Over the years American writers have perceived Appalachia differently depending on how America has perceived itself. While those who have approved of the American way of life have looked down on mountain life, those who have disapproved have seen Appalachia as an alternative culture from which America might take a lesson (Appalachia, 65). In 1873 the journalist William Harney and the editors of Lippincott Magazine "discovered" Appalachia, and historian Henry Shapiro argues that since then America has thought of this mountainous portion of eight southern states as a discreet region, "in but not of America" (Appalachia, 4). In the 1870's writers caught up in what they saw as America's progress saw Appalachia as behind the times. For vacationers and local-color writers, who looked with wonder at colorful people, quaint customs, and picturesque scenes, Appalachia was a measure of how far America had come. At the turn of the century when writers of "uplift literature" accompanied the missionaries and teachers to the region, America's success became a measure of how far Appalachia had to go. These outsiders viewed Appalachians as ignorant, isolated hillbillies, poor, shiftless, and easily provoked.

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Copyright © 1987 University of North Carolina Press. This article first appeared in The Southern Literary Journal 20:1 (1987), 101-112.

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