Allen Walker Read

CLASSIC  AMERICAN   GRAFFITI


EXCERPTS

Derivative: ass hole. A glossary of about 1400 (MS Harl. 1002) has the entry "podex, arce-hoole", as printed in Thomas Wright, A Volume of Vocabularies (1857), p. 183.

I have 10-1/2 in of Hard Cock as big as your arm and I have stretched hundreds of ass holes and cunts...
(Fresno, California, July 7, 1928)

If I had a girl and she was mine
I'de paint her ass with iodine
And on her belly I'de put a sign
Keep off the grass the hole is mine

(Yosemite National Park, California, July 11, 1928)

When you want to shit in ease
place your elbows on your knees
Put your hands against your chin
Let a fart and then begin
(Bryce Canyon National Monument, August 20, 1928)

First edition of the rare Lexical Evidence from Epigraphy in Western North America: A Glossarial Study of the Low Element in the English Vocabulary. Originally issued privately in 75 copies (Paris 1935). Published in 1977 (Maledicta Press Publications, vol. VI). Quality sewn, soft covers, 96 pages. ISBN 0-916500-06-3. $7.50

¶ "This study, an underground classic since its 1935 publication... presents graffiti collected especially from public lavatories, in the course of an extensive sight-seeing trip through the western United States and Canada in the summer of 1928.... [It] was eventually privately printed, with this proviso on the title page: 'Circulation restricted to students of linguistics, folk-lore, abnormal psychology, and allied branches of the social sciences.' In his preface, Read warned that, 'Judged merely as reading matter, the following work ... is abominally, incredibly obscene'; but he affirmed his belief that 'no emanation of the human spirit is too vile or too despicable to come under the record and analysis of the scientist.' -- The book begins with an introduction in three parts: 'The nature of obscenity,' 'Folk epigraphy,' and 'Bibliographical note.' Then follows the 'Glossary of stigmatized words,' presenting the data and analysis.... [Read's] observations are as valuable as ever for the psycholinguist, the sociolinguist, and the historian of language...."

-- Prof. William Bright, Language, June 1979



¶ "[This] volume had over the course of four decades virtually disappeared; only ten copies of the original are known to be in existence. Read's book is of historical significance not only because it is the first collection of folk epigraphy printed in the English language since...1731, but also because it has been the stimulus for graffiti research undertaken since 1935. -- Anyone even remotely interested in graffiti will find Classic American Graffiti a must."

-- William McNeil, Journal of American Folklore, Jan-Mar 1979



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