Stowe in Her Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of Her Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates

Stowe in Her Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of Her Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates

by Susan Belasco
     
 

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One of the first celebrity authors, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–1896) became famous almost overnight when Uncle Tom’s Cabin—which sold more than 300,000 copies in its first year of publication—appeared in 1852. Known by virtually all famous writers in the United States and many in England and regarded by many women writers as a role

Overview

One of the first celebrity authors, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–1896) became famous almost overnight when Uncle Tom’s Cabin—which sold more than 300,000 copies in its first year of publication—appeared in 1852. Known by virtually all famous writers in the United States and many in England and regarded by many women writers as a role model because of her influence in the literary marketplace, Stowe herself was the subject of many books, articles, essays, and poems during her lifetime.

This volume brings together for the first time a range of primary materials about Stowe’s private and public life written by family members, friends, and fellow writers who knew or were influenced by her before and after Uncle Tom’s Cabin catapulted her to fame. Included are periodical articles by Fanny Fern and Charles Dudley Warner; biographical essays by Sarah Josepha Hale and Rose Terry Cooke; letters by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Harriet Jacobs; recollections by Frederick Douglass, Annie Adams Fields, Isabella Beecher Hooker, and Charles Beecher; and poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar and John Greenleaf Whittier. An introduction at the beginning of each essay connects it to its historical and cultural context, explanatory notes provide information about people and places, and the book includes a detailed introduction and a chronology of Stowe’s life. 

The thirty-eight recollections gathered in Stowe in Her Own Time form a biographical narrative designed to provide several perspectives on the famous author, sometimes in conflict and sometimes in agreement but always perceptive. The figurewho emerges from this insightful, analytical collection is far more complex than the image she helped construct in her lifetime.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

These two publications demonstrate continuing interest in the life and work of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Harvard University's attractive, sturdy, and reasonably priced paperback of Uncle Tom's Cabin provides a brief introduction by David Bromwich (English, Yale) and a short chronology of Stowe's life. The novel was reprinted in various editions in England in 1852 owing to the lack of international copyright agreements at the time; this version follows the first American edition. Belasco's (English, women's & gender studies, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln) study of Stowe is an interesting mixture of 38 letters, diaries, and other writings regarding impressions and interactions with Stowe by her family members and contemporaries, as well as a few selections by Stowe. Belasco's knowledge comes across through her substantial introduction and thoughtful editing-each entry is prefaced by an informative paragraph that supplies helpful context and gives details on the author's relationship to Stowe. Writings by several notable figures are included, such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Mark Twain. A complex portrait of Stowe, who has been a controversial figure at times, emerges. Belasco's work is recommended for academic and public libraries with American literature collections. Libraries in need of a replacement copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin should consider picking up the new Harvard edition.
—Stacy Russo

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781587297823
Publisher:
University of Iowa Press
Publication date:
06/01/2009
Series:
Writers in Their Own Time
Edition description:
1
Pages:
332
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Susan Belasco is professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She has authored, coauthored, edited, and coedited numerous books and articles on American literature, including Leaves of Grass: The Sesquicentennial Essays, The Bedford Anthology of American Literature, and Periodical Literature in Nineteenth-Century America.

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