Chesnutt's Works





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The Marrow of Tradition

Charles W. Chesnutt will probably have a higher and more permanent place in prose writing than Dunbar will have in poetic writing, mainly because the former writes in a higher atmosphere of American thought and action than Dunbar. All of Mr. Chesnutt's conceptions are high, and his work has polish and the finish which usually characterize high ideals. His education and envirenments were different from those of Dunbar, as well as his ancestry. Dunbar thinks and writes as an American black man, for the most part, and there is always present in his work the melancholy note and the tropical profusion which are a part of the African nature, as far as I understand it; while Mr. Chesnutt thinks and writes more as an American, from the broad standpoint of country rather than from race. In "The Marrow of Tradition" instance, it would not be easy to tell that Mr. Chesnutt is an Afro-American by any bias disclosed in his work, while a white man could not have written Dunbar's "Sport of the Gods," simply because he could not feel and think in the language of the book. Mr. Chesnutt shows in his literary work that he takes very lofty ground, without limitations of race, which is not always true of Southern writers of the present school. The broad, human note so often struck by Mr. Chesnutt is present much in the work of Joel Chandler Harris and Frank J. Stanton, and appeals to the race rather than to a race group.

Anon. "Review of The Marrow of Tradition, and Chesnutt Bio Note." The New York Age. (Jul. 20, 1905): 6.