Very OT: Uncle Remus frightened me as a child Re: "Jazz Means Happy and Loose Like" (1917)

Amy West medievalist at W-STS.COM
Tue Dec 4 14:47:13 UTC 2007

A personal anecdote:

I never read the Uncle Remus stories as a child. I have a distinct
memory of pulling it off the shelf of the branch library in
Tonawonda, NY, opening it, and not recognizing it as any type of
English I was familiar with -- and I was used to foreign languages
with my dad doing German and Russian translations -- nor the type of
English that my (white) Southern relations spoke. And it scared the
bejeesus out of me. I put that thing back on the shelf and never
touched it again.

---Amy West

>Date:    Mon, 3 Dec 2007 16:01:56 -0500
>From:    "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM>
>Subject: Re: "Jazz Means Happy and Loose Like" (1917)
>         "Rastus" seems to have been popularized by Brer Rastus, the
>deacon of a colored church, in the story "Uncle Remus's Church
>Experience," collected in Joel Chandler Harris, Uncle Remus, His Songs
>and His Sayings:  The Folk-Lore of the Old Plantation 190 - 93 (1881;
>copyright 1880) (Google Books full text).  But Harris does not seem to
>have invented the use.  Here's an earlier, passing example:
>         "While Brudder 'Rastus Putts passes round de hat, de
>congregashun will please sing de useal Ducksholiday to de same good ole
>Professor Julius Caesar Hannibal [probably a pseudonym], Black Diamonds;
>or, Humor, Satire and Sentiment, Treated Scientifically 15 (1857;
>copyright 1855) (Google Books full text).
>John Baker

The American Dialect Society -

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