Harold Farwell and J. My mother, who was in their bedroom in the rear of the apartment, said she heard some-thing fall. Sometimes I think a writer's work is his own best autobiography, certainly, and as much biography as he needs. My father died about five weeks before his fifty-second birthday. Smoky Mountain Voices will be of interest to dialectologists, historians of American English, students of regional literature, scholars of folk life, and laypersons interested in Southern Appalachia.
But I'm doing this because of two things: What these days might be called a lack of "closure" absolutely overwhelmed me, and one way or another I have been looking for my father ever since. The much harder part, though, was the realization that I was in some ways on a fool's errand. At least, that's what I've seen and heard from those who got to go through it, and as I've experienced it from the father side with my own son. Smokey Mountain Voices is a dictionary of Southern Appalachian speech based on Kephart's journals and publications; it is also a compendium of mountain lore. In spite of its rampant self-absorption, crudities, cynicisms, vulgarities, and erupting juices of sexuality, fifteen is a tender age. Many of the "ordinary" words that comprised an important part of the language of the mountaineers are preserved here thanks to Kephart's meticulous collecting. Kephart, a librarian with an interest in languages and in the American Frontier, left his career and his family in midlife to settle in what was at the turn of the century the wilds of the Great Smokey Mountains. I looked through it quickly and was intrigued right away, but didn't have the time to do anything with it. I was the youngest of four children; fifteen; and, with my older brother, Bill, a high school student in Virginia. Over a period of about a year I managed to root around considerably more--along with my son, daughter, and wife--and eventually I knew I'd have to mess with it in a much more formal and intentional way. But I was suddenly and unexpectedly cut off from that chance. Smoky Mountain Voices will be of interest to dialectologists, historians of American English, students of regional literature, scholars of folk life, and laypersons interested in Southern Appalachia. But that was the simple part: That is, my parents were. The editors have incorporated the original quotations with Kephart's definitions and explanations to create a rich source for the study of southern mountain speech. I expect there'll never be one of those, and that's probably just as well. At the time, we were living in New York City. Karl Nicholas have compiled not only quaint and peculiar words, but jokes and comic exchanges. Maybe vulnerable is more accurate. My father died about five weeks before his fifty-second birthday. Within five minutes he was dead. An assiduous collector and observer, he compiled twenty-six journals of notes on the folkways and speech of the Southern Appalachians at a time when the region was still largely isolated. One way or another his wrenching disappearance has informed virtually everything I myself have ever written. My mother, who was in their bedroom in the rear of the apartment, said she heard some-thing fall. Harold Farwell and J.
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