cover of book

Rowdy Tales from Early Alabama: The Humor of John Gorman Barr
by John Gorman Barr
edited by G. Ward Hubbs
University of Alabama Press, 1989
Cloth: 978-0-8173-0057-9 | Paper: 978-0-8173-0477-5 | eISBN: 978-0-8173-8871-3
Library of Congress Classification PS1074.B124R6 1981
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.3


The rollicking tales of Old Southwestern humor were a distinctive contribution to American folk culture provided by the frontiersmen of the South and Southwest, a tradition brought to its highest form in the work of Mark Twain. Among the precursors of Twain was John Gorman Barr of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Like Twain, Barr grew up in a river town, worked in a printing office, and traveled widely; and again like Twain, Barr drew upon the people and places of his home region as the primary sources for his tales.

In addition to the pure entertainment Barr’s stories provide, they also furnish a comprehensive picture of Tuscaloosa and western Alabama in the 1850s—the roaring river town coexisting uneasily with the intellectual sophistication of the recently established University of Alabama.

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