Louise Clarke Pyrnelle

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Louise Clarke Pyrnelle (June 19, 1850 – August 26, 1907) was an Alabama writer.[1] Her works drew heavily from her childhood experiences growing up on an antebellum plantation.


Pyrnelle was born Elizabeth Louise Clarke on a cotton plantation in Perry County, Alabama. After the Civil War, the family moved to Dallas County, where her father opened a medical practice. She was educated in lecturing, and worked as a governess and public speaker.[2]

In 1880 she married John Parnell. Her novel Diddie, Dumps & Tot; or plantation child-life was published in 1882 under the pseudonym "Pyrnelle" – a slight variation on her husband's name. She would publish only one other work during her lifetime: a story called "Aunt Flora's Courtship and Marriage". She died in 1907.[2]


Diddie, Dumps & Tot; or plantation child-life, 1882

This novel was noted at the time for its use of the southern black vernacular, a dialect also used by Mark Twain and Joel Chandler Harris, and which was thought to add "authenticity" to writing about the American South. The novel offered a nostalgic and romanticized view of antebellum plantation life, and was popular during the 19th and 20th centuries.[2]

Miss Li'l' Tweetty, 1917

This posthumously published novel describes the childhood experiences of a young girl named 'Tweetty'. Like Diddie, Dumps & Tot, its depictions of slavery were uncritical and nostalgic.[2]


  1. ^ This Goodly Land Author Information for Louise Clarke Pyrnelle Archived May 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b c d Kelley, Joyce. "Louise Clarke Pyrnelle". The Encyclopedia of Alabama. Auburn University. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 

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