Go to the extensive Crossroads site on Southwestern humor (University of Virginia).
|Definitions||Southwestern humor is the name given to a tradition of regional sketches and tales based in the "old South-West": Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas. According to the Cambridge History of American Literature (volume 2), these tales appeared first in local and then in regional newspapers such as the St. Louis Reveille, the New Orleans Picayune, and the New York journal The Spirit of the Times (630). Politically conservative and linked to the Whig resistance to Andrew Jackson, the writers of this school combined tall tales, thick regional dialect, ironic humor, and a tradition of tricksterism in their stories and sketches. Elements of Southwestern humor appear in the writings of Mark Twain and William Faulkner, among others; see especially Twain's sketches and Faulkner's "The Bear."|
Baldwin Longstreet (1790-1870)
James Kirk (or Kirke) Paulding, "Nimrod's Wildfire Tall Talk" (1833)
George Washington Harris (1815-69)
Thomas Bangs Thorpe (1815-75),
Mike Fink (Short Tales) from the Crockett Almanacs (1850s)
© 1997-2010. Donna M. Campbell. Some information adapted from Resisting Regionalism: Gender and Naturalism in American Fiction, 1885-1915 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1997).
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Campbell, Donna M. "Southwestern Humor, 1830-1860." Literary Movements. Dept. of English, Washington State University. Date of publication or most recent update (listed above as the "last modified" date; you don't need to indicate the time). Web. Date you accessed the page.
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