Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Herman Charles Bosman was a South African writer and a contemporary of William Faulkner. Both writers used the traditions of the American folk humorists in much of their work. This study has set out to define these traditions, and to demonstrate the use of folk humor by both writers, who used it for different reasons and with different results. The locales in which these tales take place are first examined, as are the protagonists, the folk who live in Faulkner’s Frenchman’s Bend and Bosman's Groot Marico. Then the origin and development of folk humor is explored, and its traditions are defined in six categories: point-of view, form, style, plot, setting, and character. By using these six categories, the use of folk humor by both Faulkner and Bosman is demonstrated. They use humor primarily to entertain, but both have additional reasons for its use. Bosman sets out to criticize the society which he portrays, and he uses humor to make this didactic approach palatable to his reading public. Faulkner, in The Hamlet and As I Lay Dying, his two novels about the folk, uses folk humor to balance and complement the underlying tragedy inherent in them. The use of folk humor by Faulkner and Bosman is successful in both cases, and has earned them critical acclaim, which is supported by this study.


Dr. Samuel J. Sackett

Date of Award

Summer 1973

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1973 Robert G. Dickson


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