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Chesnutt in the Classroom

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THE SUNDAY STATES, DECEMBER 15, 1901.
BOOKS: THEIR WRITERS, THEIR MAKERS

IN THE MARROW OF TRADITION, Charles W. Chestnutt has written a novel of undoubted intensity and of marked felicity of narrative, but it is a book utterly repellant to Southern sentiment, and one calculated to do infinite harm if, unfortunately, it should win favor among and impress conviction upon Northern readers. The author is, we believe, a negro, who lived in the South in reconstruction days, and is seeking to present what he intends as a truthful picture of conditions of the period, to the end that Northern sentiment shall be aroused, by knowledge of the treatment the negro has received at the hands of the Southern people, to demand a settlement of the black problem upon terms acceptable to the class for whom the author assumes to speak. The gross immorality of the book, however; the studied attempt to insinuate the prevalence of sexual relations between the races as the rule rather than the rare exception in the South; the exaggeration of the virtues of the negro, and the minimization of those of the whites; and the shocking denouement are not likely to commend The Marrow of Tradition very strongly to Southern readers. The author is capable of really brilliant work, and it is a pity that he should have devoted his talents to a novel so insulting to this section of the country.

Published by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. For sale by Hansell & Bro.

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Rev. of The Marrow of Tradition in "Books: Their Writers, Their Makers," The Daily States [New Orleans] 15 Dec. 1901: 16.