The Conjure Woman

Charles W. Chesnutt
Introduction by Robert M. Farnsworth
First published in 1899, these folk tales within a tale provide commentary on the social attitudes of the period


A bewitched vineyard . . . a man turned into a tree . . . a wandering and haunting gray wolf . . . these are among the mysterious happenings revealed in The Conjure Woman, the first book by the important African-American writer Charles W. Chesnutt. First published in 1899, these folk tales within a tale—revolving around the rural conjuror who mixed potions and cast hexes—also provide a subtle and eloquent commentary on the social attitudes of the period. Chesnutt set about to write something different from the traditional post-Civil War collection of sentimental plantation stories. The public response to these tales was a measure of Chesnutt's artistic success.

The work of Charles W. Chesnutt represents an important landmark in the history of African-American fiction in the United States. Largely self-educated, Chesnutt was one of the first American authors to directly challenge some of the racial stereotypes to which an earlier generation of American readers had been accustomed.

Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932) was the author of many books, including the novel The Marrow of Tradition and the collection The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories, also available from the University of Michigan Press.

Product Details

  • 5 1/4 x 8.
  • 256pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1969
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06156-3

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  • $16.95 U.S.