This novel must be read in the context of its own time. Looking at the book with 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 attach 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. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
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.
An interpretation of the American classic refutes statements about the work's dehumanizing qualities as cited by James Baldwin in 1955, explaining how it served to raise period awareness about slavery and abolitionism and continues to provide insight into modern race relations and other social issues. 30,000 first printing.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. redefines with this seminal interpretation of the great American novel.
About the Author
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was an American abolitionist and author. Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) depicted life for African-Americans under slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the U.S. and Britain and made the political issues of the 1850s regarding slavery tangible to millions.Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Ph.D.Cambridge), is Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and American Research, Harvard University. He is the author of Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008; Black in Latin America; Tradition and the Black Atlantic: Critical Theory in the African Diaspora; Faces of America; Figures in Black: Words, Signs, and the Racial Self; The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Criticism; Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars; Colored People: A Memoir; The Future of Race with Cornel West; Wonders of the African World; Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man; and The Trials of Phillis Wheatley. His is also the writer, producer, and narrator of PBS documentaries Finding Your Roots; Black in Latin America; Faces of America; African American Lives 1 and 2; Looking for Lincoln; America Beyond the Color Line; and Wonders of the African World. He is the editor of African American National Biography with Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, and The Dictionary of African Biography with Anthony Appiah; Encyclopedia Africana with Anthony Appiah; and The Bondwoman's Narrative by Hannah Crafts, as well as editor-in-chief of TheRoot.com.Hollis Robbins received a PhD from Princeton University in English literature. She teaches at Millsaps College in Mississippi.