New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1881. First edition. First printing with "presumptive" on page 9 and the correct ads in the back (BAL 7100). Bound in the publisher's red cloth, one of several cloth variants, but one of the least common cloth colors. Cloth worn, particularly at the spine ends and some fading to the spine. Previous owner's gift inscription, the odd mark or stain throughout, but complete and unrestored.
First published in 1881, Uncle Remus was a landmark collection of African American fables and oral tradition that was adapted and edited by Joel Chandler Harris. The work includes 185 tales, which are woven together through the character of Uncle Remus, an older ex-slave who tells the stories to a group of children. The stories were actually written in dialect and many of them center around the character of Br’er (Brother) Rabbit, a kind of clever trickster. Read widely, the book was extremely popular as many people had not been exposed to the tales, lifestyles, and ways of speaking that the book depicted. Mark Twain himself was a fan: “…in the matter of writing [the African-American dialect], he is the only master the country has produced.” Despite its acclaim, the book has been somewhat controversial, with some questioning Harris’ role in shaping the stories themselves. “But it is not merely as a collection of folk- lore that this book deserves notice. It is a valuable study of dialect…” (Contemporary review in The Dial). On both the Grolier Club's and Merle Johnson's lists for most important works of American literature. Good + (Item #2879)