"“The Poet and the Peasant.”..."
See in text (Chapter II)
The Poet and the Peasant is an operetta composed in 1846 by Franz von Suppé, an Austrian composer. He is famous for composing many popular operas during this time, including Boccaccio and Donna Juanita.
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"by going to the “Dante reading” instead of joining them..."
See in text (Chapter XXV)
The “Dante reading” is a powerful allusion, placing The Awakening in the context of the themes of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Dante’s epic poem is the story of a man who undergoes a spiritual awakening at midlife, moving through Hell, Purgatory, and finally Heaven. At the start of The Awakening, Edna finds herself called to embark on a similar journey.
" Venus rising from the foam ..."
See in text (Chapter XXXIX)
This is an allusion to the Roman myth that Venus, the goddess of love, rose out of the sea in a cloud of foam. This version of Venus’ birth story was made popular by a 1480s painting called The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. Mariequita compares Edna to Venus to suggest that she is more beautiful than the goddess of love and beauty herself.