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Humor of the Old Southwest: An Annotated Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Sources

Hardcover - 16 November 1989
Rp 1,908,000
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During the early part of the nineteenth century, the Southwestern frontier moved from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, through Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, to Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana. Using a variety of styles and subjects, humorists in the frontier states of the Southwest wrote tall tales and humorous stories that made use of dialect and emphasized cruelty, violence, and depravity, in rebellion against the sentimental morality of conventional literature. Such tales flourished from 1835 through 1861 and helped buffer the pioneers during their everyday hardships. The humorists' stories, though exaggerated, were often rooted in the real characters and incidents of the frontier and as such serve as a social history of the period. Many of these stories were originally published in local newspapers and reprinted in William T. Porter's Spirit of the Times. Although the popularity of this type of humor died out with the beginning of the Civil War, its influences can be seen in the works of Mark Twain, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, and Thomas Wolfe.

The bibliography lists works about Southwest humor in general and by and about nine major humorists including David Crockett, Joseph Glover Baldwin, George Washington Harris, Johnson Jones Hooper, Henry Clay Lewis, Augustus Baldwin Longstreeet, Charles Fenton Mercer Noland, William Tappan Thompson, and Thomas Bangs Thorpe. These two main sections are supplemented by author and general subject indices. As the first book-length bibliography in this field, Humor of the Old Southwest will make a useful tool in academic libraries and will find a place in collections of folklore, American literature, and humor.

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