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Southern Frontier HumorNew Approaches$
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Ed Piacentino

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781617037689

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617037689.001.0001

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Postmodern Humor ante Litteram

Postmodern Humor ante Litteram

Self-Reflexivity, Incongruity, and Dialect in George Washington Harris’s Yarns Spun

(p.193) Postmodern Humor ante Litteram
Southern Frontier Humor

Mark S. Graybill

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines southern frontier humor in the contexts of semiotics, comedy, and self-reflexivity by focusing on George Washington Harris’s Sut Lovingood: Yarns. It analyzes Sut Lovingood within the framework of postmodernism and Harris’s use of “a kind of pre-postmodern self-reflexivity,” arguing that his linguistic gymnastics fit rather comfortably beside those of postmodern writers such as John Barth, Kurt Vonnegut, and Thomas Pynchon. It also considers Harris’s use of comic language in his fiction and the way it negotiates the tense boundary between “creative imagination” and “uncertainty about the validity of its representations” on one hand, and between belief in “literary form” and “a pervasive insecurity about the relationship” of that form to reality, on the other hand.

Keywords:   southern frontier humor, semiotics, comedy, self-reflexivity, George Washington Harris, Sut Lovingood, Yarns, postmodernism, creative imagination, literary form

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