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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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Sherwood Bonner and the Postbellum Legacy of Southwestern Humor

Sherwood Bonner and the Postbellum Legacy of Southwestern Humor

(p.104) Sherwood Bonner and the Postbellum Legacy of Southwestern Humor
Southern Frontier Humor

Kathryn McKee

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines four of Sherwood Bonner’s stories—“Hieronymus Pop and the Baby,” “Dr. Jex’s Predicament,” “Aunt Anniky’s Teeth,” and “The Gentlemen of Sarsar”—and their close affinities to the genre of southern frontier humor. It considers Bonner’s humor in relation to southern culture as well as expectations for both race and gender in postbellum America. It also discusses how Bonner’s stories address not only changing roles for black and white men and women, but also humor as a means of resisting the simultaneous instantiation of restrictively contoured white womanhood at the center of nascent Lost Cause ideology. It argues that Bonner significantly modified and expanded the “conventions” of antebellum southern humor, reconfiguring them in such a way as to challenge some of the prevailing expectations for both women’s literature and regional writing during the period.

Keywords:   southern frontier humor, Sherwood Bonner, southern culture, race, gender, women, women’s literature

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