Gone Home: Southern Folk Gravestone Art

Overview

Four decades ago, folklorists Jack and Olivia Solomon began documenting Southern cemeteries, recording the names, lives, and epitaphs of thousands of the deceased. The volume they now share with us is not a Book of the Dead, but a Book of Life.

The Solomons reveal here their love and respect for the "final resting places" of this world. In these pages, the sorrow for a lost child, the anger over the murder of a brother, the strengths of an admired civic leader, the life of a ...

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Overview

Four decades ago, folklorists Jack and Olivia Solomon began documenting Southern cemeteries, recording the names, lives, and epitaphs of thousands of the deceased. The volume they now share with us is not a Book of the Dead, but a Book of Life.

The Solomons reveal here their love and respect for the "final resting places" of this world. In these pages, the sorrow for a lost child, the anger over the murder of a brother, the strengths of an admired civic leader, the life of a beloved preacher, and the character of a stalwart soldier are recorded, as well as the grief for a mother, a father, a son, a daughter, a wife, a husband. Many of these epitaphs console and give promise of a "better home over yonder." Others remind one of the shortness of life and the surety of death. As in life, there is wit-the humor of a wife who reminds her spouse, "I told you I was sick!"-and profundity-the laconic remark, "She hath done what she could." The book also discusses historical precedents for Alabama epitaphs, different types of epitaphs, gravestone writings as folk literature, gravestones as architecture/sculpture, and the lettering of epitaphs.

Author Bio: Jack and Olivia Solomon are well-known Alabama folklorists and writers. Their books include Cracklin Bread and Asfidity, Zickary Zan, Ghosts and Goosebumps, Sweet Bunch of Daisies, and Honey in the Rock. SuZannah Solomon is their daughter.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781588381163
  • Publisher: NewSouth, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/2004
  • Pages: 132
  • Product dimensions: 7.02 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 9
Preface 11
Introduction 13
Historical Precedents for Alabama Epitaphs 20
Visual Arts and the Written Word: A Unified Folk Aesthetic 22
From Royalty to Common Folk: All Want To Be Remembered 28
The Epitaph Defined 30
The Epitaph as Biography 30
The Epitaph as a Greeting 35
Occupational Epitaphs 38
The Epitaph as Blessing 39
The Epitaph as a Metaphor for Hope 40
The Epitaph as a Window to the Past 52
A Note on the Lettering 61
The Epitaphs 69
For Further Study 119
Gravestone Writings as Folk Literature 119
Gravestones as Architecture/Sculpture 121
Local Sources 124
The History of Writing 124
Index 129
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2012

    Just ok

    I was a little disappointed. I thought it would have better info in it on southern headstones. And a better selection of headstones. They didn't visit enough good graveyards.

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