WE decided to include four reviews of Uncle Remus collections, each from a different
era: 1881, 1892, 1919 and 1955. The passage of time and changing social mores show through
clearly in these pieces; while the earlier pieces can be generally characterized by racism
and ignorance of anthropology (an infant discipline until the 1920s), the latter one has a
much better handle on the tales' value as anthropological history.
The first four reviews come from The Dial and The Journal of American
Folklore; for variety, we also included a fifth piece - an 1892 Remus review from Punch,
the now-defunct British satire/intellectual journal. The short piece is interesting in
that it is completely removed from the American context; the author does not mention race
relations or anthropology. Instead, he compares the tales to similar British and European
collections from several centuries earlier.
Dial review of Songs and Sayings (1881)
Dial review of On the Plantation (1892)
Dial review of Uncle Remus Returns (1919)
Journal of American Folklore review of The Complete Tales (1955)
Punch review of On the Plantation (1892)