NEW BOOKS AND NEW EDITIONS
WIFE of his Youth and Other Stories of the Color Line, The. By Charles W. Chesnutt. With illustrations by Clyde O. Deland. 323 pp. 12mo, $1.10; by mail, $1.24.
In these stories we have a variation of most of the methods employed by American story-tellers in handling the characterizations of our colored population, either before or since their emancipation, from a humorous or a pathetic point of view, and one that is so striking and so novel that it may fairly be called a new departure in Afro-American fiction, or a fine and wise departure in art, since, instead of trying on the one hand to move our compassion for the negro, because we have inflicted so much suffering on his race in the past, or, on the other hand, to study and enjoy him, because he is such a comical, laughable, creature, so childlike and irresponsible--it simply aims to interest us in him as an individual human being, without regard to the straightness or kinkyness of his hair, or the amount of nigritude in the color of his skin. The art of Mr. Chesnutt in these stories is so fine, so elusive, so shadowy, and yet so sincere and real, that one is compelled to feel it, and remember it, without quite understanding it.
Rev. of The Wife of his Youthin "New Books and New Editions," Book News [Philadelphia] 18 (Jan. 1900): 305.