The Conjure Woman

The Conjure Woman

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3
(1 Review)
The Conjure Woman by Charles W. Chesnutt

Published:

1899

Pages:

153

Downloads:

7,013

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The Conjure Woman

By

3
(1 Review)
Richly detailed stories set in a world of fantastic powers and occult influence, rooted in the reality of 1890s North Carolina.

Book Excerpt

'bout de fine bait er scuppernon' he et de night befo'.

"Wen dey tole 'im 'bout de goopher on de grapevimes, he 'uz dat tarrified dat he turn pale, en look des like he gwine ter die right in his tracks. De oberseah come up en axed w'at 'uz de matter; en w'en dey tole 'im Henry be'n eatin' er de scuppernon's, en got de goopher on 'im, he gin Henry a big drink er w'iskey, en 'low dat de nex' rainy day he take 'im ober ter Aun' Peggy's, en see ef she would n' take de goopher off'n him, seein' ez he did n' know nuffin erbout it tel he done et de grapes.

"Sho nuff, it rain de nex' day, en de oberseah went ober ter Aun' Peggy's wid Henry. En Aun' Peggy say dat bein' ez Henry did n' know 'bout de goopher, en et de grapes in ign'ance er de conseq'ences, she reckon she mought be able fer ter take de goopher off'n him. So she fotch out er bottle wid some cunjuh medicine in it, en po'd some out in a go'd fer Henry ter drink. He manage ter git it down; he say it tas'e like whiskey wid sump'n bitter in it. She 'lowe

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This collection of tales is framed with a story of a Yankee setting up a vineyard in North Carolina after the Civil War, and being told several tales of sorcery by an ex-slave, Uncle Julius. The dialect rendering can be annoying but if you can tolerate that, and the 'rational explanation' added to each story, this is quite an interesting little collection. Some are genuinely disturbing, and Sis' Becky's Pickaninny is far more poignantly anti-slavery than Uncle Tom's Cabin managed to be. There's a brief essay about the real folklore of plantation voodoo at the back, too.
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