Cover image for Brer Rabbit, Uncle Remus, and the "Cornfield Journalist" : the tale of Joel Chandler Harris
Brer Rabbit, Uncle Remus, and the "Cornfield Journalist" : the tale of Joel Chandler Harris
Brasch, Walter M., 1945-2017.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Macon, Ga. : Mercer University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxxii, 399 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS1813 .B73 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS1813 .B73 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Joel Chandler Harris was widely praised by his contemporaries for his writing and insights into black American folklore and language. His works were translated into more than thirty languages, and he was second only to Mark Twain in popularity with the American public. This book explores Harris's four-decade newspaper and literary career which remained a key part of his life and character even after he achieved critical and financial success in literature. Harris is not widely known today. Like Brer Rabbit getting stuck in the tar baby, by the 1950s Uncle Remus stories were politicized and often stuck with racist labels, partly because of the depiction of Uncle Remus in Disney's 1946 movie Song of the South and partly because of the movie's extensive use of American Black English. Brasch defends the accuracy of Harris's literary depiction of both American Black English and Reconstruction Georgia. Brasch also examines the nature of fame and places a variety of other social and political issues in the context of this major American writer. Brer Rabbit, Uncle Remus, and the Cornfield Journalist: The Tale of Joel Chandler Harris is essential reading for anyone interested in social history, Southern history, journalism, literature, popular culture, or Harris himself.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Brasch wrote this book in large part because his journalism students had never heard of Uncle Remus. It is biography, but it is also an analysis of black speech and dialect, a discussion of folklore, observations on race, and a survey of the cultural influences of Joel Chandler Harris's "Brer" animals. The book's charm stems from Brasch's writing style, the sketches of the animals on nearly every page, the 70 photographs, the reproductions of contracts and newspapers, the varied typography, and the reprint of Harris's "The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story," taken from one of the earliest editions. Describing Harris as "loved at home, praised at work," the author introduces the writer as an introverted, basically uncomplicated man who, as a columnist, turned to writing the stories he had heard as a boy growing up with African Americans. The structure for the stories was influenced by Chaucer and Boccaccio. Were they powerful allegories of human life or racist tales? Brasch follows the deb ates from 1879 right up to People magazine, presenting a gentle balance of the views. Though sometimes rather simplistic, this volume extends the work of Hugh Keenan and R. Bruce Bickley. Recommended for journalism and southern literature collections. S. W. Whyte Montgomery County Community College