Uncle Tom's Cabin: Or, Life among the Lowly

( 9 )

Overview

Uncle Tom's Cabin was a sensation upon its publication in 1852. In its first year it sold 300,000 copies, and has since been translated into more than twenty languages. This powerful story of one slave's unbreakable spirit holds an important place in American history, as it helped solidify the anti-slavery sentiments of the North, and moved a nation to civil war.

A guide to reading "Uncle Tom's Cabin" with a critical and appreciative mind encouraging analysis of ...

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Overview

Uncle Tom's Cabin was a sensation upon its publication in 1852. In its first year it sold 300,000 copies, and has since been translated into more than twenty languages. This powerful story of one slave's unbreakable spirit holds an important place in American history, as it helped solidify the anti-slavery sentiments of the North, and moved a nation to civil war.

A guide to reading "Uncle Tom's Cabin" with a critical and appreciative mind encouraging analysis of plot, style, form, and structure. Also includes background on the author's life and times, sample tests, term paper suggestions, and a reading list.

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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

From Barnes & Noble
The narrative drive of Stowe's classic novel is often overlooked in the heat of the controversies surrounding its anti-slavery sentiments. In fact, it is a compelling adventure story with richly drawn stories & has earned a place in both literary & American history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674034075
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2009
  • Series: John Harvard Library Series , #107
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 624
  • Sales rank: 701,033
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 - July 1, 1896) was an American abolitionist and author. Her 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 United States and United Kingdom. It energized anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the South. She wrote more than 20 books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters. She was influential both for her writings and her public stands on social issues of the day.

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

Read an Excerpt

Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February, two gentlemen were sitting alone
over their wine, in a well-furnished dining parlor, in the town of P—, in Kentucky.
There were no servants present, and the gentlemen, with chairs closely
approaching, seemed to be discussing some subject with great earnestness.

For convenience sake, we have said, hitherto, two gentlemen. One of the parties,
however, when critically examined, did not seem, strictly speaking, to come under
the species. He was a short, thick-set man, with coarse, commonplace features, and
that swaggering air of pretension which marks a low man who is trying to elbow his
way upward in the world. He was much over-dressed, in a gaudy vest of many
colors, a blue neckerchief, bedropped gayly with yellow spots, and arranged with a
flaunting tie, quite in keeping with the general air of the man. His hands, large and
coarse, were plentifully bedecked with rings; and he wore a heavy gold
watch-chain, with a bundle of seals of portentous size, and a great variety of colors,
attached to it,—which, in the ardor of conversation, he was in the habit of
flourishing and jingling with evident satisfaction. His conversation was in free and
easy defiance of Murray's Grammar, and was garnished at convenient intervals with
various profane expressions, which not eventhe desire to be graphic in our account
shall induce us to transcribe.

His companion, Mr. Shelby, had the appearance of a gentleman; and the
arrangements of the house, and the general air of the housekeeping, indicated easy,
and even opulent circumstances. As we before stated, the two were in the midst of
an earnest conversation.

'That is the way I should arrange the matter,' said Mr. Shelby.

'I can't make trade that way—I positively can't, Mr. Shelby,' said the other, holding
up a glass of wine between his eye and the light.

'Why, the fact is, Haley, Tom is an uncommon fellow; he is certainly worth that sum
anywhere—steady, honest, capable, manages my whole farm like a clock.'

'You mean honest, as niggers go,' said Haley, helping himself to a glass of brandy.

'No; I mean, really, Tom is a good, steady, sensible, pious fellow. He got religion at
a camp-meeting, four years ago; and I believe he really did get it. I've trusted him,
since then, with everything I have,—money, house, horses,—and let him come and
go round the country; and I always found him true and square in everything.'

'Some folks don't believe there is pious niggers, Shelby,' said Haley, with a candid
flourish of his hand, 'but I do. I had a fellow, now, in this yer last lot I took to
Orleans—'twas as good as a meetin', now, really, to hear that critter pray; and he was
quite gentle and quiet like. He fetched me a good sum, too, for I bought him cheap
of a man that was 'bliged to sell out; so I realized six hundred on him. Yes, I consider
religion a valeyable thing in a nigger, when it's the genuine article, and no mistake.'

'Well, Tom's got the real article, if ever a fellow had,' rejoined the other. 'Why, last
fall, I let him go to Cincinnati alone, to do business for me, and bring home five
hundred dollars. 'Tom,' says I to him, 'I trust you, because I think you're a
Christian—'I know you wouldn't cheat.' Tom comes back, sure enough; I knew he
would. Some low fellows, they say, said to him—'Tom, why don't you make tracks
for Canada?' 'Ah, master trusted me, and I couldn't'—they told me about it. I am sorry
to part with Tom, I must say. You ought to let him cover the whole balance of the
debt; and you would, Haley, if you had any conscience.'

'Well, I've got just as much conscience as any man in business can afford to
keep,—just a little, you know, to swear by, as 'twere,' said the trader, jocularly; 'and
then, I'm ready to do anything in reason to 'blige friends; but this yer, you see, is a
leetle too hard on a fellow—a leetle too hard.' The trader sighed contemplatively, and
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Table of Contents

Vol. I
I In Which the Reader Is Introduced to a Man of Humanity 7
II The Mother 17
III The Husband and Father 20
IV An Evening in Uncle Tom's Cabin 25
V Showing the Feelings of Living Property on Changing Owners 37
VI Discovery 45
VII The Mother's Struggle 54
VIII Eliza's Escape 67
IX In Which It Appears That a Senator Is But a Man 82
X The Property Is Carried Off 99
XI In Which Property Gets into an Improper State of Mind 108
XII Select Incident of Lawful Trade 122
XIII The Quaker Settlement 139
XIV Evangeline 148
XV Of Tom's New Master, and Various Other Matters 158
XVI Tom's Mistress and Her Opinions 174
XVII The Freeman's Defence 193
XVIII Miss Ophelia's Experiences and Opinions 209
Vol. II
XIX Miss Ophelia's Experiences and Opinions, Continued 226
XX Topsy 245
XXI Kentuck 260
XXII "The Grass Withereth--the Flower Fadeth" 265
XXIII Henrique 272
XXIV Foreshadowings 280
XXV The Little Evangelist 286
XXVI Death 291
XXVII "This Is the Last of Earth" 304
XXVIII Reunion 312
XXIX The Unprotected 326
XXX The Slave Warehouse 334
XXXI The Middle Passage 344
XXXII Dark Places 350
XXXIII Cassy 359
XXXIV The Quadroon's Story 366
XXXV The Tokens 377
XXXVI Emmeline and Cassy 383
XXXVII Liberty 390
XXXVIII The Victory 396
XXXIX The Stratagem 406
XL The Martyr 416
XLI The Young Master 423
XLII An Authentic Ghost Story 429
XLIII Results 436
XLIV The Liberator 444
XLV Concluding Remarks 447
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Reading Group Guide

Uncle Tom, Topsy, Sambo, Simon Legree, little Eva: their names are American bywords, and all of them are characters in Harriet Beecher Stowe's remarkable novel of the pre-Civil War South. Uncle Tom's Cabin was revolutionary in 1852 for its passionate indictment of slavery and for its presentation of Tom, "a man of humanity," as the first black hero in American fiction. Labeled racist and condescending by some contemporary critics, it remains a shocking, controversial, and powerful work -- exposing the attitudes of white nineteenth-century society toward "the peculiar institution" and documenting, in heartrending detail, the tragic breakup of black Kentucky families "sold down the river." An immediate international sensation, Uncle Tom's Cabin sold 300,000 copies in the first year, was translated into thirty-seven languages, and has never gone out of print: its political impact was immense, its emotional influence immeasurable.


From the Paperback edition.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    Lied about exact copy

    I had my hopes, but it is a mess. Deleting.

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    Posted April 26, 2013

    Hlhp

    Uplgyoyhl ruvlpy

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    Posted March 17, 2013

    ?

    So is it still good to get or does it have many typos

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