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The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus

The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus (Hardcover) by Joel Chandler Harris (Author), Richard Chase (Compiler)

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From Publishers Weekly

Brer Rabbit and friends return in The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris. Originally issued in 1955 and compiled by folklorist Richard Chase, the collection includes all the original stories (the first of which appeared in 1880), b&w artwork and glossary. Barbara McClintock provides updated jacket art.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Included in this volume are all the stories from the following collections:

Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings

Nights with Uncle Remus: Myths and Legends of the Old Plantation

Daddy Jake, the Runaway: And Short Stories Told After Dark

Uncle Remus and his Friends: Old Plantation Stories, Songs, and Ballads with Sketches of Negro Character

Told By Uncle Remus: New Stories of the Old Plantation

Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbit

Uncle Remus and the Little Boy

Uncle Remus Returns

Seven Tales of Uncle Remus

Contemporary Reviews

Excerpt from the serialized edition of Nights with Uncle Remus from the July 1883 issue of The Century: a popular quarterly


5 out of 5 stars The best folktales., May 30, 2003

By Ruth Henriquez Lyon (Duluth, Minnesota USA) (REAL NAME)       

These animal stories were banned in the late sixties from many schools and libraries for being racist (the storyteller in the book, Uncle Remus, is a slave and uses the "n" word). But it seems that it's now ok to like these stories again, and a good thing that is, because they are not only hilariously funny, they are also deeply revealing of the foibles of us humans. But perhaps most importantly, they are a treasure trove of African American folklore.

The stories combine folktale motifs brought from Africa by slaves with those of the native peoples of the south, particularly the Cherokee and Choctaw. Since both cultures had stories with animal characters, and specifically trickster rabbit characters, ethnologists have not been able to completely determine which elements are the African and which are the Native American. No matter, since the two storytelling traditions blend together seamlessly.

This edition is the most encyclopedic of all the Uncle Remus collections, and contains many different types of tales. There are origin tales, like how Mr. Dog originally came to live with Mr. Man and why Mr. Cricket has elbows on his legs. There are satirical tales, like the one in which Brer Rabbit convinces Brer Fox that it's the fashion in town for up-to-date foxes to have their heads cut off, which is information that Brer Fox, out of vanity, acts on in the way Brer Rabbit hopes. There are Trickster tales --mostly involving Brer Rabbit and Brer Tortoise (who is the only character who can out-trickster Rabbit). And there are tales of witches, magic, and superstition specific to Africa.

It's written in Southern African-American dialect of the 19th century, which can be tough going for some, but there is a glossary in the back (which I didn't realize was there for over a year) that helps. Also, the stories demand to be read out loud, being originally of an oral tradition, and I think you will find that reading them aloud while just following the given spelling will make the dialect more understandable than just reading it silently.

These stories are so wonderful that my teenaged sons, who think it's "babyish" to be read to, will still allow me to read Brer Rabbit tales to them. If you are looking for great Literature that's funny and easy to read, buy this book and have a really good time!

5 out of 5 stars Love This Book, August 12, 1999

By A Customer

This review is from: The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus (Hardcover)

Joel Chandler Harris is all anyone needs to know to get a great introduction to and immersion in the folk tales and dialects of the southeastern US. The tales are charming, amusing, instructive. The presentation lives up to the standard set by the tales. Harris had an excellent ear for the rhythms and sounds, and although the text may be difficult to read at times, the effort is well rewarded. The book also contains a glossary of terms that may not be familiar to today's reader. If there is still difficulty, reading the text aloud will alleviate most of them.

4 out of 5 stars Endless Supply of Bedtime Stories, July 18, 1996

By A Customer

This review is from: The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus (Hardcover)

Joel Chandler Harris brilliantly recorded the stories told on the southern plantation. Some of these stories have their origins in West Africa and were brought over (obviously) with the slave trade. But the stories are entertaining, laugh out loud funny, and naturalistic. Even though the animals in the stories(Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, etc.) are anthropomorphized, they also convey aspects of their essential natures in the wild. My husband reads me a story every night before we go to sleep. Unfortunately, because Harris was trying to write phonetically the dialect of the black slaves who were telling the stories, reading the stories takes a bit of practice. You have to get used to his spellings. For example, "bimeby" means "by and by." So, children may not be able to follow you if you read this outloud to them. A wonderful book which covers all the famous stories which you have heard of and never read yourself (Tar Baby, Rabbit in the Briar Patch) and also the not so famous stories. A real cultural education for Americans of every race and background. Highly recommended if you enjoy folk art and folk culture[.]

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