The Marrow of Tradition

Charles W. Chesnutt
Introduction by Robert M. Farnsworth
A stirring tale of racial confrontation in a reconstructionist Southern town, first published in 1901


First published in 1901 and long out-of-print, The Marrow of Tradition is in many respects the most artistically and historically interesting of Charles W. Chesnutt's three novels of Southern life. In this stirring tale of racial confrontation in a reconstructionist Southern town, Chesnutt dramatically explores themes which were to be developed by later American novelists: the basic interdependence of white and black attitudes and actions, the effects of a racial mythology on black and white alike. Above all, The Marrow of Tradition affords the modern reader a swift-moving plot and a memorable cast of characters—among them the imperious Major Carteret, whose newspaper dominates the town of Wellington; Dr. William Miller, a young Negro physician married to Mrs. Carteret's unacknowledged octoroon half-sister; and Josh Green, a laborer who plans to settle an old debt with the area's most notorious white Negro-baiter.

The work of Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932) represents an important landmark in the history of Negro fiction in America. 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 become accustomed.

Product Details

  • 5 x 8.
  • 352pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1969
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06147-1

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  • $16.95 U.S.