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Uncle Remus, His Songs and His Sayings: The Folk-Lore of the Old Plantation
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Uncle Remus, His Songs and His Sayings: The Folk-Lore of the Old Plantation

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  110 ratings  ·  22 reviews
In 1880, Joel Chandler Harris, a moderate white Southern journalist, published a collection of black folktales, proverbs, songs, and character sketches based on stories he had heard as a child. In his introduction, Robert Hemenway discusses the book's enduring popularity, pointing out that the character of Uncle Remus, the docile and grandfatherly ex-slave storyteller, is...more
Hardcover, 231 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Cherokee Publishing Company (GA) (first published 1880)
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Shelley
Okay I know, before I even start this that there are already a TON of people who are morally opposed to this book on the grounds that it is racially derrogatory. I happen to disagree. As a child of the south, I grew up hearing all the Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox stories and they have not damaged me or caused me to be an evil racially hateful woman. I consider when they were written and realize that the stories are wonderfully imaginative and teach a moral lesson at the heart of each one. I remember...more
Maria
I was curious to read this, particularly in light of Alice Walker's assertion that these stories made her ashamed to be black. I get it, but the stories, songs & sayings are interesting from the perspective of a certain time & place & viewpoint; I think the author meant well.
Jen Julian
I read this for my grad-level folklore class, so my approach to the book was predominantly critical. However, I was surprised by the intricacy of the tales and genuinely enjoyed many of them. Brer Rabbit is an authentic Afro-American figure, evolved from the the trickster hare character of African folktales. Slaves found revolutionary recourse embodied in this ever-cunning underdog. Brer Rabbit is no goody-goody; he is possibly one of the first real bad-asses to grace the American folklore canon...more
Robin (RBBR)
I loved this book and although I've seen portions of the movie here in the states I don't think I've ever seen the whole thing and last I heard never will. Its sad if you ask me because it depends on what you choose to focus on and if you focus on the fact it places slavery in a good light which I've heard some say it does then yeah that's not good. But if you decide to focus on the relationship that children who happen to be white have with Uncle Remus who happens to be black (sort of a Grandfa...more
Lani
I had read a few of the Brer Rabbit stories as a kid; this collection included not just the Brer Animal stories, but also all of the (even more) terribly offensive Uncle Tom stories of Uncle Remus. I have an affection for the Brer stories, and also see some value in their place as American 'Aesop's Fables'. Morality tales couched in animal form that are fun, silly, and still a little creepy.

That said, the collection is difficult to read due to the dialect, and once you've made it through the chi...more
Claire
I really wanted to give this book a higher rating than just three stars. The folk-tales themselves are wonderful and culturally significant classic trickster tales that, to quote the introduction by Robert Hemenway, "symbolically inverted the slave - master relationship and satisfied the deep human needs of a captive people". Brer Rabbit is a survivor, the Fabled Hare, a symbol of endurance and the triumph of the underdog over his big brutish oppressors. In other words, NOT RACIST.

However, Joel...more
Garrett Cash
As Uncle Remus says about his brand of syrup, "Dis sho' am good."
Joel Chandler Harris' Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings is a fascinating read that splits opinions like no other. On the one hand you have people saying things like:

“As the racial stereotypes of the nineteenth century are inappropriate today and may be offensive to many contemporary readers, we have eliminated [...] Uncle Remus.”

Then you have the other side saying “Uncle Remus [...] is revealed as a secret hero of [Joel Chandle...more
Jamie
I loved the book for its manner of recreating the slang of African-Americans during the time of slavery. I can't say though I liked the antics of Breer Rabbit; he is one vindictive, cruel, and morally corrupt character. I hoped for more meaning, thought and complexity behind the stories. Who am I to judge however? The spirit of the African-Americans is self-evident in the stories and songs, which allowed the salves to persevere through so much injustice. The human spirit is truly indomitable and...more
Julie
Read for American Lit

I had to read this as we studied social realism. We talked about black minstrelsy and how African Americans were portrayed in the media. I hated everything we watched with anyone painted in black face. I think it was stereotypical and disrespectful, but I don't think of Uncle Remus as a real character...just a vessel for telling a story...so he does not offend me. I grew up with these stories and they are not favorites or anything, but they don't offend me either.
Paul Pellicci
I do not think I can read any more of this. Attempting to get through the tortured English is too much for me. I have better books to read.

I can't help think that this book is racist. Written by a white southerner to make Blacks look silly. Does anyone notice the vocabulary, how large it is and yet talks like he don't know what a word is...?

With Uncle Remus speaking on education of the blacks, "Hit's de ruinashun er dis country. Look at my gal. De ole 'oman sont 'er ter school las' year, an' now...more
Emily Whelchel
While I love the clever wit of these stories, as well as the mischief between Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox, the broken English of these stories is so very difficult to read. I would love my children to one day read about the antics of these animals and see stories of the south, but I wouldn't necessarily prefer them to read the grammar and English of these tales.
Vanessa
As a kid, I watched the Song of the South and never really understood that Uncle Remis was a slave. I saw him as more of a grandfather figure. In the movie you identify with poor Brer Rabbit who all the other characters are trying to eat. But Brer Rabbit is a vicious, conniving dick in these stories. The first half of the book is fables told by Uncle Remis, and I really liked those. The second half is stories from Uncle Remis' life as an old timer. He reminds me of the character played by Samuel...more
Letitia
As a child, I delighted in a Dorling Kindersley encyclopaedia of world mythologies and folklore and must've first encountered Brer Rabbit's stories in that tome. Over a decade later I'm revisiting the source of those tales, partly prompted by having read Toni Morrison's Tar Baby novel.

Tip: It goes a lot quicker if you start off by getting a feel of Uncle Remus's "voice" with this public domain audiobook narrated superbly by Mark Smith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqVji...
J.E.
I recommend this edition. Robert Hemenway's 1981 introduction not only sets the problematic racist element in context, but shows how accurately Harris captured the black folk tales, some with their origins in Africa. Still an important contribution to American literature.
Brent
I was interested to see how this compared to the Disney rendition of the stories. Many of the original tales are fairly comparable; but, there were a few that were a little more bizarre. The stories about Uncle Remus at the end of the book were rather odd and I can't say that I would recommend the book.
Donna Zakem
This book took me back to my chilhood and the tales of Brer Rabbit that my great grand dad used to tell me. They are great stories, but are easier to listen to than read due to the book being written in the dialect of the post emancipation negro.
Jon Mills
Takes a bit of work to read since it is written in a Southern dialect, but I found reading it out loud helped. Wonderful stories that are a part of the American tapestry and tend to transport the reader back to that thine and place.
Christopher
ever want to know where splash mountain at Disneyland came from? how about the never to be seen again movie "The song of the south?" read these books.
Don Gubler
I finally gave up on the dialect. The shorter version was better but the introduction to this edition by Joel Chandler Harris was notable.
Samantha Glasser
Read this book for free through Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2306....
Daniel Evans
preserves the tales of the old plantation
Susanne
This is NOT the disney version of Uncle Remus.
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Joel Chandler Harris was an American journalist born in Eatonton, Georgia who wrote the Uncle Remus stories, including Uncle Remus; His Songs and His Sayings, The Folk-Lore of the Old Plantation, (1880), Nights with Uncle Remus (1881 & 1882), Uncle Remus and His Friends (1892), and Uncle Remus and the Little Boy (1905).

The stories, based on the African-American oral storytelling tradition, wer...more
More about Joel Chandler Harris...
The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus Brer Rabbit Again Brer Rabbit The Favorite Uncle Remus Uncle Remus

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