‘The Anthology of American Folk Music is an extraordinary cultural entity, one that has assumed mythical status. And Ross Hair and Thomas Ruys Smith’s fascinating collection manages to preserve our wonder at the music and at the eccentricity of its curator, while bringing new insights and fresh arguments to its history. Just as the Anthology is full of strange delights, so too is this book.'
John Street, University of East Anglia
'The Anthology of American Folk Music is a talismanic casket of musical treasures, containing the key to decoding the tangled patterns of Harry Smith’s interests in multiple art forms. This valuable essay collection offers invigorating and learned perspectives on the Anthology and its connections with folklore, magic, and hidden histories of America. It’s a celebration of Smith’s maverick verve and shamanic energy, reinstating him as a wonder-working polymath whose occult activities rippled out widely into 20th century culture.'
Rob Young, The Wire
About the Author
Ross Hair is a lecturer in American Literature and Culture at the University of East Anglia, UK. He is the author of Ronald Johnson’s Modernist Collage Poetry (2010) and Avant-Folk: Small Press Poetry Networks from 1950 to the Present (2016). His essays on modern American and British poetry have appeared in, among other publications, the Journal of Modern Literature, Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, and Texas Studies in Literature and Language.
Thomas Ruys Smith is Senior Lecturer in American Literature and Culture at the University of East Anglia, UK. He is the author of River of Dreams: Imagining the Mississippi Before Mark Twain (2007), and Southern Queen: New Orleans in the Nineteenth Century (2011). He is also the editor of Blacklegs, Card Sharps and Confidence Men: Nineteenth-Century Mississippi River Gambling Stories (2010), and, with Sarah Churchwell, Must Read: Rediscovering American Bestsellers, from Charlotte Temple to The Kite Runner (2012).