"The Conjure Woman", (Houghton-Mifflin Company), the earliest of Mr. Charles W. Chesnutt's books, has, to our great delight, re-appeared in a new addition. Joel Spingarn writes the foreword and says:
"Mr. Chesnutt's novels published over a quarter of a century ago, mark an era both in the history of the Negro and in the history of American literature. They are the first novels in which an American of Negro descent has in any real sense portrayed the fortunes of his race. Paul Laurence Dunbar had more or less successfully introduced the material in brief studies of character and incident, but he failed, like other and feebler predecessors, in his attempts at a more extended treatment in the form of a novel. Mr. Chesnutt is a true pioneer, but we should be underestimating his achievement if we thought of it merely in terms of its subject matter or material. Only the archaeologist is interested in this kind of priority: what is important is not that Mr. Chesnutt was first to discover or deal with the material, but that he was the first to give it life."
We hope to see all of Mr. Chesnutt's novels in new edition.
Anon, "Book Review of The Conjure Woman." From: The Browsing Reader, Crisis, 36 (April 1929): 125.