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The Conjure Woman by Charles W. Chesnutt. Boston. 1928. Houghton Mifflin. 229 pages. hardcover.

 

conjure woman 1927 no dwFROM THE PUBLISHER - 

 

One of Chesnutt's most important works was THE CONJURE WOMAN (first published in 1899), a collection of stories set in postbellum North Carolina in which Uncle Julius, a freed slave, entertains a white couple from the North with fantastical tales of antebellum plantation life. Julius's tales feature such supernatural elements as haunting, transfiguration, and conjuring that were typical of folk tales. While Julius's tales recall the Uncle Remus tales published by Joel Chandler Harris, they differ in that Uncle Julius' tales offer oblique or coded commentary on the psychological and social impact of slavery and racial inequality. While controversy exists over whether Chesnutt's Uncle Julius stories reaffirmed stereotypical views of African Americans, most critics contend that their allegorical critiques of racial injustice were surely not lost on some readers. Only seven of the Uncle Julius tales were collected in the THE CONJURE WOMAN. Chesnutt wrote a total of fourteen Uncle Julius tales, which were later collected in THE CONJURE WOMAN AND OTHER CONJURE TALES, published in 1993.

 

 

Chesnutt Charles W Charles Waddell Chesnutt (June 20, 1858 – November 17, 1932) was an American author, essayist, political activist and lawyer, best known for his novels and short stories exploring complex issues of racial and social identity in the post-Civil War South. The legacy of slavery and interracial relations had resulted in many free people of color who had attained education before the war, as well as slaves and freedmen of mixed race. Two of his books were adapted as silent films in 1926 and 1927 by the director and producer Oscar Micheaux. Chesnutt also established what became a highly successful legal stenography business, which provided his main income.

 

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