Roy Blount's Book of Southern Humor

Overview

There may be no funnier species in the literary universe than a Southern writer on a roll.
The richest vein of American humor—the broadest, the earthiest, the most outrageously inventive—can be found below the Mason-Dixon line, where the comic impulse just naturally seems allied to the native storytelling genius, and the sacred and the profane are on the closest of terms.
Roy Blount, Jr., himself a native Southerner and on paper and in person ...

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Overview

There may be no funnier species in the literary universe than a Southern writer on a roll.
The richest vein of American humor—the broadest, the earthiest, the most outrageously inventive—can be found below the Mason-Dixon line, where the comic impulse just naturally seems allied to the native storytelling genius, and the sacred and the profane are on the closest of terms.
Roy Blount, Jr., himself a native Southerner and on paper and in person one of the funniest men in America, has dug deep and foraged far and wide to produce the definitive treasury of Southern humor for our time. It comprises more than 150 selections, including stories, sketches, essays, poems, memoirs, and blues and C&W lyrics, arranged under such headings as "My People, My People (How's Your Mama 'n Them?)," "Here Be Dragons, or, How Come These Butterbeans Have an Alligator Taste?" and "Lying and Other Forms of Communication." The wildly heterogeneous roster of contributors range from such classics as William Faulkner, Mark Twain, Flannery O'Connor, Zora Neale Hurston, and Eudora Welty to such brilliantly funny contemporaries as Molly Ivins, Dave Barry, Harry Crews, Ishmael Reed, Barry Hannah, Bailey White, and Roy Blount, Jr., his very own self.
If you could stop laughing long enough you'd probably call Roy Blount's Book of Southern Humor a classic. And you'd be right.

Southern humor may be the richest vein of American comic impulse and storytelling genius. Roy Blount, himself a native Southerner and one of the funniest men in America, has dug deep and foraged far and wide to produce the definitive treasury of Southern humor for our time. More than 150 selections include stories, essays, poems, memoirs, and song lyrics from contributors such as Faulkner, Twain, Welty, Barry, and Hurston.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With contributions from 114 authors-including three pieces by editor Blount (First Hubby) himself-this notable anthology offers a cornucopia of humor that, however loosely, can be associated with things "`Southern.'' Old masters represented here include Mark Twain, William Faulkner, O. Henry, Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Joel Chandler Harris, Tennessee Williams and Edgar Allen Poe (whose contribution, the short story ``X-ing a Paragrab,'' may surprise many). Luminaries among their heirs apparent are Tom Wolfe, Dave Barry, Harry Crews, Molly Ivins, Russell Baker and many more, while numbering among the less well-known contributors are Ferrol Sams, Bailey White, William Price Fox and Sarah Gilbert. The special treat here is the unexpected material collected from some rather offbeat sources: Julian Bond, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Brother Dave Gardner. Inexplicably, however, Blount passes over Lewis Grizzard, while giving six slots to Jerry Clower, and dismisses Carl Hiaasen by claiming that his novels ``resist excerpting.'' Also snubbed are the likes of T.R. Pearson, Fanny Flagg and Olive Ann Burns. Even with these glaring lapses, though, this generous volume deserves serious consideration as a holiday gift for the eclectic-or Dixie-minded-reader. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Southern humorist Blount brings together here a collection of mirthful writings from his native region. Close to 150 selections from 114 writers run the gamut of genres from essays to country/western lyrics. Authors, many of whom are not generally considered humorists, range from Edgar Allen Poe to Dave Barry. Some readers might quibble with Blount's choices (Garrison Keillor in a book of Southern humor, Lewis Grizzard left out?), but that is always a compiler's cross to bear. Others who find reading stories highly laced with dialect about as easygoing as studying the Upanishads in the original Vedic might have problems with several of these works. Still, there is something here for everyone. Recommended for regional and large humor collections.-Jim Burns, Otummwa, Iowa
Booknews
Writer/humorist Blount presents 150 selections--stories, sketches, folk tales, essays, poems, memoirs, and blues and country and rock lyrics--and introduces each with engaging commentary. This is an anthology that should not be missed--because of the quality and variety of Blount's selections as well as the entertaining background he provides. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Gilbert Taylor
Any anthology angles for readers with its own bait, but some durn feller's gotta figger out what branch to throw the line in. Native Indianan but acculturated good ole boy Blount done himself good with this catch, which just may exceed the allowable limit on rib-bending ruckusing. Yup, everthing cackles and groans with laughin' to keep from cryin' here, all 160 pieces, each prefaced by he of the tall tale-tellin', Blount. Now Southerners beat Nawthawners in many things, including golf (there are two duffers' delights here, put right where they belong, the section called "Lying, and Other Arts of Communication"), and in sheer loquacity, intricacy of locution, toe-to-toe vituperation, excoriation, and incredulation, it's a leapin' travesty of a contest. What raconteur upside the Mason-Dixon line can top Flannery O'Connor, Twain, Zora Neale Hurston, and the dozens of humorists Blount pulled outta that branch? Well, last year them citified progeny of the boys in blue made a sportin' effort with "Russell Baker's Book of American Humor" , which Blount's treasury matches perfectly, tho' it jes' might be a better tastin' fish: that's all, ya'll.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393036954
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 670
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Roy Blount Jr.'s recent books include the memoir Be Sweet and Roy Blount's Book of Southern Humor.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 15
Introduction 19
"Nobody Loves Me but My Mother" 41
"Mama's Memoirs" 41
"I Blame It All on Mamma" 43
Making the Honky-tonks with Mama 50
"I Get Born" 55
from Raney 59
from No Time for Sergeants 66
According to Bubba 72
"Papa Was a Democrat" 77
"A Late Encounter with the Enemy" 84
from The Redneck Bride 92
Dying Properly 101
from Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady 104
"The Fortunate Spill" 113
"Levitation with Baby" 115
Fighting for Folks 116
from A Confederacy of Dunces 126
from Baby Doll 133
Mary Grace's Reception 139
"The Beard" 147
Modern Baptist Bible Study 157
"Typical" 164
"More Carters" 172
"A Coon Huntin' Story" 183
"The Fish and the Edsel" 186
"Newgene and the Lion" 187
"Rat Killin'" 188
"Rats in the Corn Crib" 189
"Alligators" 190
"A Chicken Story" 197
"He Is My Horse" 200
"False Alarm" 200
Animal Deals 203
"Simon Slick's Mule" 207
"Brother Rabbit Conquers Brother Lion" 208
"'Heyo, House!'" 211
"Aunt Tempy's Story" 213
"Why the 'Possum's Tail Is Bony" 217
"Toot and Teat" 220
"Turkeys" 222
"The King of the Birds" 224
"Song to Oysters" 232
from Keeper of the Moon 233
"Parson John Bullen's Lizards" 235
"A Day with the Vet" 241
"Kudzu East and West and South" 242
"A Sensible Varmint" 245
"Georgia Theatrics" 251
Fort Worth Golf (from Dead Solid Perfect) 253
"Country Golf" 257
A Dickey Story 264
"The Ordeal of Lonnie Register" 266
"Coley Moke" 270
from Mules and Men 277
from Shuckin' and Jivin' 286
Dozens 292
"New Dirty Dozen" 294
"A Night at the Ugly Man's" 295
from You All Spoken Here 299
"Wrong Number" 304
"X-ing a Paragrab" 305
"The Ransom of Red Chief" 311
"Poetic Gems" 320
"In Memorial" 325
from Car 325
"Between the Lines" 331
"I Don't Eat Dirt Personally" 341
Gertrude 344
Head to Head with the Champ 346
Willie Didn't Want a Lot of Confusion Backstage 352
A Position on Whisky 358
Letters from Hollywood 359
"Petrified Man" 364
"Keela, the Outcast Indian Maiden" 375
"Nineteen Fifty-five" 382
"The King of Jazz" 394
A Jerry Lee Session 398
Womp Bomp a-Loo Momp 400
Alabama Dimensions 405
"Diddie Wa Diddie" 407
"Look at That Gal . . ." 413
Bookie Odds Favored the Union 414
Relating to Skillet and Fode 420
"Slim in Atlanta" 427
"Slim Hears 'The Call'" 429
"Sporting Beasley" 435
"The Vertical Negro Plan" 436
The Rise of Lester Maddox 438
"Mrs. James" 447
"The Pocketbook Game" 448
"Tuskegee Airfield" 449
"Women's Locker Room" 451
"Dave's Neckliss" 452
"Bill Arp Addresses Artemus Ward"
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