In this Book

Passing in the Works of Charles W. Chesnutt
summary
Passing in the Works of Charles W. Chesnutt is a collection that reevaluates Chesnutt's deft manipulation of the "passing" theme to expand understanding of the author's fiction and nonfiction. Nine contributors apply a variety of theories---including intertextual, signifying/discourse analysis, narratological, formal, psychoanalytical, new historical, reader response, and performative frameworks---to add richness to readings of Chesnutt's works. Together the essays provide convincing evidence that "passing" is an intricate, essential part of Chesnutt's writing, and that it appears in all the genres he wielded: journal entries, speeches, essays, and short and long fiction. The essays engage with each other to display the continuum in Chesnutt's thinking as he began his writing career and established his sense of social activism, as evidenced in his early journal entries. Collectively, the essays follow Chesnutt's works as he proceeded through the Jim Crow era, honing his ability to manipulate his mostly white audience through the astute, though apparently self-effacing, narrator, Uncle Julius, of his popular conjure tales. Chesnutt's ability to subvert audience expectations is equally noticeable in the subtle irony of his short stories. Several of the collection's essays address Chesnutt's novels, including Paul Marchand, F.M.C. Mandy Oxendine The House Behind the Cedars and Evelyn's Husband . The volume opens up new paths of inquiry into a major African American writer's oeuvre.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-xii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. xiii
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  1. Charles W. Chesnutt’s Historical Imagination
  2. pp. 3-8
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  1. Signifying the Other: Chesnutt’s “Methods of Teaching”
  2. pp. 9-22
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  1. On Flags and Fraternities: Lessons in History in Charles Chesnutt’s “Po’ Sandy”
  2. pp. 23-38
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  1. Passing as Narrative and Textual Strategy in Charles Chesnutt’s “The Passing of Grandison”
  2. pp. 39-50
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  1. The Dream of History: Memory and the Unconscious in Charles Chesnutt’s The House behind the Cedars
  2. pp. 51-66
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  1. In the Wake of D. W. Griffith’s: The Birth of a Nation Chesnutt’s Paul Marchand, F.M.C. as Command Performance
  2. pp. 67-83
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  1. Performing Race: Mixed-Race Characters in the Novels of Charles Chesnutt
  2. pp. 84-92
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  1. A Question of Passing or a Question of Conscience: Toward Resolving the Ending of Mandy Oxendine
  2. pp. 93-109
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  1. "They Were All Colored to the Life”: Historicizing “Whiteness” in Evelyn’s Husband
  2. pp. 110-126
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 127-129
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 130-132
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