CONJURE Woman, The. By Charles W. Chesnutt. 229 pp. 16mo, 90 cents; by mail, $1.00.
Mr. Chesnutt introduces a great deal of negro dialect into "The Conjure Woman," and negro dialect is so often a weariness to the flesh that it requires patience to get well started in the reading of the book. The patience is well rewarded. Uncle Julius McAdoo, the ancient negro from whose lips fall astonishing yarns, is not, after all, obscure in his dialect, and he is himself a pleasing character, compounded of simplicity and shrewdness. The latter quality is deftly used by Mr. Chesnutt in winding up the daring inventions set forth by Julius, so that their improbability is somehow softened and excused. Amazement at the recklessness of the negro imagination gives place to a quiet smile over the old fellow’s wit in using his legends to gain his own ends.
Review of The Conjure Woman in Book News 17 (May 1899): 531. [Edited version of "Studies in ‘Local Color’ and Dialect," New-York Tribune Illustrated Supplement. 2 Apr. 1899: 11.]