American Humor Writing The Old Southwest - Essay

The Old Southwest

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

Clement Eaton

SOURCE: "The Southern Yeoman: The Humorists' View and the Reality," in The Mind of the Old South, revised edition, Louisiana State University Press, 1967, pp. 130-51.

[In this excerpt, Eaton examines the historical accuracy of antebellum humor writing, maintaining that, despite occasional distortions of truth, the works are valuable and generally accurate historical documents.]

In studying the writings of the Southern humorists of the antebellum period the social historian has a different purpose from that of the folklorist, the student of American literature, or the investigator of the Southern vernacular. He is interested in the...

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