Paul Marchand, F.M.C.
Chesnutt wrote this novel at the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance, but set it in a time and place favored by George Washington Cable. Published now for the first time, Paul Marchand: Free Man of Color examines the system of race and caste in nineteenth-century New Orleans. Chesnutt reacts, as well, against the traditional stance that fiction by leading American writers of the previous generation had taken on the issue of miscegenation.After living for many years in France, the wealthy and sophisticated Paul Marchand returns to his home in New Orleans and discovers through a will that he is white and is now head of a prosperous and influential family. Since mixed-race marriages are illegal, he must renounce his mulatto wife and bastardize his children.Chesnutt resolves Marchand's dilemma with a surprising plot reversal. Marchand, although white, chooses to pass as a black so that he can keep his wife and children. Thus by altering the traditional narrative that Cable, Twain, and Howells had developed for their fiction on mixed-race themes, he exposes the issue of race as a social and legal fabrication. Moreover, Chesnutt shows Marchand's awareness that traits of inferiority and superiority are not based on blood but on other factors. In him Chesnutt has created an admirable male character responsive to human needs and civility rather than to artificial institutions.
What people are saying - Write a review
Paul Marchand, F. M. CUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Reminiscent of Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson, this tale of morality and choices was written in 1921 by respected black author Chesnutt but never published. It takes place in New Orleans in 1821, at a ... Read full review
Philippe and Josephine
The Quadroon Ball
12 other sections not shown
Other editions - View all
Adolphe Beaurepas African American Beau Beaurepas cousins Beaurepas's beautiful blood Boston Evening Transcript brought Cable Calabozo caste Cathedral Chesnutt child client color Creole daughter Don Jose Morales dream duel duke eyes face father feel five cousins five nephews fortune France French Future American gendeman gentleman George Washington Cable girl hand happy Hector Beaurepas heir Henri Beaurepas honor hope inheritance insult Josephine Jules Renard Julie lawyer litde live Lizette Louisiana marriage married Marrow of Tradition mask master meeting Mendoza mixed-race Monsieur mulatto Negro never novel octoroon old Pierre Beaurepas old Zabet Orleans Paris pass Paul Beaurepas Paul Marchand Paul's Perigord Philippe Beaurepas plantation Pralines Pudd'nhead Wilson quadroon ball race racial racism Raoul Renard repas returned revenge sent servant slave slavery social Street sword thing tion Trois Pigeons uncle Pierre uncle's upbringing vieux carre wealth wife wish woman young