Harris, Joel Chandler

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Harris, Joel Chandler,

1848–1908, American short-story writer and humorist, b. Eatonton, Ga., considered one of the great American regionalist writers. As an apprentice to the editor of the Countryman, a newspaper published on a Southern plantation, Harris gained firsthand knowledge of black slaves and their folklore. His stories and sketches of the South were originally published in the Atlanta Constitution, with which he was associated from 1876 to 1900. Harris's first collection, Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings (1881), brought him immediate fame. Featuring as their narrator a lovable, shrewd former slave, the Uncle Remus stories drew upon African-American folklore and humor and were written in Southern black dialect. The demand for his stories and sketches was so great that Harris followed with nine more books in a similar vein, including The Tar Baby (1904) and Uncle Remus and Br'er Rabbit (1906). In other notable works, such as Mingo and Other Sketches in Black and White (1884) and Free Joe and Other Georgian Sketches (1887), Harris portrayed with accuracy and insight the aristocrats and poor whites of Georgia.

Bibliography

See his life and letters (ed. by J. C. Harris, 1918); biographies by P. M. Cousins (1968) and R. B. Bickley, Jr. (1987); study by R. B. Bickley, Jr. (1981).

Harris, Joel Chandler

(1848–1908) writer; born near Eatonville, Ga. As a boy he worked as a printer's assistant (1860–62) on a newspaper published by Joseph Addison Turner, who also encouraged Harris to read and write; Turner owned a plantation and Harris became acquainted with the African-American slaves and their speech, stories, and customs. He then became a journalist for newspapers in Macon and Savannah, Ga., and in New Orleans before settling in Atlanta to work for the Atlanta Constitution (1876–1900), which carried the first of his "Uncle Remus Stories," "The Story of Mr. Rabbit and Mr. Fox" in 1879. Its popularity led to a long series of tales, published over the next quarter century in various collections, starting with Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings (1880). The tales feature Uncle Remus, an African-American and former slave who tells the tales to the son of the family he now serves; many of the stories feature animals such as Brer (Brother) Rabbit and Brer Fox, and draw on the folklore of African-Americans as well as reproduce their speech, so that the tales are regarded as providing at least glimpses of authentic folklore. Harris also wrote other stories and novels about life in the South; his On the Wing of Occasions (1900) is a collection of stories featuring Billy Sanders, the Sage of Shady Dale, a character who expresses the views of average Georgians of the day.
References in periodicals archive ?
of Joel Chandler Harris (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1918) 571.
Turner says, "To see clearly the Negro characters created by Joel Chandler Harris, one must probe through the haze of memory and desire which blurred Harris's vision of reality.
Dialect Differentiation in the Stories of Joel Chandler Harris.
Joel Chandler Harris, as his different biographers state, was a shy man but at the time of writing his animal fables he was given a special gift, the same that was given to Aesop: "the gift of gab.
Un escritor americano, Joel Chandler Harris, quien murio en 1908, probo que los negros de la America del Norte tienen cuentos populares tan curiosos e interesantes como ninguna otra raza", San Selerin, n* 1 (V-1913): 14.
In considering the foregoing discussion, it should not be concluded that all of the Joel Chandler Harris narratives are Native American; in fact, I suspect that only one-third are derived from American Indian sources.
Such claims are a heavy burden forthis author's production to bear, and I suspect that no amount of professorial hyperbole will elevate Joel Chandler Harris to the ranks of his more eminent literary contemporaries.
Mixon, for one, notes that Harris "was poorly served" [469] by most of his illustrators, and a closer look at Alice Walker's critique of Harris reveals that Harris himself is never cited--the real targets of censure are Song of the South and the remarkably saccharine Julia Collier Harris, Harris's daughter-in-law, who edited the 1918 Life and Letters of Joel Chandler Harris.
AMONG THE PAGE FAMILY PAPERS, recently acquired by the Virginia Historical Society, is a letter from Thomas Nelson Page (1853-1922) to his wife of only two years, Anne Seddon Bruce Page (1867-1888), in which he describes his first meeting with Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908).
Among the celebrated authors who employed the form were Lewis Carroll, Kenneth Grahame, Rudyard Kipling, Hilaire Belloc, Joel Chandler Harris, Beatrix Potter, and, though not writing primarily for children, Hans Christian Andersen, Oscar Wilde, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, J.
Among other books of this year were Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings by Joel Chandler Harris, full of authentic black folklore in dialect; Dr.
His daughter-in-law, Julia Collier Harris, wrote The Life and Letters of Joel Chandler Harris (1918).