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Story Time for Grown-Ups: "The Story of An Hour" by Kate Chopin


Listen to: "The Story of An Hour"

Download: Audio (4 MB MP3, 8 min 13 sec)

Read by Lois Moore

Kate Chopin

“Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death” in a railway accident. The widow’s response was unexpected.

This story was written in April 1894 and was first published in the December 6, 1894 issue of Vogue as “The Dream of an Hour.” The full text of the story is available online.

Kate Chopin (1850-1904), born Catherine O'Flaherty, was an American author, from St. Louis, Missouri. When she married in 1870, she moved to New Orleans and later to Natchitoches Parish in northwestern Louisiana. After her husband died in 1882, she and her six children moved back to St. Louis. At her physician's suggestion to combat depression, she began writing short stories, primarily set in Creole Louisiana. Her writing was influenced by French short story writer Guy de Maupassant’s style of literary realism.

After her death, Chopin was recognized as a leading writer of her time. Her stories were woman-centered, and she addressed topics that other writers of that time avoided, such as adultery in her extremely controversial second novel, The Awakening, published in 1899. Although it was never a banned book, it was censored.

In 1969, Per Seyersted wrote Kate Chopin: A Critical Biography and also edited a collection of her complete works in one volume. This led to renewed interest in the 1970s in Chopin and the proto-feminist sensibilities in her writing. The most influential recent biography is Unveiling Kate Chopin (1998), written by Emily Toth. In 1999, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) aired a program called Kate Chopin: A Re-Awakening, focusing on her life and works.

For a fuller biography of Kate Chopin and links to more of her stories, go to the Kate Chopin International Society website.

Many of Kate Chopin's stories are available at NYPL in print, audiobooks, e-books, and e-audiobooks.

Want to listen to more stories? Attend a live short story reading by joining me at Story Time for Grown-Ups at Mid-Manhattan Library. Check our calendar for upcoming Story Time dates.

Find audiobook short story collections in the NYPL catalog.

Download eAudiobooks from the eNYPL Overdrive collection.

Looking for short stories to read? There's a wide variety listed in the NYPL catalog.


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Interesting story and

Interesting story and beautifully read by Lois Moore. I would definitely listen to more of her stories.

Glad you liked it!

Thanks, Wilsa. I plan on recording more very soon. Check out The Lady or The Tiger? It's a little longer but I think you'll like it.

I love stories with a twist

I love stories with a twist at the end! Can't wait to hear more.

Surprise endings are my favorite!

My regular Story Time attendees know how much I like unexpected endings. I'm thinking I need to record a couple of O. Henry stories soon.

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