Rethinking Uncle Tom: The Political Thought of Harriet Beecher Stowe

Rethinking Uncle Tom: The Political Thought of Harriet Beecher Stowe

by William B. Allen
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0739127985

ISBN-13: 9780739127988

Pub. Date: 03/16/2009

Publisher: Lexington Books

Generally critics and interpreters of Uncle Tom have constructed a one-way view, albeit offering a few kind words for him along the way. Recovering Uncle Tom requires retelling his story. This book delivers on that task, while accomplishing something no other work on Harriet Beecher Stowe has fully attempted: an in-depth statement of her political thought. Her

Overview

Generally critics and interpreters of Uncle Tom have constructed a one-way view, albeit offering a few kind words for him along the way. Recovering Uncle Tom requires retelling his story. This book delivers on that task, while accomplishing something no other work on Harriet Beecher Stowe has fully attempted: an in-depth statement of her political thought. Her oeuvre, in partnership with that of her husband, Calvin, constitutes a demonstration of the permanent necessity of moral and prudential judgment in human affairs. It identifies the political conditions that can best guarantee conditions of decency. Her two disciplines-philosophy and poetry-illuminate the founding principles of the American republic and remedy defects in their realization that were evident in the mid-nineteenth century. While slavery is not the only defect, its persistence and expansion indicate the overall defects. In four of her chief works (Uncle Tom's Cabin, Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands, Dred, and Oldtown Folks), Stowe teaches not only how to eliminate the defect of slavery, but also how to realize and maintain a regime founded on the basis of natural rights and Christianity.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780739127988
Publisher:
Lexington Books
Publication date:
03/16/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
484
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.80(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface xi

Book I The Ghostly Cry: Uncle Tom's Cabin

Part I

1 The Question of Equality 5

2 The Real Alternatives 13

3 Standards of Humanity 27

4 Stowe's Own "Introductions" 31

5 A Little Wine and Brandy: The Narrative Begins 49

6 Patriarchy, Matriarchy, and Other Myths of Slavery 59

7 The Birth of Uncle Tom 69

8 The Kinesis of Slavery and the Science of Natures 83

9 "What Country Have I?" 95

10 We Have No City 107

11 The Light of the Present 121

12 Myth Making and the End 147

13 An Unaccountable Prejudice 155

14 Triumph 169

Part II

15 The Genealogy of Uncle Tom 185

16 Calvin's Ideas 201

17 The Central Problem: Slavery 213

18 The General Significance of Uncle Tom's Cabin 237

Book II Non-utopian Optimism: Harriet Stowe's Evangelical Liberalism

Part I The Middle Passage: Sunny Memories

19 An American Campaign Abroad 253

20 A Cause Célèbre 277

21 Seasickness; or, the Way Things Really Look 287

22 The Scotland Campaign: A Beginning and End of Liberal History 293

23 The Practical Politics of the Matter 347

24 The Defense of Melodrama 381

25 Pre-Utopian Reflections 393

Part II Salvation

26 Anutopia 409

27 Coda: Was Harriet Stowe a Racist? 437

28 Postscript 441

Bibliography 443

Index 455

About the Author 463

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