Kate Chopin's classic novel about a modern woman who desires to break free from tradition endures, in part, due to its critical and thought-provoking themes about society. While many editions of Kate Chopin's classic novel are in print, only The Historian's Awakening deals exclusively with the 19th-century social and cultural environment from which the novel emerged. In The Awakening, Kate Chopin portrays a modern woman who seeks autonomy, subjected to intense social and cultural conventions that first draw her out of her lifelong solitude but ultimately leave her feeling even more alone. This newly annotated edition focuses on how 19th-century ideas about class, gender, ethnicity, and modernity affect a courageous woman's life. Challenging prevailing scholarship by situating the novel within a rich historical context, it examines the social and cultural realities of the 1890s and explains how, in the novel, these forces combine with an emerging modernity to liberate and unsettle its female protagonist.