The House Behind the Cedars Additional Summary

Charles Waddell Chesnutt


(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

Andrews, William L. The Literary Career of Charles W. Chesnutt. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1980. The chapter on The House Behind the Cedars explores the genesis of the novel as it relates to Chesnutt’s literary ambitions. Examines the work according to its features of nineteenth century realism.

Chesnutt, Helen K. Charles Waddell Chesnutt. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1952. A biography of Chesnutt by his daughter. The work contains letters pertaining to The House Behind the Cedars and other works by Chesnutt.

Gayle, Addison, Jr. The Way of the New World: The Black Novel in America. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press, 1975. The House Behind the Cedars is discussed in chapter 2. The study focuses on Rena and Molly Walden, and notes that Chesnutt created them to plead the cause of the mulatto.

Harris, Trudier. “Chesnutt’s Frank Fowler, A Failure of Purpose?” College Language Association Journal 23 (March, 1979): 215-228. Examines the role of Frank Fowler in The House Behind the Cedars in respect to Chesnutt’s stated literary goals. Fowler’s failure to rise above the plantation stereotype is attributed to Chesnutt’s own racial prejudice toward dark-skinned blacks.

Keller, Frances Richardson. An American Crusade. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1978. The best biography of Chesnutt. Reviews Chesnutt’s life and writings in a social context.

Render, Sylvia Lyons. Charles W. Chesnutt. Boston: Twayne, 1980. A critical interpretation of Chesnutt’s fiction. Emphasizes Chesnutt’s handling of such elements as irony, imagery, theme, and point of view.