Charles W. Chesnutt and the fictions of race / Dean McWilliams.

By: McWilliams, DeanMaterial type: TextTextPublisher: Athens : University of Georgia Press, c2002Description: xii, 261 p. ; 24 cmISBN: 0820324353; 9780820324357Subject(s): Chesnutt, Charles W. (Charles Waddell), 1858-1932 -- Criticism and interpretation | African Americans -- Race identity | Identity (Psychology) in literature | African Americans in literature | Group identity in literature | Race in literatureDDC classification: 813/.4 LOC classification: PS1292.C6 | Z77 2002
Contents:
Preface -- Chesnutt's Language / Language's Chesnutt -- Chesnutt in His Journals: "Nigger" under Erasure -- "The Future American" and "Chas. Chesnutt" -- Black Vernacular in Chesnutt's Short Fiction: "A New School of Literature" -- The Julius and John Stories: "The Luscious Scuppernong" -- Race in Chesnutt's Short Fiction: The "Line" and the "Web" -- Mandy Oxendine: "Is You a Rale Black Man?" -- The House behind the Cedars: "Creatures of Our Creation" -- The Marrow of Tradition: "The Very Breath of His Nostrils" -- The Colonel's Dream: "Sho Would 'a' Be'n a 'Ristocrat" -- Paul Marchand, F.M.C.: "F.M.C." and "C.W.C." -- The Quarry: "And Not the Hawk" -- Notes Bibliography Index.
Review: "Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932) was the first African American writer of fiction to win the attention and approval of America's literary establishment. Looking anew at Chesnutt's public and private writings, his fiction and nonfiction, and his well-known and recently rediscovered works, Dean McWilliams explores Chesnutt's distinctive contribution to American culture: how his stories and novels challenge our dominant cultural narratives - particularly their underlying assumptions about race." "The published canon of Chesnutt's work has doubled in the last decade: three novels completed but unpublished in Chesnutt's life have appeared, as have scholarly editions of Chesnutt's journals, his letters, and his essays. This book is the first to offer chapter-length analyses of each of Chesnutt's six novels. It also devotes three chapters to his short fiction. Previous critics have read Chesnutt's nonfiction as biographical background for his fiction. McWilliams is the first to analyze these nonfiction texts as complex verbal artifacts embodying many of the same tensions and ambiguities found in Chesnutt's stories and novels. The book includes separate chapters on Chesnutt's journal and on his important essay "The Future American." Moreover, Charles W. Chesnutt and the Fictions of Race approaches Chesnutt's writings from the perspective of recent literary theory. To a greater extent than any previous study of Chesnutt, it explores the way his texts interrogate and deconstruct the language and the intellectual constructs we use to organize reality."--BOOK JACKET.
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Includes bibliographical references (p. [247]-254) and index.

Preface -- Chesnutt's Language / Language's Chesnutt -- Chesnutt in His Journals: "Nigger" under Erasure -- "The Future American" and "Chas. Chesnutt" -- Black Vernacular in Chesnutt's Short Fiction: "A New School of Literature" -- The Julius and John Stories: "The Luscious Scuppernong" -- Race in Chesnutt's Short Fiction: The "Line" and the "Web" -- Mandy Oxendine: "Is You a Rale Black Man?" -- The House behind the Cedars: "Creatures of Our Creation" -- The Marrow of Tradition: "The Very Breath of His Nostrils" -- The Colonel's Dream: "Sho Would 'a' Be'n a 'Ristocrat" -- Paul Marchand, F.M.C.: "F.M.C." and "C.W.C." -- The Quarry: "And Not the Hawk" -- Notes Bibliography Index.

"Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932) was the first African American writer of fiction to win the attention and approval of America's literary establishment. Looking anew at Chesnutt's public and private writings, his fiction and nonfiction, and his well-known and recently rediscovered works, Dean McWilliams explores Chesnutt's distinctive contribution to American culture: how his stories and novels challenge our dominant cultural narratives - particularly their underlying assumptions about race." "The published canon of Chesnutt's work has doubled in the last decade: three novels completed but unpublished in Chesnutt's life have appeared, as have scholarly editions of Chesnutt's journals, his letters, and his essays. This book is the first to offer chapter-length analyses of each of Chesnutt's six novels. It also devotes three chapters to his short fiction. Previous critics have read Chesnutt's nonfiction as biographical background for his fiction. McWilliams is the first to analyze these nonfiction texts as complex verbal artifacts embodying many of the same tensions and ambiguities found in Chesnutt's stories and novels. The book includes separate chapters on Chesnutt's journal and on his important essay "The Future American." Moreover, Charles W. Chesnutt and the Fictions of Race approaches Chesnutt's writings from the perspective of recent literary theory. To a greater extent than any previous study of Chesnutt, it explores the way his texts interrogate and deconstruct the language and the intellectual constructs we use to organize reality."--BOOK JACKET.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

In the past five years, dozens of critical articles about Chesnutt's works have been published, along with Henry Wonham's Charles W. Chesnutt: A Study of the Short Fiction (CH, Sep'98) and Charles Duncan's The Absent Man: The Narrative Craft of Charles W. Chesnutt (CH Jul'99). Stating that "Chesnutt's distinctive contribution to American culture resides in the reflections on language embodied in his fictions," McWilliams (Ohio Univ.) initially promises a relatively original study of Chesnutt's supposed linguistic innovations. In each chapter, the author sketches the linguistic and thematic "binary oppositions" regarding race that he sees as evident in all the works that make up Chesnutt's oeuvre, from his private journals of 1878-82 to his unpublished novel The Quarry (completed in 1928), and then examines how the texts address these oppositions. Unfortunately, McWilliams ends up providing what are essentially rather dated "new critical" analyses (how textual "tensions and contradictions" are "resolved") with an occasional touch of deconstruction thrown in. The readings will provide students of Chesnutt with helpful starting points for further investigation, but serious scholars in the field will find little of interest. Summing Up: Optional. General readers and undergraduates. C. Johanningsmeier University of Nebraska at Omaha

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Dean McWilliams is J. Richard Hamilton/Baker and Hostetler Professor of Humanities and professor of English at Ohio University.

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