Cover image for Stories, novels, & essays
Stories, novels, & essays
Chesnutt, Charles W. (Charles Waddell), 1858-1932.
Uniform Title:
Works. Selections. 2001
Publication Information:
New York : Library of America : Distributed to the trade in the U.S. by Penguin Putnam, [2002]

Physical Description:
x, 939 pages ; 21 cm.
The conjure woman -- The wife of his youth and other stories of the color line -- The house behind the cedars -- The marrow of tradition -- Uncollected stories -- Selected essays.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS1292.C6 A6 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Rejecting his era's genteel hypocrisy about miscegenation, lynching, and "passing," Charles W. Chesnutt broke new ground in American literature with his innovative explorations of racial identity and use of African-American speech and folklore. Chesnutt exposed the deformed logic of the Jim Crow system-creating, in the process, the modern African-American novel. Here is the best of Chesnutt's fiction and nonfiction in the largest and most comprehensive edition ever published, featuring a newly researched chronology of the writer's life.

The Conjure Woman (1899) introduced Chesnutt to the public as a writer of "conjure" tales, stories that explore black folklore and supernaturalism. That same year, he published The Wife of His Youth , and Other Stories of the Color Line , stories set in Chesnutt's native North Carolina that dramatize the legacies of slavery and Reconstruction at the turn of the century. His first novel, The House Behind the Cedars (1900), is a study of racial passing. The Marrow of Tradition (1901), Chesnutt's masterpiece, is a powerful and bitter novel about the harsh reassertion of white dominance in a southern town at the end of the Reconstruction era.

Nine uncollected short stories round out the volume's fiction, including conjure tales omitted from The Conjure Woman and two stories that are unavailable in any other edition. Eight essays highlight his prescient views on the paradoxes of race relations in America and the definition of race itself.

Author Notes

Charles Waddell Chesnutt (1858-1932) was America's first great black novelist, the author of such groundbreaking works as The Conjure Woman , The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories of the Color-Line , and The House Behind the Cedars .

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Chesnutt is credited with being the first author to develop African American characters in stories and novels of literary worth, through the use of authentic speech and folklore. This volume collects his best-known works, including a few nonfiction pieces (he was a reporter before taking up fiction). It also sports the first chronology of his life. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

The Goophered Grapevinep. 5
Po' Sandyp. 19
Mars Jeems's Nightmarep. 30
The Conjurer's Revengep. 46
Sis' Becky's Pickaninnyp. 58
The Gray Wolf's Ha'ntp. 70
Hot-Foot Hannibalp. 83