Humor of the Old Southwest

Edited by Henning Cohen and William B. Dillingham
Third Edition


"The rich, ripe garden of the Old South humor is all here."
Alabama Review

One of the most entertaining genres of American literature is the bold, masculine, wildly exaggerated, and highly imaginative frontier humor of the Old Southwest, produced between 1835 and 1861 in an area that extended from Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia westward to Lousiana, Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas. Hennig Cohen and William B. Dillingham have tapped the wealth of this region to produce a collection that over the last three decades has become the standard anthology of Old Southwestern humor.

This new, extensively revised edition includes an expanded introduction, a dozen replacement sections, an updated bibliography, and works by three new writers--Phillip B. January, Matthew C. Field, and John Gorman Barr. Most generously represented are George Washington Harris, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, Johnson Jones Hooper, and Thomas Bangs Thorpe. Selections from twenty-five authors are featured along with brief biographical essays that combine historical and political analysis with perceptive literary criticism. These selections document important facets of antebellum American culture and provide the background of the literary achievement of Mark Twain and William Faulkner.

Page count: 536 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9.25


List price: $32.95

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Hennig Cohen is the John Welsh Professor of English Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania. He was the editor of American Quarterly from 1957 to 1970. He is the coauthor of Herman Melville's Malcolm Letter: "Man's Final Lore" and has published widely in the field of American literature and American studies. William B. Dillingham is Charles Howard Candler Professor of American Literature, Emeritus, at Emory University. His books include four studies of Herman Melville: Melville’s Short Fiction, 1853-1856; An Artist in the Rigging: The Early Work of Herman Melville; Melville’s Later Novels; and Melville and His Circle: The Last Years (all Georgia).