The Annotated Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Overview

Henry Louis Gates Jr. redefines Uncle Tom's Cabin with this seminal interpretation of the great American novel.
Declared worthless and dehumanizing by James Baldwin in 1949, Uncle Tom's Cabin 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. Uncle Tom's Cabin, first published in 1852, galvanized the American public as no other work of ...

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Overview

Henry Louis Gates Jr. redefines Uncle Tom's Cabin with this seminal interpretation of the great American novel.
Declared worthless and dehumanizing by James Baldwin in 1949, Uncle Tom's Cabin 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. Uncle Tom's Cabin, 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war!" Some historians still dispute that Abraham Lincoln actually spoke these words to Harriet Beecher Stowe when he met her in 1862, but there is no doubt that the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin did change history. Her 1852 novel galvanized northern opinion against the cruelties of slavery and became a marching cry for its abolition. It also became the bestselling novel of its time. And then it faded into a historical footnote, dismissed by James Baldwin and others as a dehumanizing, racist tract. The Annotated Uncle Tom's Cabin, edited by noted critic Henry Louis Gates Jr., rescues this literary classic from unjust neglect and ignominy. Extensively illustrated.
Library Journal
Stowe's often-challenged novel gets the red-carpet treatment. This annotated version was edited by scholars Henry Louis Gates and Hollis Robbins, who also provide the introduction and notes. The text additionally is buttressed by 150 black-and-white illustrations and 32 pages of color artwork. One of the finest editions of this book to date. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393059465
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/13/2006
  • Series: The Annotated Bks.
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 768
  • Sales rank: 383,794
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Harriet Beecher Stowe

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.

Biography

Harriet Beecher Stowe was born on June 14, 1811, in Litchfield, Connecticut, to Lyman Beecher, a Calvinist preacher and activist in the antislavery movement, and Roxana Foote, a deeply religious woman who died when Stowe was four years old. Precocious and independent as a child, Stowe enrolled in the seminary run by her eldest sister, Catharine, where she received a traditionally "male" education. At the age of twenty-one, she moved to Cincinnati to join her father who had become the president of Lane Theological Seminary, and in 1936 she married Calvin Ellis Stowe, a professor at the seminary and an ardent critic of slavery. The Stowes supported the Underground Railroad and housed several fugitive slaves in their home. They eventually moved to Brunswick, Maine, where Calvin taught at Bowdoin College.

In 1850 congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law, prohibiting assistance to fugitives. Stowe was moved to present her objections on paper, and in June 1851 the first installment of Uncle Tom's Cabin a appeared in the antislavery journal National Era. The forty-year-old mother of seven children sparked a national debate and, as Abraham Lincoln is said to have noted, a war.

Uncle Tom's Cabin: Or, Life Among the Lowly met with mixed reviews when it appeared in book form in 1852 but soon became an international bestseller. Some critics dismissed it as abolitionist propaganda, while others hailed it as a masterpiece. The great Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy praised Uncle Tom's Cabin as "flowing from love of God and man." Stowe presented her sources to substantiate her claims in A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin: Presenting the Original Facts and Documents Upon Which It Is Based, published in 1853. Another antislavery novel, Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp, appeared in 1856 but was received with neither the notoriety nor the success of Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Stowe fueled another controversy in The True Story of Lady Byron's Life (1869), in which she accused the poet Lord Byron of having an incestuous love affair with his half sister, Lady Byron. She also took up the topic of domestic culture in works that include The New Housekeeper's Manual (1873), written with her sister Catharine. Stowe died on July 1, 1896, at age eighty-five, in Hartford, Connecticut.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Good To Know

After its publication in 1852, Uncle Tom's Cabin sold more copies than any other book up to that point, with the exception of the Bible.

When it was becoming a sensation around the world, Uncle Tom's Cabin was smuggled into Russia, in Yiddish to evade the czarist censor.

Between 1853 and 1859, Stowe made several trips to Europe, and forged friendships with fellow writers George Eliot and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Christopher Crowfield
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 14, 1811
    2. Place of Birth:
      Litchfield, Connecticut
    1. Date of Death:
      July 1, 1896
    2. Place of Death:
      Hartford, Connecticut

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