About this Recording
NA223812 - Short Stories: Classic Women's Short Stories (Unabridged)



Classic Women’s Short Stories








NA223814 / NA223812




Katherine Mansfield:

The Garden Party

The Daughters of the Late Colonel

Kate Chopin:

Lilacs · Ma’ame Pelagie

Virginia Woolf:

The Mark on the Wall


Five stories from influential women writers from the close of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century are represented in this collection. New Zealand-born, Katherine Mansfield settled in England where she wrote a series of short stories, widely recognized as among the finest of the 20th century for their economy, clarity, sensitivity and effect. The Garden Party is one of her most famous, while The Daughters of the Late Colonel shows how her wonderful sense of wit throws a shadow of poignancy. Kate Chopin, writing in the last years of the 19th century, broke new ground with her daring view of women as individuals with human needs. Lilacs and Ma’ame Pelagie are sympathetic portraits of women with differing dilemmas. Virginia Woolf’s The Mark on the Wall illustrates, in short story form, the turmoil within the stillness, which became such a mark of her later novels.



KATE CHOPIN (1850-1904) was born Katherine O’Flaherty in St. Louis, Missouri. At the age of 20, she married a Creole, Oscar Chopin, and went to live in Louisiana – first in New Orleans and then in Cloutierville. When in 1882 her husband died of swamp fever, Kate Chopin was left with five sons and a daughter. After a few years, she moved back to St. Louis and started writing short stories, making a living with her pen.


Her distinctive, iconoclastic eye saw the role and the plight of women in Louisiana society with a clarity unrecorded in fiction before. Chopin recognized the emotional and sexual needs of women, at a time when such subjects were largely concealed beneath propriety.


Influenced by the French master of the short story, Guy de Maupassant, she wrote her first novel, At Fault, which was published in 1890. A succession of short stories followed – eventually she was to write over 100 – almost all set in the formal, restricted but passionate society she encountered during her married life in Louisiana. Collections were published, including Bayou Folk (1894) and Acadie (1897), and she contributed regularly to magazines and periodicals including Harper’s and Vogue.


In 1899, she published The Awakening, the novel for which she has been principally remembered. Often described as a Creole Madame Bovary, its account of a woman searching for herself is both vivid and evocative, and was immediately criticized for its candid attitude towards unconventional morality.


These qualities can be found in the two stories in this collection. Ma’ame Pelagie perfectly sets the context of lives in the South 30 years after the Civil War. The very nature of the South was broken by conflict and even during Chopin’s time it had not recovered. The poignancy of the plight of Ma’ame Pelagie is very real.


Lilacs is one of her most famous stories. Set in Paris, it once again presents a controversial subject and questions, without moralizing, where hypocrisy really lies. For Kate Chopin, there is no simple answer, no clear division between the good and the bad. We are just human beings, living and working in a society we created, she says.


Chopin died in 1904, and her work was largely forgotten until a strong revival of interest in the 1950s and 1960s allowed her to take her earned place in American literature.


The stories of KATHERINE MANSFIELD, born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1888, are often cited with those of Anton Chekhov, as masterpieces of the genre. They are perfect miniatures, minutely crafted, yet with a distinctive simplicity of style and presentation.


Mansfield came to England to finish her education, returned to New Zealand, but in 1908 was back in London, clear in her mind that she would follow a writer’s career.


Her first husband, George Bowden, persuaded her to approach The New Age with her early stories, and it supported her throughout her short life. In 1911 she met John Middleton Murry, an association that was to lead to a secure and intimate relationship. They married in 1918.


Despite suffering from tuberculosis, she wrote steadily, poetry as well as prose. The Garden Party and Other Stories was published in 1922 and has remained her most popular collection.


The Garden Party is a gem. A summer party is being held in the established environment of the comfortable English society. The young things are learning to prepare and host it themselves – perpetuating customs. But this is post-First World War, and a new, more human, consciousness is emerging which questions the whole issue of class structure. Laura is faced with a dilemma and we feel that she will never quite be the same again.


In The Daughters of the Late Colonel, Mansfield looks acutely at lives caught in a time warp. Two ageing sisters come to terms with the death of their elderly father, and the implications for change in their own lives. The author’s rich sense of humor positions this tale on a wonderfully light level – yet in masterly fashion never conceals the tragedy within.


The Mark on the Wall is, technically, the most advanced of these stories. Here, VIRGINIA WOOLF (1882-1941) uses a small point of reference to work with the concept of the stream of consciousness – the seemingly unordered, wayward succession of thoughts, which emerge in the forefront of the mind.


Though best known for her major novels including Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), The Waves (1931), and Orlando (1938), she also wrote short stories where she could experiment with styles and concepts.


Woolf periodically suffered from mental illness and committed suicide in 1941.


Notes by Nicolas Soames





CAROLE BOYD trained at the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama where she won the principal national prize for voice, the Carleton Hobbs Award, and immediately joined the BBC Radio Drama Company. Vocal versatility is her specialty, from her creation of the notorious character of Linda Snell in The Archers to Poetry Please and all the female characters in Postman Pat. She has won prestigious awards for her reading of Roy’s The God of Small Things and Huth’s Landgirls. She has written and recorded her own audiobook, Lynda Snell’s History of Ambridge.


LIZA ROSS has appeared on stage in the West End and in repertoire across Great Britain, including Wings and The Front Stage at the Royal National Theatre. She has made many television appearances including After the War, Poor Little Rich Girl, Two’s Company and The Month of the Doctors. Her film work has included Batman and Shadowchasers. She works extensively as a voice artist and has recorded numerous books for Naxos AudioBooks and others.


TERESA GALLAGHER has performed in many leading roles in both plays and musicals across the Great Britain, London’s West End and off Broadway. In addition, she is a well-known voice to listeners of BBC Radio Drama. Her work on film includes The Misadventures of Margaret and Mike Leigh’s Topsy Turvy.




Lilacs by Kate Chopin

Read by Liza Ross

‘Mme. Adrienne Farival never announced her coming.’


Cassette 2, Side 2  (39:21)

Lilacs (continued)

‘They lingered long upon the foot-bridge...’

‘Yes, Adrienne was at home. Paris had engulfed her.’

‘It was precisely a year later.’


The Mark on the Wall by Virginia Woolf

Read by Teresa Gallagher

‘Perhaps it was the middle of January...’

‘In certain lights that mark on the wall seems actually to project from the wall.’


Total Time on Cassette 2:  1:19:45


Total Time on Cassettes 1-2:  2:42:37




The music on this recording is taken from the NAXOS and MARCO POLO catalogs


OSWALD PIANO MUSIC                                  8.223639

Maria Inês Guimarães, piano


SPOHR STRING QUINTETS                            8.223600

New Haydn Quartet, Attila Falvay, violin


ALKAN PIANO MUSIC                                     8.223284

Laurent Martin, piano


Music programming by Nicolas Soames







By Kate Chopin; Read by Liza Ross

ISBN 9-62634-608-6 / NA210814 (2 Cassettes)

ISBN 9-62634-108-4 / NA210812 (2 CDs)



By Virginia Woolf; Read by Laura Paton

ISBN 9-62634-504-7 / NA200414 (2 Cassettes)

ISBN 9-62634-004-5 / NA200412 (2 CDs)



By Virginia Woolf; Read by Juliet Stevenson

ISBN 9-62634-536-5 / NA203614 (2 Cassettes)

ISBN 9-62634-036-3 / NA203612 (2 CDs)



By Ambrose Bierce, Stephen Crane, Mark Twain, Jack London & O. Henry; Read by William Roberts

ISBN 9-62634-712-0 / NA221214 (2 Cassettes)

ISBN 9-62634-212-9 / NA221212 (2 CDs)


[Let me know if you need add’l cross promos!]





è 2001 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd. © 2001 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd. Made in the U.S.A.

Cover picture: The Tea Party by Jules Cayron by courtesy of Bridgeman Art Library.


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