Robert Stone and Kate Chopin

Rereading Robert Stone’s Hollywood novel, Children of Light, thirty-some years after its publication, we were surprised to find a vividly remembered part of the original manuscript missing from the finished book. Had we misremembered? Did we invent a screenplay of Kate Chopin’s famous ur-feminist novel? We went in search of the missing pages and found them in an archive of Stone’s papers. Here we offer the screenplay pages, an accompanying excerpt from Children of Light, the ending of Chopin’s novel, and Stone’s handwritten notes—overall, a rare look into the novelist’s process.

    The Lost Screenplay

    In which the opening of Chopin’s novel is
    set into six movements of a film, the making
    of which is central to the characters in
    Stone’s novel.

    Children of Light

    An excerpt depicting the making of the
    film, starring a famously unstable actress,
    Lu Anne Verger, who will soon have
    an ill-fated reunion with the coked-up
    screenwriter Gordon Walker.

    The Awakening

    The famed last pages of the novel,
    in which Chopin’s heroine, Edna
    Pontellier, walks into the sea and
    the embrace of no beginning
    and no end.

    By Hand

    From Robert Stone’s notebooks for the
    writing of Children of Light and for his
    earlier novel, A Flag for Sunrise.