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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 234

The Grandissimes: A Story of Creole Life is an 1880 historical romance novel by George Washington Cable. The story follows the New Orleans Grandissime family in the time immediately following the Louisiana Purchase and much centers around issues of race and class. Honore Grandissime is the head of the French side of the family, who takes in a young man named Joseph Frowenfeld. Joseph and Honore's household discusses the caste system in New Orleans, foreshadowing the troubling events at the end of the novel. Eventually this leads to a fight between Joseph and Honore's uncle, Agricola. The Grandissimes rely on slavery to continue their way of life, which the openly racist Agricola appreciates, but Joseph is an abolitionist.

Honore has a mulatto half-brother, also named Honore Grandissime. They want to go into business together, but Honore is also preoccupied with helping a woman he is secretly in love with, Aurora Nancanou. His uncle murdered her husband over gambling problems. This leads Honore to also attempt to help a slave, who is engaged to Aurora's maid. Bras Coupe is an African prince in love with Palmyre, and the indignity of slavery to the former prince inspires him to attack his white overseer, and when a mob of white aristocrats catch him trying to escape, Honore attempts to intervene. The novel ends with Coupe's brutal and tortured murder, showcasing the dark social reality of nineteenth-century New Orleans.

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