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The Grandissimes

by George Washington Cable

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Book Description
With Illustrations by Albert Herter

About the Author
Southern reformist George W. Cable (1844-1925) was the first fiction writer in the South to outwardly challenge the accepted literary tradition of the old South and its aristocracy. In his writings, he faithfully campaigned directly through his essays and indirectly through his stories and novels to reform the racial caste system and eradicate political corruption. Mr. Cable also touched on many other realities of the time including violence, racial intermarriage, and the vanishing of Creole culture. Through his pioneering use of dialect and his skill with the short-story form, Mr. Cable helped lead the Local Color movement of the late 1800s.

Mr. Cable was born and raised in New Orleans. He dropped out of school at fifteen, when his father died and he was forced to help support his family as a clerk. At the age of nineteen, he volunteered in the Confederate service, joining the Fourth Mississippi Cavalry. Two years later, he returned home where he worked as a columnist and reporter for the New Orleans Picayune under the pen name "Drop Shot."

In 1872, Mr. Cable was given access to the city’s archives at the Cabildo and the St. Louis Cathedral so he could do research on a series of articles. While in these archives, he discovered documents he began to turn into short stories, dramatizing New Orleans’ records of elaborate cultural and racial diversity since 1718. His publication in 1879 of Old Creole Days, a collection of seven short stories, established the genre of southern local-color fiction. Cable has been called the most important Southern artist working in the late nineteenth century, as well as the first modern Southern writer.



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