme is a young Creole widow in love with a divorced St. Louis businessman, David Hosmer. The moral and religious constraints thrust upon Thérèse prevent her acceptance of Hosmer's wedding proposal, setting the two on a treacherous path that involves Hosmer's former wife, Fanny. Originally published in 1890, the novel is marked by the same fearless examination of society and sexuality that distinguish Chopin's later works.
Dover (2007) unabridged republication of the work originally published by the author in 1890, and printed by Nixon-Jones Printing Co., St. Louis. Introductory Note.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 142 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1466306912
  • ISBN-13: 978-1466306912
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,103,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Allison H. on January 9, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
Because I loved The Awakening, I decided to read one of Chopin's lesser-known novels, At Fault, which is set in late nineteenth century Louisiana. This novel deals with many issues, such as religion, divorce, alcoholism, and violence, in a relatively short length of text. The main characters are Therese and David, who meet through business and fall in love. David is a divorced Unitarian, and Therese, a widowed Catholic. Because of David's religion and divorce, Therese declines his eventual marriage proposal, and instead convinces him to return to his estranged ex-wife, Fanny--which proves tragic and disastrous. There are also some tertiary, though equally important characters in the story--Melicent and Gregoir, for one. Like Therese and David, they have a relationship of sorts, but Melicent will not condescend to Gregoir's advances because they are of a different class. What this novel deals quite successfully with, if such can be done, is that in our society (and especially back during the late 19th century) we are often told that we should bridle our passions lest they get the best of us. However, there are just as many consequences, and perhaps many more, for NOT going with our passions and our feelings. In containing our love for others and attempting to conduct life as if such feelings do not exist, is like a form of death and destruction--akin to William Blake's sentiment that "he who desires and acts not breeds pestilence." Once Therese realizes that David's returning to his ex-wife has caused much untold suffering--she has sort of a "Dark Night of the Soul" moment where she asks herself, over and over again, "Was I right? Was I right?" This was indeed the turning point in the novel, where I believe that Therese began to question what she knows, and what she thought she believed about what is "right." I will leave the rest of the story as a mystery for those who wish to not have it spoiled. I highly recommend this short, yet exquisitely written book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Morton on October 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
A lovely, remarkable, resourceful widow running a plantation in Louisiana; her handsome, country-simple, honest, deep-feeling Creole nephew; a divorced businessman who builds a mill on her property; the mill-manager's self-possessed younger sister; his depressed, alcoholic wife, who comes to live with him; an engaging supporting cast of Negro servants and local townspeople; two problematic one-sided love affairs; the murder of an evil young man; the murder of one of the main characters; a disastrous reconciliation; a devastating storm ... These are some of the ingredients of this charming Southern novel which defies easy categorization. In the end, what shines through all the twists and turns of the plot is the inherent, admirable goodness of the two main characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Antonio Yarbro on May 14, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really thought that this was going to be a good book, but I was really let down. Not only was the book not good, but the language in the book made it difficult to follow.
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At Fault + Chronicle of the Narváez Expedition (Norton Critical Editions) + Uncle Tom's Cabin (Dover Thrift Editions)
Price for all three: $28.26

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