Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thackeray quote on minstrel shows

Quoted in Love and theft: blackface minstrelsy and the American working class. By Eric Lott

The English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century

I heard a humourous balladist not long ago, a minstrel with wool on his head and an ultra-Ethopian complexion, who performed a [N]egro ballad that I confess moistened these spectacles in a most unexpected manner. They have gazed at dozens of tragedy-queens, dying on the stage, and expiring in appropriate blank verse, and I never wanted to wipe them. They have looked up, with deep respect be it said, at many scores of clergymen in pulpits, and without being dimmed; and behold a vagabond with a corked face and a banjo sings a little song, strikes a wild note which sets the whole heart thrilling with happy pity. (187)

LECTURE THE SEVENTH Charity and Humor : p. 285



On Charity and Humor

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–63)


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