Resenting the expectation that she was to spend her days making social calls on other women, Chopin began St. Louis' first literary salon, a social gathering one evening a week where both women and men could gather for some intelligent conversation. Through these salons, she fulfilled the social requirement to entertain regularly but did so under her own terms. A benefit of these salons was professional advancement: Publishers and reviewers alike attended Chopin's salons, providing a fertile network for the ambitious Chopin to pursue additional publication opportunities. Chopin published almost 100 short stories, three novels, and one play within twelve years — after she began writing, she pursued it with the same business sense she displayed while running her husband's general store after he died. In her last years, health problems made writing difficult, although many people attributed the
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