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The Annotated Uncle Tom's Cabinby Harriet Beech Stowe
This novel must be read in the context of its own time. Looking at the book from present-day eyes, it seems to contain, not characters, but caricatures. The characters in this book became larger than life over time and a series of emotions attached to them that were not intended in the beginning. Beautiful and poignant, Uncle Tom's Cabin changed history. Upon meeting the author, Abraham Lincoln said, "So you're the little lady who wrote the book that made this great war." She replied, "I did not write it. God wrote it. I merely did his dictation." While most of the book is painful to read, it is a sprawling story full of amazing characters and horrific events. It is a "slice-of-life" that we, as modern readers, can never truly understand, but it is well worth the uncomfortable reading in order to honor those who lived it.
Synopses & Reviews
Declared worthless and dehumanizing by James Baldwin in 1949, has lacked literary credibility for fifty years. Now, in a ringing refutation of Baldwin, Henry Louis Gates Jr. demonstrates the literary transcendence of Harriet Beecher Stowe's masterpiece. , first published in 1852, galvanized the American public as no other work of fiction has ever done. The editors animate pre-Civil War life with rich insights into the lives of slaves, abolitionists, and the American reading public. Examining the lingering effects of the novel, they provide new insights into emerging race-relation, women's, gay, and gender issues. With reproductions of rare prints, posters, and photographs, this book is also one of the most thorough anthologies of Uncle Tom images up to the present day.
"Variously beloved, denounced and dismissed over its 150-plus year history, Stowe's classic 1852 novel has been nothing if not productive. As Gates and Robbins note, the novel was vastly important in shaping American ideas and attitudes about race, but it also influenced the ways people thought about relationships and sexuality, and it continues to spur debate about the meanings of slavery and domesticity. Those are just some of the reasons it's an oft-assigned text in colleges, a market this beautifully annotated, wide-format edition addresses nicely. Joining seven other titles in Norton's handsomely produced 'Annotated' series, the book offers 32 pages of color illustrations (not seen by PW), 150 b&w period illustrations, and a two-column format that has Stowe's text at left, and the annotations at right." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Henry Louis Gates Jr. redefines with this seminal interpretation of the great American novel.
As Gates and his coeditor, Hollis Robbins, show, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," first published in 1852, galvanized the American public as no other work of fiction has ever done. In this spectacularly illustrated edition, the authors animate pre-Civil War life with rich insights into the lives of slaves, abolitionists, and the American reading public.
About the Author
Henry Louis Gates Jr., the W. E. B. Dubois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, has edited The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. He lives in Cambridge. Hollis Robbins received a PhD from Princeton University in English literature. She currently teaches at Millsaps College in Mississippi.
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