"Hartsfield offers a superb gift to residents of southwest Georgia, and particularly Grady County, in the collection of folktales, Tall Betsy and Dunce Baby. Nevertheless, she also offers a treat to all Georgia residents, as well as folklore enthusiasts and scholars everywhere. Hartsfield possesses two key ingredients for meaningful work in folklore: excellent training in folklore scholarship, and a love of the southwest Georgian land and people. . . . This combination of scholarship and love produces a rich and exciting volume."
—Journal of Southwest Georgia History
"Hartsfield has winnowed out a fine selection of stories. Readers unfamiliar with that section of Georgia will nonetheless find many of the stories familiar and enjoy reading them and passing some of them along ourselves."
"Tall Betsy and Dunce Baby is important as a written record of part of our heritage. It is also an enjoyable book of tales that seem to come from a day already long gone, but will never be lost, thanks Dr. Hartsfield."
"A minor jewel, this compilation mines a fertile lode of oral literature. Scholars and advanced students in folklore, American studies, regional material, and allied specialties will judge this monograph will be of considerable merit."
"Hartsfield has gathered this charming collection of tales from some of south Georgia's best storytellers, individuals as colorful as their stories. . . . Together they form a full, rich picture of a culture and way of life that has all but disappeared."
Tall Betsy and Dunce Baby captures in print the oral heritage of Mariella Hartsfield's native southwest Georgia, a heritage that is slowly fading away, the casual victim of mechanization and mass media. The tales in this collection range from the supernatural to the romantic, the sacred to the secular, and are populated by ghosts and witches, numskulls and "noodles," thieves, preachers, and widows. A celebration of American imagination, tradition, and manners, this collection of folktales not only records the values, customs, and lifestyles of the region's past but also reveals the spirit of people who responded to the demands of rural living with grace, good humor, and endurance.
Read more about Georgia storytelling traditions at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
List price: $25.95
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