Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. v

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

This project would not have gotten off the ground without the generous support of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Utah Valley State College, which provided a reduced teaching load for research and writing during four semesters as well as a summer research grant that facilitated my...

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Introduction: Of Race and Realism

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pp. 1-22

In this book I propose to initiate a new line of discussion about the cultural work done by American literary realism, and about the pressures and possibilities surrounding racial discourse in this nation, by examining the novels of an author whose career neatly matches the period traditionally associated with...

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1. Learning to Be a Realist: Chesnutt’s Northern Novels

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pp. 23-55

One aspect of Charles Chesnutt’s career that makes it especially interesting is his frequent failure. His published writings had enough impact that he was among the most signi¤cant African American writers of the turn of the century; at the same time, his novels were rejected more often than they were...

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2. Time Passing: Chesnutt’s Revisions of the “Tragic Mulatta” Tale

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pp. 56-86

Debates about the “tragic mulatto” or “tragic mulatta” genre of fiction and its uses have centered on its realism, or lack thereof. Sterling Brown, identifying the genre as the source of a pervasive stereotype in his 1937 survey The Negro in American Fiction, pointed out that the genre tends to rely more on...

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3. Simple and Complex Discourse in The Marrow of Tradition

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pp. 87-112

Evidence of Chesnutt’s always tenuous but enduring faith in the power of literature can be found in a 1909 letter he wrote to William M. Brown, a Southern bishop who had the temerity to send him a copy of his white supremacist volume...

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4. The Colonel’s Dream: Reconsidering a Radical Text

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pp. 113-130

As a cultural and economic analysis in literary form, The Colonel’s Dream merits serious study alongside realist and naturalist works by writers like Wharton, Dreiser, and Norris. It also warrants attention as a precursor to calls for African American resistance voiced by writers like Du Bois, Wright, and...

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5. “The Category of Surreptitious Things”: Paul Marchand, F.M.C. and The Quarry

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pp. 131-163

Accounts of Charles W. Chesnutt’s writing career typically have taken the shape of a rather steep bell curve: after an apprenticeship of several years practicing the craft and achieving occasional publication, his stock quickly rose with two successful short-story collections and then, just as quickly, dropped...

Notes

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pp. 165-185

Works Cited

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pp. 187-193

Index

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pp. 195-198