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We Go PogoWalt Kelly, Politics, and American Satire$
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Kerry D. Soper

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781617032844

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617032844.001.0001

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date: 18 December 2017

Representations of Race, and Borrowings from African American Folk Forms in Kelly’s Work

Representations of Race, and Borrowings from African American Folk Forms in Kelly’s Work

Chapter:
(p.137) Chapter 4 Representations of Race, and Borrowings from African American Folk Forms in Kelly’s Work
Source:
We Go Pogo
Author(s):

Kerry D. Soper

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781617032844.003.0005

This chapter compares Kelly’s work to a spectrum of borrowings ranging from opportunistic and punishing distortions to progressive reworkings. Included in the discussion are Joel Chandler Harris, Mark Twain, and George Herriman, and Kelly’s contemporaries, including Jack Kerouac, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan. In a time where artists regularly exploited or dismissed African-American forms, Kelly was not among them. An evaluation of Kelly’s intentions and methods reveals he was a Northeastern, working-class liberal-intellectual who admired the “authenticity” and vitality of Southern ethnic folk life and championed the rights of African Americans. However, it also shows that his knowledge and reinterpretation of this culture was largely based on romantic and reductive images and ideals.

Keywords:   punishing distortions, progressive reworkings, Joel Chandler Harris, Mark Twain, George Herriman, Kerouac, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan

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