Conjure Stories

ISBN-10: 0393927806

ISBN-13: 9780393927801

Edition: 2011

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This Norton Critical Edition of The Conjure Stories arranges the tales chronologically by composition date, allowing readers to discern how Chesnutt experimented with plots and characters and with the idea of the conjure story over time. With one exception, the text of each tale is that of the original publication. (The text of “The Dumb Witness” was established from two typescripts held at the archives of Fisk University.) The stories are accompanied by a thorough and thought-provoking introduction, detailed explanatory annotations, and illustrative materials.“Contexts” presents a wealth of materials chosen by the editors to enrich the reader’s understanding of these canonical stories, including a map of the landscape of the conjure tales, Chesnutt’s journal entry as he began writing fiction of the South, as well as writings by Chesnutt, William Wells Brown, and Paul Laurence Dunbar, among others, on the stories’ central motifs—folklore, superstition, voodoo, race, and social identity in the South following the Civil War.“Criticism” is divided into two parts. “Early Criticism” collects critical notices for The Conjure Woman that suggest the volume’s initial reception, assessments by William Dean Howells and Benjamin Brawley, and a biographical excerpt by the author’s daughter, Helen Chesnutt. “Modern Criticism” demonstrates rich and enduring interest in The Conjure Stories with ten important essays by Robert Hemenway, William L. Andrews, Robert B. Stepto, John Edgar Wideman, Werner Sollors, Houston A. Baker, Eric J. Sundquist, Richard H. Brodhead, Candace J. Waid, and Glenda Carpio.A Chronology of Chesnutt’s life and work and a Selected Bibliography are also included.
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Book details

Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/1/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 384
Size: 5.00" wide x 8.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.012
Language: English

Robert B. Stepto is Professor of English, African American Studies, and American Studies at Yale University. He is the author of A Home Elsewhere: Reading African American Classics in the Age of Obama, Blue as the Lake: A Personal Geography, and From Behind the Veil: A Study of Afro-American Narrative. Among his edited volumes are Chant of Saints: A Gathering of Literature, Art, and Scholarship; Afro-American Literature: The Reconstruction of Instruction; and Harper American Literature.

Jennifer Rae Greeson is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Our South: Geographic Fantasy and the Rise of National Literature and of articles related to various aspects of American literature and culture.

A Note on the Texts
The Texts of the Conjure Stories
The Goophered Grapevine
Po' Sandy
The Conjurer's Revenge
Dave's Neckliss
A Deep Sleeper
Lonesome Ben
The Dumb Witness
A Victim of Heredity; or, Why the Darkey Loves Chicken
The Gray Wolf's Ha'nt
Mars Jeems's Nightmare
Sis' Becky's Pickaninny
Tobe's Tribulations
Hot-Foot Hannibal
The Marked Tree
Sarah Ingle
The Terrain of Chesnutt's Conjure Tales
Charles W. Chesnutt
From His Journal, Spring 1880
[Why could not a colored man . . . write a far better book about the South?]
[I think I must write a book]
William Wells Brown
[Voudooism in Missouri]
The Sad Fate of Mr. Fox Ovid
The Transformation of Daphne into a Laurel
Letters to Albion W. Tourg�e and George Washington Cable
To Tourg�e, Sept. 26, 1889
To Cable, March 29, 1890
To Cable, June 13, 1890
The Deserted Plantation
Superstitions and Folk-lore of the South
The Free Colored People of North Carolina
Adaptation of "The Dumb Witness"
The Negro in Art: How Shall He Be Portrayed?
Early Criticism
Critical Notices of The Conjure Woman
Mr. Charles W. Chesnutt's Stories
[Fiction with a Firm Sense of Art]
Chesnutt and Walter Hines Page
Modern Criticism
[Black Magic, Audience, and Belief]
[A Critique of the Plantation Legend]
[The Cycle of the First Four Stories]
[Julius's Ex-Slave Narrative]
[Reason, Property, and Modern Metamorphoses]
[The Sound of the Conjure Stories]
[Chesnutt's Revision of Uncle Remus]
[Chesnutt's Negotiation with the Dominant Literary Culture]
Conjuring the Conjugal: Chesnutt's Scenes from a Marriage
[Black Humor in the Conjure Stories]
A Chronology
Selected Bibliography
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