This collection contains all the stories in Chesnutt's two pioneering volumes of short fiction. The Conjure Woman (1899) and The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories of the Color Line (1899). Centered on the world of slavery and the voodoo beliefs and practices that black people in the antebellum South used to help them resist the injustices of their social condition, The Conjure Woman features a new kind of black story teller, Uncle Julius McAdoo, who shrewdly adapts his recollections of the past to secure his economic advantage in the present, sometimes at the expense of his white employer, The Wife of His Youth Probes the moral conflicts and psychological strains experienced by those African Americans who lived closest to the color line in Chesnutt's day. This Penguin Classics edition adds two remarkable previously uncollected work: "Dave's Neckliss" and "Baxter's Procrustes."
William L. Andrews is E. Maynard Adams Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of To Tell a Free Story and editor or coeditor of more than thirty books on African American literature.
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