An icon of nineteenth-century American fiction, Charles W. Chesnutt, an incisive storyteller of the aftermath of slavery in the South, is widely credited with almost single-handedly inaugurating the African American short story tradition and was the first African American novelist to achieve national critical acclaim. This major addition to Penguin Classics features an ideal sampling of his work: twelve short stories (including conjure tales and protest fiction), three essays, and the novel The Marrow of Tradition. Published here for the 150th anniversary of Chesnutt's birth, The Portable Charles W. Chesnutt will bring to a new audience the genius of a man whose legacy underlies key trends in modern black fiction.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
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About the Author
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Africana Studies at Cornell University, and also tenured at Yale, Duke, and Harvard, where he was appointed W.E.B. DuBois professor of humanities in 1991. Professor Gates is the author of Figures in Black: Words, Signs, and the Racial Self, Wonders of the African World, The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man, Loose Cannons: Notes on the Culture Wars, and Colored People: A Memoir. With Cornel West, he co-wrote The African American Century: How Black Americans Have Shaped Our Country and The Future of the Race. He is also the editor of the critically-acclaimed edition of Our Nig, an annotated reprint of Harriet E. Wilson’s 1859 novel, The Slave’s Narrative (with the late Charles T. Davis), Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience, Six Women’s Slave Narratives, and In the House of Oshugbo: Critical Essays on Wole Soyinka. He is a recipient of the MacArthur Prize.
Table of ContentsThe Portable Charles W. ChesnuttGeneral Introduction Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Introduction William L. Andrews
Suggestions for Further Reading
A Note on the Texts
The Portable Charles W. Chesnutt
I. Short Stories
The Goophered Grapevine
Mars Jeems's Nightmare
Sis' Becky's Pickaninny
The Wife of His Youth
The Sheriff's Children
A Matter of Principle
The Passing of Grandison
Uncle Wellington's Wives
The Web of Circumstance
The Marrow of Tradition
What Is a White Man?
The Disfranchisement of the Negro