Uncle Tom's Cabin (Paperback)
Edited and with an Introduction and Notes by Dr Keith Carabine. University of Kent at Canterbury.
Uncle Tom's Cabin is the most popular, influential and controversial book written by an American. Stowe's rich, panoramic novel passionately dramatises why the whole of America is implicated in and responsible for the sin of slavery, and resoundingly concludes that only ‘repentance, justice and mercy’ will prevent the onset of ‘the wrath of Almighty God ’.
The novel gave such a terrific impetus to the crusade for the abolition of slavery that President Lincoln half-jokingly greeted Stowe as‘the little lady’ who started the great Civil War. As Keith Carabine argues in his lively and provocative Introduction, the novel immediately provoked a storm of competing and contradictory responses among Northern and Southern readers, moderate and radical abolitionist groups, blacks and women, with regard to issues of form, genre, politics, religion, race and gender, that are still of great interest because they anticipate the concerns that vex and divide modern readers and critical constituencies.
About the Author
Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American author and abolitionist. Born in Litchfield, Connecticut, she was raised in a deeply religious family and educated in a seminary school run by her elder sister. In her adult life, Stowe married biblical scholar and abolitionist Calvin Ellis Stowe, who would later go on to work as Harriet's literary agent, and the two participated in the Underground Railroad by providing temporary refuge for escaped slaves travelling to the American North. Shortly before the outbreak of the American Civil War, Stowe published her most famous work, Uncle Tom's Cabin, a stark and sympathetic depiction of the desperate lives of African American slaves. The book went on to see unprecedented sales, and informed American and European attitudes towards abolition. In the years leading up to her death, suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease, Stowe is said to have begun re-writing Uncle Tom's Cabin, almost word-for-word, believing that she was writing the original manuscript once again. Stowe died in July 1, 1896 at the age of eighty-five.
Keith Carabine, Senior Honorary Research Fellow, University of Kent at Canterbury, and Chair of the Joseph Conrad Society (UK), is the author of The Life and Art: A Study of Conrad's 'Under Western Eyes' (1996) and the literary editor of Wordsworth Classics. He has also written on Sherwood Anderson, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Hawthorne, Hemingway, Wright Morris and Harriet Beecher Stowe.