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With roots in the Old World and fertile ground in the New World, the tall tale ourished in America, especially within the boasting, expansive atmosphere of the American frontier (Burrison 1991: 6–7). Hunting, fishing, weather, domestic life, and agriculture were popular topics, and opportunities for artful exaggeration were numerous. This paper examines the tall tale as artistic folk humor in which the narrative is carefully constructed and performed for best effect. Field recordings, printed texts, and folklore-archive texts will provide examples for analysis. Finally, examples of tall-tale postcards add a visual dimension to the genre.

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