Madame Delphine

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Echo Library, Mar 1, 2007 - Fiction - 68 pages
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Set in the French Quarter of New Orleans during the early 19th century, this is the sad tale of an old quadroon woman whose life and home spiral downward from their former grandeur.

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About the author (2007)

Born and raised in New Orleans, in 1844, George Cable left school at age 14 and went to work to support his mother and sisters after his father's death. After serving in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, Cable worked at a variety of jobs before beginning to write. Attracted to certain aspects of Creole life, he was anxious to record this life before it entirely disappeared. His sympathies, however, did not extend to what he considered certain moral weaknesses in Creole civilization, particularly in its treatment of African Americans. As time went on, Cable began to speak out ever more openly on racial injustices in Louisiana and in the South generally. This brought a great deal of bitter criticism from fellow southerners and ultimately resulted in his moving to Massachusetts. His most explicit fictional treatment of racial injustice is probably John March: Southerner (1894), which he set in northern Alabama rather than Louisiana to emphasize the regional aspect of the racial problem. He also gave speeches, wrote letters to editors, and published articles on the problems of African-Americans in the South. Cable is especially well known for his stories about Creole life. His most successful literary work is The Grandissimes (1880), which has been compared in power and scope to the fiction of William Faulkner. The novel is somewhat marred by obvious editorializing and some wooden characterization, but it contains powerful scenes and deals with racial injustice, a subject all but taboo in the fiction of the time. Guy A. Cardwell has argued convincingly that Cable significantly altered Mark Twain's racial views when the two men were on a lecture tour together. Cable's treatment of race foreshadowed the work of such later Southern writers as Faulkner and Robert Penn Warren. Cable died in 1925.

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