Alias Bill Arp Charles Henry Smith and the South's "Goodly Heritage"
David B. Parker
A well-written study of an important southerner.
"An intelligent and well-written study of an important southerner--a southerner whose writings still have the ability to delight and appall."
—Journal of Southern History
"As a case study of cultural tension, the book is a success."
—American Historical Review
From 1861 to 1903 humorist Charles Henry Smith, writing as Bill Arp, a sly Georgia back-woodsman, was the South’s most widely read newspaper columnist. Knowing the immense popularity of Smith’s writings historian have suggested that southerners saw him as a voice for their concerns. While the idea that Bill Arp spoke for his region is sound, the intent of the writings has been misconstrued over time, argues David Parker.
In Alias Bill Arp, Parker shows that Smith was not a contented observer of the post-Reconstruction New South as is widely inferred from his most widely read work—his syndicated weekly column in the Atlanta Constitution that he began writing in 1878. Considering the full range of Smith’s work, Parker says, shows him to be one of the South’s harshest critics. After a brief survey of Smith’s life, Parker surveys the Bull Arp writings, highlighting their major topics, and explaining what they meant to readers of that era.
Page count: 218 Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5
List price: $24.95