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Introduction to The Tar-Baby and Other Rhymes of Uncle Remus

Author's Note

WITH  the exception of the Tar-Baby story and one other, all the folk-lore stories herein embodied are new, having come into my hands from various sources during the past ten years. The Tar-Baby story has been thrown into a rhymed form for the purpose of presenting and preserving what seems to be the genuine version. Those who care for the narratives themselves will no doubt overlook the somewhat monotonous character of the verse. When Uncle Remus sets himself to produce new stories in a form that would seem alien to his methods, it is inevitable that his efforts should move along the line of least resistance, which in English is the iambic four-beat movement, the simplest form of narrative verse. Under the circumstances, and in view of this environment, it is natural that he should pay small attention to the misleading rules of the professors of prosody, who seem to have not the slightest notion of the science of English verse. His instinctive love of melody, and his appreciation of the simplest rhythmical movement, would lead him to ignore syllables and accents and to depend wholly on the time-movement that is inseparable from English verse.

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