- Uncle Tom's Cabin
infobox Book |
name = Uncle Tom's Cabin
image_caption = "Uncle Tom's Cabin", Boston edition
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Hammatt Billings(1st edition)
country = United States
language = English
National Era(as a serial) & John P. Jewett and Company(in two volumes)
release_date = March 20, 1852
media_type = Print (Hardback &
isbn = NA
"Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly" is an anti-
slaverynovel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel had a profound effect on attitudes toward African Americans and slavery in the United States, so much so in the latter case that the novel intensified the sectional conflict leading to the American Civil War. ["The Civil War in American Culture" by Will Kaufman, Edinburgh University Press, 2006, page 18.]
Connecticut-born teacher at the Hartford Female Academy and an active abolitionist, focused the novel on the character of Uncle Tom, a long-suffering Black slave around whom the stories of other characters—both fellow slaves and slave owners—revolve. The sentimental noveldepicts the cruel reality of slavery while also asserting that Christian love can overcome something as destructive as enslavement of fellow human beings."Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Spark Publishers, 2002, page 19, where it states the novel is about the "destructive power of slavery and the ability of Christian love to overcome it…"] "The Complete Idiot's Guide to American Literature" by Laurie E. Rozakis, Alpha Books, 1999, page 125, where it states that one of the book's main messages is that "The slavery crisis can only be resolved by Christian love."] "Domestic Abolitionism and Juvenile Literature, 1830–1865" by Deborah C. de Rosa, SUNY Press, 2003, page 121, where the book quotes Jane Tompkins on how Stowe's strategy with the novel was to destroy slavery through the "saving power of Christian love." This quote is from [http://web.princeton.edu/sites/english/NEH/TOMPKINS.HTM "Sentimental Power: Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Politics of Literary History"] by Jane Tompkins, from "In Sensational Designs: The Cultural Work of American Fiction", 1790–1860. New York: Oxford UP, 1985. Pp. 122–146. In that essay, Tompkins also states "Stowe conceived her book as an instrument for bringing about the day when the world would be ruled not by force, but by Christian love."]
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" was the best-selling novel of the 19th century"The Sentimental Novel: The Example of Harriet Beecher Stowe" by Gail K. Smith, "The Cambridge Companion to Nineteenth-Century American Women's Writing" by Dale M. Bauer and Philip Gould, Cambridge University Press, 2001, page 221.] (and the second best-selling book of that century, following the
Bible) [http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-uncletomscabin/intro.html Introduction to Uncle Tom's Cabin Study Guide] , BookRags.com, accessed May 16, 2006.] and is credited with helping fuel the abolitionist cause in the 1850s. [Goldner, Ellen J. "Arguing with Pictures: Race, Class and the Formation of Popular Abolitionism Through Uncle Tom's Cabin." "Journal of American & Comparative Cultures" 2001 24(1–2): 71–84. Issn: 1537-4726 Fulltext: online at Ebsco.] In the first year after it was published, 300,000 copies of the book were sold in the United States alone. The book's impact was so great that when Abraham Lincolnmet Stowe at the start of the American Civil War, Lincoln is often quoted as having declared, "So this is the little lady who made this big war."Charles Edward Stowe, "Harriet Beecher Stowe: The Story of Her Life" (1911) p. 203.]
The book, and even more the plays it inspired, also helped create a number of stereotypes about Blacks,Hulser, Kathleen. "Reading Uncle Tom's
] many of which endure to this day. These include the affectionate, dark-skinned mammy; the
Pickaninnystereotype of black children; and the Uncle Tom, or dutiful, long-suffering servant faithful to his white master or mistress. In recent years, the negative associations with "Uncle Tom's Cabin" have, to an extent, overshadowed the historical impact of the book as a "vital antislavery tool.""Africana: arts and letters: an A-to-Z reference of writers, musicians, and artists of the African American Experience" by Henry Louis Gates, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Running Press, 2005, page 544.]
Sources for the novel
Connecticut-born teacher at the Hartford Female Academy and an active abolitionist, wrote the novel as a response to the 1850 passage of the second Fugitive Slave Act (which punished those who aided runaway slaves and diminished the rights of fugitives as well as freed Blacks). Much of the book was composed in Brunswick, Maine, where her husband, Calvin Ellis Stowe, taught at his alma mater Bowdoin College. [ [http://www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org/life/#uncle Harriett Beecher Stowe's Life & Times.] Harriet Beecher Stowe House and Library. Accessed Feb. 17, 2007.]
Stowe was partly inspired to create "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by the autobiography of
Josiah Henson, a black man who lived and worked on a 3,700 acre (15 km²) tobacco plantation in North Bethesda, Marylandowned by Isaac Riley.Susan Logue, [http://voanews.com/english/archive/2006-01/2006-01-13-voa58.cfm?CFID=18191928&CFTOKEN=51628745 "Historic Uncle Tom's Cabin Saved",] VOA News, January 12, 2006. Accessed May 16, 2006.] Henson escaped slavery in 1830 by fleeing to the Province of Upper Canada (now Ontario), where he helped other fugitive slaves arrive and become self-sufficient, and where he wrote his memoirs. Harriet Beecher Stowe evidently acknowledged that Henson's writings inspired "Uncle Tom's Cabin". [Harriet Beecher Stowe, [http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/uncletom/key/kyhp.html "A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin"] 1853, page 42, in which Stowe states "A last instance parallel with that of Uncle Tom is to be found in the published memoirs of the venerable Josiah Henson…" An excerpt of this information and acknowledgement is also in "A Routledge Literary Sourcebook on Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Debra J. Rosenthal, Routledge, 2003, pages 25–26.] When Stowe's work became a best-seller, Henson republished his memoirs as "The Memoirs of Uncle Tom", and traveled extensively in America and Europe. Stowe's novel lent its name to Henson's home—Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site, near Dresden, Ontario—which since the 1940s has been a museum. The actual cabin Henson lived in while he was a slave, still exists in Montgomery County, Maryland.
"American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses", a volume co-authored by
Theodore Dwight Weldand the Grimké sisters, is also a source of some of the novel's content. [ [http://www.bartleby.com/65/we/Weld-The.html Weld, Theodore Dwight.] The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001–2005. Accessed May 15, 2007.] Stowe also said she based the novel on a number of interviews with escaped slaves during the time when Stowe was living in Cincinnati, Ohio, across the Ohio River from Kentucky, a slave state. In Cincinnati the Underground Railroadhad local abolitionist sympathizers and was active in efforts to help runaway slaves on their escape route from the South.
Stowe mentioned a number of the inspirations and sources for her novel in "
A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1853). This non-fiction book was intended to verify Stowe's claims about the evils of slavery. [http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/uncletom/key/kyhp.html A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin] , Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture, a Multi-Media Archive, accessed April 20, 2007.] However, later research indicated that Stowe did not actually read many of the book's cited works until after the publication of her novel.
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" first appeared as a 40-week serial in "National Era", an
abolitionistperiodical, starting with the June 5, 1851 issue. Because of the story's popularity, the publisher John Jewett contacted Stowe about turning the serial into a book. While Stowe questioned if anyone would read "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in book form, she eventually consented to the request.Convinced the book would be popular, Jewett made the unusual decision (for that time) to have six fullpage illustrations by Hammatt Billingsengraved for the first printing. [ [http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/uncletom/illustra/52illf.html First Edition Illustrations] , Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture, a Multi-Media Archive, accessed April 18, 2007.] Published in book form on March 20, 1852, the novel soon sold out its complete print run. A number of other editions were soon printed (including a deluxe edition in 1853, featuring 117 illustrations by Billings). [ [http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/uncletom/illustra/53illf.html Illustrations for the "Splendid Edition"] , Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture, a Multi-Media Archive, accessed April 18, 2007.]
In the first year of publication, 300,000 copies of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" were sold. The book eventually became the best-selling novel in the world during the 19th century (and the second best-selling book after the
Bible), with the book being translated into every major language. A number of the early editions carried an introduction by Rev James Sherman, a Congregational minister in Londonnoted for his abolitionist views.
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" sold equally well in England, with the first London edition appearing in May, 1852 and selling 200,000 copies. In a few years over 1.5 million copies of the book were in circulation in England, although most of these were pirated copies (a similar situation occurred in the United States). ["publishing, history of." (2007). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 18, 2007, from [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-28634 Encyclopædia Britannica Online] .]
Eliza escapes with her son, Tom sold "down the river"
The book opens with a
Kentuckyfarmer named Arthur Shelby facing the loss of his farm because of debts. Even though he and his wife, Emily Shelby, believe that they have a benevolent relationship with their slaves, Shelby decides to raise the needed funds by selling two of them— Uncle Tom, a middle-aged man with a wife and children, and Harry, the son of Emily Shelby’s maid Eliza—to a slave trader. Emily Shelby hates the idea of doing this because she had promised her maid that her child would never be sold; Emily's son, George Shelby, hates to see Tom go because he sees the old man as his friend and mentor.
When Eliza overhears Mr. and Mrs. Shelby discussing plans to sell Tom and Harry, Eliza determines to run away with her son. The novel states that Eliza made this decision not because of physical cruelty, but by her fear of losing her only surviving child (she had already lost two children due to miscarriage). Eliza departs that night, leaving a note of apology to her mistress.
While all of this is happening, Uncle Tom is sold and placed on a
riverboat, which sets sail down the Mississippi River. While on board, Tom meets and befriends a young white girl named Eva. When Eva falls into the river, Tom saves her. In gratitude, Eva's father, Augustine St. Clare, buys Tom from the slave trader and takes him with the family to their home in New Orleans. During this time, Tom and Eva begin to relate to one another because of the deep Christian faith they both share.
Eliza's family hunted, Tom's life with St. Clare
During Eliza's escape, she meets up with her husband George Harris, who had run away previously. They decide to attempt to reach Canada. However, they are now being tracked by a slave hunter named Tom Loker. Eventually Loker and his men trap Eliza and her family, causing George to shoot Loker. Worried that Loker may die, Eliza convinces George to bring the slave hunter to a nearby
Quakersettlement for medical treatment.
Back in New Orleans, St. Clare debates slavery with his Northern cousin Ophelia who, while opposing slavery, is prejudiced against Black people. St. Clare, however, believes he is not biased, even though he is a slave owner. In an attempt to show Ophelia that her views on Blacks are wrong, St. Clare purchases Topsy, a young black slave. St. Clare then asks Ophelia to educate Topsy.
After Tom has lived with the St. Clares for two years, Eva grows very ill. Before she dies she experiences a vision of heaven, which she shares with the people around her. As a result of her death and vision, the other characters resolve to change their lives, with Ophelia promising to throw off her personal prejudices against Blacks, Topsy saying she will better herself, and St. Clare pledging to free Uncle Tom.
Tom sold to Simon Legree
Before St. Clare can follow through on his pledge, he dies after being stabbed while entering a New Orleans tavern. His wife reneges on her late husband's vow and sells Tom at auction to a vicious
plantationowner named Simon Legree. Legree (who is not a native southerner but a transplanted Yankee) takes Tom to rural Louisiana, where Tom meets Legree's other slaves, including Emmeline (whom Legree purchased at the same time). Legree begins to hate Tom when Tom refuses Legree's order to whip his fellow slave. Tom receives a brutal beating, and Legree resolves to crush Tom's faith in God. But Tom refuses to stop reading his Bibleand comforting the other slaves as best he can. While at the plantation, Tom meets Cassy, another of Legree's slaves. Cassy was previously separated from her son and daughter when they were sold; unable to endure the pain of seeing another child sold, she killed her third child.
At this point Tom Loker returns to the story. Loker has changed as the result of being healed by the Quakers. George, Eliza, and Harry have also obtained their freedom after crossing into Canada. In Louisiana, Uncle Tom almost succumbs to hopelessness as his faith in God is tested by the hardships of the plantation. However, he has two visions, one of
Jesusand one of Eva, which renew his resolve to remain a faithful Christian, even unto death. He encourages Cassy to escape, which she does, taking Emmeline with her. When Tom refuses to tell Legree where Cassy and Emmeline have gone, Legree orders his overseers to kill Tom. As Tom is dying, he forgives the overseers who savagely beat him. Humbled by the character of the man they have killed, both men become Christians. Very shortly before Tom's death, George Shelby (Arthur Shelby's son) arrives to buy Tom’s freedom, but finds he is too late.
On their boat ride to freedom, Cassy and Emmeline meet George Harris' sister and accompany her to Canada. Once there, Cassy discovers that Eliza is her long-lost daughter who was sold as a child. Now that their family is together again, they travel to France and eventually
Liberia, the African nation created for former American slaves. There they meet Cassy's long-lost son. George Shelby returns to the Kentucky farm and frees all his slaves. George tells them to remember Tom's sacrifice and his belief in the true meaning of Christianity.
Major characters in "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
Uncle Tom, the title character, was initially seen as a noble long-suffering Christian slave. In more recent years, his name has become an epithet directed towards African-Americanswho are accused of selling out to whites (for more on this, see the creation and popularization of stereotypes section). Stowe intended Tom to be a "noble hero""A Routledge Literary Sourcebook on Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Debra J. Rosenthal, Routledge, 2003, page 31.] and praiseworthy person. Throughout the book, far from allowing himself to be exploited, Tom stands up for his beliefs and is grudgingly admired even by his enemies.
A slave (personal maid to Mrs. Shelby), she escapes to the North with her five-year old son Harry after he is sold to Mr. Haley. Her husband, George, eventually finds Eliza and Harry in
Ohio, and emigrates with them to Canada, then France and finally Liberia.
The character Eliza was inspired by an account given at
Lane Theological Seminaryin Cincinnati by John Rankin to Stowe's husband Calvin, a professor at the school. According to Rankin, in February, 1838 a young slave woman had escaped across the frozen Ohio Riverto the town of Ripley with her child in her arms and stayed at his house on her way further north. [ Hagedorn, Ann. "Beyond The River: The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground Railroad". Simon & Schuster, 2002, pp. 135–139.]
Eva, whose real name is Evangeline St. Clare, is the daughter of Augustine St. Clare. Eva enters the narrative when
Uncle Tomis traveling via steamshipto New Orleansto be sold, and he rescues the 5 or 6 year-old girl from drowning. Eva begs her father to buy Tom, and he becomes the head coachman at the St. Clare plantation. He spends most of his time with the angelic Eva, however.
Eva constantly talks about love and forgiveness, even convincing the dour slave girl Topsy that she deserves love. She even manages to touch the heart of her sour aunt, Ophelia. Some consider Eva to be a prototype of the character archetype known as the
Eventually Eva falls ill. Before dying, she gives a lock of her hair to each of the slaves, telling them that they must become Christians so that they may see each other in
Heaven. On her deathbed, she convinces her father to free Tom, but because of circumstances the promise never materializes.
villainous and cruel slave owner—a Northerner by birth—whose name has become synonymous with greed. His goal is to demoralize Tom and break him of his religious faith.
A "ragamuffin" young slave girl of unknown origin. When asked if she knows who made her, she professes ignorance of both God and a mother, saying "I s'pect I growed. Don't think nobody never made me." She was transformed by Little Eva's love. Topsy is often seen as the origin of the
pickaninnystereotype of Black children and Black dolls. During the early-to-mid 1900s, several doll manufacturers created Topsy and Topsy-type dolls.
The phrase "growed like Topsy" (later "grew like Topsy"; now somewhat archaic) passed into the English language, originally with the specific meaning of unplanned growth, later sometimes just meaning enormous growth. [ [http://www.word-detective.com/052003.html The Word Detective] , issue of May 20, 2003, accessed Feb. 16, 2007.]
There are a number of secondary and minor characters in "Uncle Tom's Cabin". Among the more notable are:
* Arthur Shelby, Tom's master in Kentucky. Shelby is characterized as a "kind" slaveowner and a stereotypical Southern gentleman.
* Emily Shelby, Arthur Shelby's wife. A deeply religious woman who strives to be a kind and moral influence upon her slaves. She is appalled when her husband sells his slaves with a slave trader. As a woman, she had no legal way to stop this, as all property belonged to her husband.
* George Shelby, Arthur and Emily's son. Sees Tom as a "friend" and as the perfect Christian.
* Augustine St. Clare, Tom's second owner and father of Little Eva. Of the slaveowners in the novel, the most sympathetic character. St. Clare recognizes the evil in chattel slavery, but is not ready to relinquish the wealth it brings him. After his daughter's death he becomes more religious and starts to read the Bible to Tom. His sometimes good intentions ultimately come to nothing.
thumb|right|320px|"The fugitives are safe in a free land."Illustration by Hammatt Billings for "Uncle Tom's Cabin", First Edition. The image shows George Harris, Eliza, Harry, and Mrs. Smyth after they escape to freedom.
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" is dominated by a single theme: the evil and immorality of slavery. ["Homelessness in American Literature: Romanticism, Realism, and Testimony" by John Allen, Routledge, 2004, page 24, where it states in regards to "Uncle Tom's Cabin" that "Stowe held specific beliefs about the 'evils' of slavery and the role of Americans in resisting it." The book then quotes Ann Douglas describing how Stowe saw slavery as a sin.] While Stowe weaves other subthemes throughout her text, such as the moral authority of motherhood and the redeeming possibilities offered by
Christianity,"The Complete Idiot's Guide to American Literature" by Laurie E. Rozakis, Alpha Books, 1999, page 125, where it states that one of the book's main messages is that "The slavery crisis can only be resolved by Christian love."] she emphasizes the connections between these and the horrors of slavery. Stowe pushed home her theme of the immorality of slavery on almost every page of the novel, sometimes even changing the story's voice so she could give a " homily" on the destructive nature of slavery ["Drawn With the Sword: Reflections on the American Civil War" by James Munro McPherson, Oxford University Press, 1997, page 30.] (such as when a white woman on the steamboat carrying Tom further south states, "The most dreadful part of slavery, to my mind, is its outrages of feelings and affections—the separating of families, for example."). ["Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Vintage Books, Modern Library Edition, 1991, page 150.] One way Stowe showed the evil of slaverywas how this "peculiar institution" forcibly separated families from each other. ["Drawn With the Sword: Reflections on the American Civil War" by James Munro McPherson, Oxford University Press, 1997, page 29.]
Because Stowe saw motherhood as the "ethical and structural model for all of American life," ["Stowe's Dream of the Mother-Savior: Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Women Writers Before the 1920s" by Elizabeth Ammons, "New Essays on Uncle Tom's Cabin", Eric J. Sundquist, editor, Cambridge University Press, 1986, page 159.] and also believed that only women had the moral authority to save ["Whitewashing Uncle Tom's Cabin: Nineteenth-Century Women Novelists Respond to Stowe" by Joy Jordan-Lake, Vanderbilt University Press, 2005, page 61.] the United States from the demon of slavery, another major theme of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is the moral power and sanctity of women. Through characters like Eliza, who escapes from slavery to save her young son (and eventually reunites her entire family), or Little Eva, who is seen as the "ideal Christian", ["Somatic Fictions: imagining illness in Victorian culture" by Athena Vrettos, Stanford University Press, 1995, page 101.] Stowe shows how she believed women could save those around them from even the worst injustices. While later critics have noted that Stowe's female characters are often domestic
clichesinstead of realistic women, ["The Stowe Debate: Rhetorical Strategies in Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Mason I. (jr.) Lowance, Ellen E. Westbrook, C. De Prospo, R., Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1994, page 132.] Stowe's novel "reaffirmed the importance of women's influence" and helped pave the way for the women's rights movementin the following decades. ["Historical Dictionary of Women's Education in the United States" by Linda Eisenmann, Greenwood Press, 1998, page 3.]
puritanical religious beliefs show up in the novel's final, over-arching theme, which is the exploration of the nature of Christianityand how she feels Christian theologyis fundamentally incompatible with slavery. ["The Company of the Creative: A Christian Reader's Guide to Great Literature and Its Themes" by David L. Larsen, Kregel Publications, 2000, pages 386–387.] This theme is most evident when Tom urges St. Clare to "look away to Jesus" after the death of St. Clare's beloved daughter Eva. After Tom dies, George Shelby eulogizes Tom by saying, "What a thing it is to be a Christian." ["The Company of the Creative: A Christian Reader's Guide to Great Literature and Its Themes" by David L. Larsen, Kregel Publications, 2000, page 387.] Because Christian themes play such a large role in "Uncle Tom's Cabin"—and because of Stowe's frequent use of direct authorial interjections on religion and faith—the novel often takes the "form of a sermon." ["The Cambridge History of American Literature" by Sacvan Bercovitch and Cyrus R. K. Patell, Cambridge University Press, 1994, page 119.]
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" is written in the sentimental [Marianne Noble, "The Ecstasies of Sentimental Wounding In Uncle Tom's Cabin," from "A Routledge Literary Sourcebook on Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin" Edited by Debra J. Rosenthal, Routledge, 2003, page 58.] and
melodramaticstyle common to 19th century sentimental novels"The Sentimental Novel: The Example of Harriet Beecher Stowe" by Gail K. Smith, "The Cambridge Companion to Nineteenth-Century American Women's Writing" by Dale M. Bauer and Philip Gould, Cambridge University Press, 2001, page 221.] and domestic fiction (also called women's fiction). These genres were the most popular novels of Stowe's time and tended to feature female main characters and a writing style which evoked a reader's sympathy and emotion. [ [http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/amlit/domestic.htm "Domestic or Sentimental Fiction, 1820–1865"] American Literature Sites, Washington State University, accessed April 26, 2007.] Even though Stowe's novel differs from other sentimental novels by focusing on a large theme like slavery and by having a man as the main character, she still set out to elicit certain strong feelings from her readers (such as making them cry at the death of Little Eva). [ [http://www.kuce.org/kt/session1/bg.html "Uncle Tom's Cabin,"] The Kansas Territorial Experience, accessed April 26, 2007.] The power in this type of writing can be seen in the reaction of contemporary readers. Georgiana May, a friend of Stowe's, wrote a letter to the author stating that "I was up last night long after one o'clock, reading and finishing "Uncle Tom's Cabin". I could not leave it any more than I could have left a dying child." ["Reading Women: Literary Figures and Cultural Icons from the Victorian Age to the Present" by Janet Badia and Jennifer Phegley, University of Toronto Press, 2005, page 67.] Another reader is described as obsessing on the book at all hours and having considered renaming her daughter Eva."Reading Women: Literary Figures and Cultural Icons from the Victorian Age to the Present" by Janet Badia and Jennifer Phegley, University of Toronto Press, 2005, page 66.] Evidently the death of Little Eva affected a lot of people at that time, because in 1852 alone 300 baby girls in Boston were given that name.
Despite this positive reaction from readers, for decades
literary critics dismissed the style found in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and other sentimental novels because these books were written by women and so prominently featured "women's sloppy emotions.""A Routledge Literary Sourcebook on Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Debra J. Rosenthal, Routledge, 2003, page 42.] One literary critic said that had the novel not been about slavery, "it would be just another sentimental novel," ["Review of "The Building of Uncle Tom's Cabin" by E. Bruce Kirkham" by Thomas F. Gossett, "American Literature", Vol. 50, No. 1 (Mar., 1978), pp. 123–124.] while another described the book as "primarily a derivative piece of hack work." [ [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0885-6826(195833)19%3A3%3C328%3ATOOUTC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-7 "The Origins of Uncle Tom's Cabin"] by Charles Nichols, "The Phylon Quarterly", Vol. 19, No. 3 (3rd Qtr., 1958), page 328.] George Whicher turned his nose up at the book in his "Literary History of the United States" by saying it was "Sunday-school fiction" and full of "broadly conceived melodrama, humor, and pathos." [http://web.princeton.edu/sites/english/NEH/TOMPKINS.HTM "Sentimental Power: Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Politics of Literary History"] by Jane Tompkins, from "In Sensational Designs: The Cultural Work of American Fiction", 1790–1860. New York: Oxford UP, 1985. Pp. 122–146.]
However, in 1985 Jane Tompkins changed this view of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" with her landmark book "In Sensational Designs: The Cultural Work of American Fiction.""A Routledge Literary Sourcebook on Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Debra J. Rosenthal, Routledge, 2003, page 42.] Tompkins praised the very sentimental style so many other critics had dismissed, noting that sentimental novels showed how women's emotions had the power to change the world for the better. She also said that the popular domestic novels of the 19th century, including "Uncle Tom's Cabin", were remarkable for their "intellectual complexity, ambition, and resourcefulness"; and that "Uncle Tom's Cabin" offers a "critique of American society far more devastating than any delivered by better-known critics such as Hawthorne and Melville."
Despite this changing view of "Uncle Tom's Cabin"'s style, because the book is written so differently from most modern novels, today's readers can find the book's prose to be dense, overdone, or "even corny." [ [http://www.ereader.com/product/book/excerpt/17197 "Introduction to Uncle Tom's Cabin"] by Alyssa Harad, Cynthia Brantley Johnson, ereader.com, accessed April 26, 2007.]
Reactions to the novel
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" has exerted an influence "equaled by few other novels in history.""Stowe, Harriet Beecher." (2007). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 18, 2007, from [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9069861 Encyclopædia Britannica Online] .] Upon publication, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" ignited a firestorm of protest from defenders of slavery (who created a number of books in response to the novel) while the book elicited praise from abolitionists. As a best-seller, the novel heavily influenced later protest literature (such as "
The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair).
Contemporary and world reaction
Immediately upon publication, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" outraged people in the
American South. [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p2958.html Slave narratives and Uncle Tom's Cabin] , Africans in America, PBS, accessed Feb. 16, 2007.] The novel was also roundly criticized by slavery supporters.
Acclaimed Southern novelist
William Gilmore Simmsdeclared the work utterly false, ["Simms's Review of Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Charles S. Watson, American Literature, Vol. 48, No. 3 (Nov., 1976), pp. 365–368] while others called the novel criminal and slanderous. ["Over and above … There Broods a Portentous Shadow,—The Shadow of Law: Harriet Beecher Stowe's Critique of Slave Law in Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Alfred L. Brophy, Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 12, No. 2 (1995–1996), pp. 457–506.] Reactions ranged from a bookseller in Mobile, Alabamawho was forced to leave town for selling the novel to threatening letters sent to Stowe herself (including a package containing a slave's severed ear). Many Southern writers, like Simms, soon wrote their own books in opposition to Stowe's novel (see the Anti-Tom section below). ["Woodcraft: Simms's First Answer to Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Joseph V. Ridgely, American Literature, Vol. 31, No. 4 (Jan., 1960), pp. 421–433.]
Some critics highlighted Stowe's paucity of life-experience relating to Southern life, which (in their view) led her to create inaccurate descriptions of the region. For instance, she had never set foot on a Southern plantation. However, Stowe always said she based the characters of her book on stories she was told by runaway slaves in
Cincinnati, Ohio, where Stowe lived. It is reported that, "She observed firsthand several incidents which galvanized her to write [the] famous anti-slavery novel. Scenes she observed on the Ohio River, including seeing a husband and wife being sold apart, as well as newspaper and magazine accounts and interviews, contributed material to the emerging plot." [ [http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/Library/special/exhibits/clastext/clspg149.htm The Classic Text: Harriett Beecher Stowe.] University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Library. Special collection page on traditions and interpretations of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Accessed May 15, 2007.]
In response to these criticisms, in 1853 Stowe published "
A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin", an attempt to document the veracity of the novel's depiction of slavery. In the book, Stowe discusses each of the major characters in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and cites "real life equivalents" to them while also mounting a more "aggressive attack on slavery in the South than the novel itself had." Like the novel, "A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin" was also a best-seller. It should be noted, though, that while Stowe claimed "A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin" documented her previously consulted sources, she actually read many of the cited works only after the publication of her novel.
Despite these supposed and actual flaws in Stowe's research, and despite the shrill attacks from defenders of slavery, the novel still captured the imagination of many Americans. According to Stowe's son, when
Abraham Lincolnmet her in 1862 Lincoln commented, "So this is the little lady who started this great war." Historians are undecided if Lincoln actually said this line, and in a letter that Stowe wrote to her husband a few hours after meeting with Lincoln no mention of this comment was made."Uncle Tom's Cabin", introduction by Amanda Claybaugh, Barnes and Noble Classics, New York, 2003, page xvii.] Since then, many writers have credited this novel with focusing Northern anger at the injustices of slavery and the Fugitive Slave Lawand helping to fuel the abolitionistmovement. [Goldner, Ellen J. "Arguing with Pictures: Race, Class and the Formation of Popular Abolitionism Through Uncle Tom's Cabin." "Journal of American & Comparative Cultures" 2001 24(1–2): 71–84. Issn: 1537-4726 Fulltext: online at Ebsco.] Union Generaland politician James Baird Weaversaid that the book convinced him to become active in the abolitionist movement. ["Review of James Baird Weaver by Fred Emory Haynes" by A. M. Arnett, Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Mar., 1920), pp. 154–157; and [http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAweaverJ.htm profile of James Baird Weaver] , accessed Feb. 17, 2007.]
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" also created great interest in England. The first London edition appeared in May, 1852, and sold 200,000 copies. Some of this interest was because of British antipathy to America. As one prominent writer explained, "The evil passions which 'Uncle Tom' gratified in England were not hatred or vengeance [of slavery] , but national jealousy and national vanity. We have long been smarting under the conceit of America—we are tired of hearing her boast that she is the freest and the most enlightened country that the world has ever seen. Our clergy hate her voluntary system—our Tories hate her democrats—our Whigs hate her
parvenus—our Radicals hate her litigiousness, her insolence, and her ambition. All parties hailed Mrs. Stowe as a revolter from the enemy." [Nassau Senior, quoted in Ephraim Douglass Adams, "Great Britain and the American Civil War" (1958) p: 33.] Charles Francis Adams, the American minister to Britain during the war, argued later that, "Uncle Tom's Cabin; or Life among the Lowly, published in 1852, exercised, largely from fortuitous circumstances, a more immediate, considerable and dramatic world-influence than any other book ever printed." [ Charles Francis Adams, "Trans-Atlantic Historical Solidarity: Lectures Delivered before the University of Oxford in Easter and Trinity Terms, 1913." 1913. p. 79]
The book has been translated into almost every language, including Chinese (with translator
Lin Shucreating the first Chinese translation of an American novel) and Amharic (with the 1930 translation created in support of Ethiopian efforts to end the suffering of blacks in that nation). [Richard Pankhurst, "Economic History of Ethiopia" (Addis Ababa: Haile Selassie I University Press, 1968), p. 122.] The book was so widely read that Sigmund Freudreported a number of patients with sado-masochistic tendencies who he believed had been influenced by reading about the whipping of slaves in "Uncle Tom's Cabin". [Ian Gibson, "The English Vice: Beating, Sex and Shame in Victorian England and After" (1978)]
Literary significance and criticism
As the first widely read political novel in the United States, [Tompkins, Jane. "Sensational Designs: The Cultural Work of American Fiction, 1790–1860". New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. See chapter five, "Sentimental Power: "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and the Politics of Literary History."] "Uncle Tom's Cabin" greatly influenced development of not only
American literaturebut also protest literature in general. Later books which owe a large debt to "Uncle Tom's Cabin" include " The Jungle" by Upton Sinclairand " Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson. ["The Cambridge Companion to Harriet Beecher Stowe" by Cindy Weinstein, Cambridge University Press, 2004, page 13.]
Despite this undisputed significance, the popular perception of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is as "a blend of children's fable and propaganda." [http://www.thenation.com/doc/20061225/wellington "Uncle Tom's Shadow"] by Darryl Lorenzo Wellington, "The Nation", December 25, 2006.] The novel has also been dismissed by a number of
literary criticsas "merely a sentimental novel," ["Review of "The Building of Uncle Tom's Cabin" by E. Bruce Kirkham" by Thomas F. Gossett, "American Literature", Vol. 50, No. 1 (Mar., 1978), pp. 123–124.] while critic George Whicher stated in his "Literary History of the United States" that "Nothing attributable to Mrs. Stowe or her handiwork can account for the novel's enormous vogue; its author's resources as a purveyor of Sunday-school fiction were not remarkable. She had at most a ready command of broadly conceived melodrama, humor, and pathos, and of these popular cements she compounded her book."
Other critics, though, have praised the novel. Edmund Wilson stated that "To expose oneself in maturity to Uncle Tom's Cabin may … prove a startling experience." Jane Tompkins states that the novel is one of the classics of American literature and wonders if many literary critics aren't dismissing the book because it was simply too popular during its day.
Over the years scholars have postulated a number of theories about what Stowe was trying to say with the novel (aside from the obvious themes, such as condemning slavery). For example, as an ardent
Christianand active abolitionist, Stowe placed many of her religion's beliefs into the novel. [Smylie, James H. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" Revisited: the Bible, the Romantic Imagination, and the Sympathies of Christ." "American Presbyterians" 1995 73(3): 165–175. Issn: 0886-5159.] Some scholars have stated that Stowe saw her novel as offering a solution to the moral and political dilemma that troubled many slavery opponents: whether engaging in prohibited behavior was justified in opposing evil. Was the use of violence to oppose the violence of slavery and the breaking of proslavery laws morally defensible? Which of Stowe's characters should be emulated, the passive Uncle Tom or the defiant George Harris?Bellin, Joshua D. "Up to Heaven's Gate, down in Earth's Dust: the Politics of Judgment in Uncle Tom's Cabin" "American Literature" 1993 65(2): 275–295. Issn: 0002-9831 Fulltext online at Jstor and Ebsco.] Stowe's solution was similar to Ralph Waldo Emerson's: God's will would be followed if each person sincerely examined his principles and acted on them.Bellin, Joshua D. "Up to Heaven's Gate, down in Earth's Dust: the Politics of Judgment in Uncle Tom's Cabin" "American Literature" 1993 65(2): 275–295. Issn: 0002-9831 Fulltext online at Jstor and Ebsco.]
Scholars have also seen the novel as expressing the values and ideas of the
Free SoilMovement.Grant, David. "Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Triumph of Republican Rhetoric." "New England Quarterly" 1998 71(3): 429–448. Issn: 0028-4866 Fulltext online at Jstor.] In this view, the character of George Harris embodies the principles of free labor, while the complex character of Ophelia represents those Northerners who condoned compromise with slavery. In contrast to Ophelia is Dinah, who operates on passion. During the course of the novel Ophelia is transformed, just as the Republican Party (3 years later) proclaimed that the North must transform itself and stand up for its antislavery principles.Grant, David. "Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Triumph of Republican Rhetoric." "New England Quarterly" 1998 71(3): 429–448. Issn: 0028-4866 Fulltext online at Jstor.] Feminist theorycan also be seen at play in Stowe's book, with the novel as a critique of the patriarchalnature of slavery. [Riss, Arthur. "Racial Essentialism and Family Values in "Uncle Tom's Cabin"." "American Quarterly" 1994 46(4): 513–544. Issn: 0003-0678 Fulltext in JSTOR.] For Stowe, blood relations rather than paternalistic relations between masters and slaves formed the basis of families. Moreover, Stowe viewed national solidarity as an extension of a person's family, thus feelings of nationality stemmed from possessing a shared race. Consequently she advocated African colonization for freed slaves and not amalgamation into American society.
The book has also been seen as an attempt to redefine masculinity as a necessary step toward the abolition of slavery.Wolff, Cynthia Griffin. "Masculinity in "Uncle Tom's Cabin"," "American Quarterly" 1995 47(4): 595–618. ISSN: 0003-0678. Fulltext online at JSTOR.] In this view, abolitionists had begun to resist the vision of aggressive and dominant men that the conquest and colonization of the early 19th century had fostered. In order to change the notion of manhood so that men could oppose slavery without jeopardizing their self-image or their standing in society, some abolitionists drew on principles of women's suffrage and Christianity as well as passivism, and praised men for cooperation, compassion, and civic spirit. Others within the abolitionist movement argued for conventional, aggressive masculine action. All the men in Stowe's novel are representations of either one kind of man or the other.Wolff, Cynthia Griffin. "Masculinity in "Uncle Tom's Cabin"," "American Quarterly" 1995 47(4): 595–618. ISSN: 0003-0678. Fulltext online at JSTOR.]
Creation and popularization of stereotypes
In recent decades, scholars and readers have criticized the book for what are seen as condescending racist descriptions of the book's black characters, especially with regard to the characters' appearances, speech, and behavior, as well as the passive nature of Uncle Tom in accepting his fate. [Smith; Jessie Carney; "Images of Blacks in American Culture: A Reference Guide to Information Sources" Greenwood Press. 1988.] The novel's creation and use of common
stereotypesabout African AmericansHulser, Kathleen. "Reading Uncle Tom's
] is important because "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was the best-selling novel in the world during the 19th century. As a result, the book (along with images illustrating the book [ [http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/uncletom/illustra/ilhp.html Illustrations] , Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture, a Multi-Media Archive, accessed April 18, 2007.] and associated stage productions) had a major role in permanently ingraining these stereotypes into the American psyche. [Smith; Jessie Carney; "Images of Blacks in American Culture: A Reference Guide to Information Sources" Greenwood Press. 1988.]
* The "happy darky" (in the lazy, carefree character of Sam);
* The light-skinned tragic
mulattoas a sex object (in the characters of Eliza, Cassy, and Emmeline);
* The affectionate, dark-skinned female mammy (through several characters, including Mammy, a cook at the St. Clare plantation).
Pickaninnystereotype of black children (in the character of Topsy);
Uncle Tom, or African American who is too eager to please white people (in the character of Uncle Tom). Stowe intended Tom to be a "noble hero." The stereotype of him as a "subservient fool who bows down to the white man" evidently resulted from staged " Tom Shows," over which Stowe had no control."A Routledge Literary Sourcebook on Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Debra J. Rosenthal, Routledge, 2003, page 31.]
In the last few decades these negative associations have to a large degree overshadowed the historical impact of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" as a "vital antislavery tool." The beginning of this change in the novel's perception had its roots in an essay by James Baldwin titled "Everybody’s Protest Novel." In the essay, Baldwin called "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" a "very bad novel" which was also racially obtuse and aesthetically crude. [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/23/arts/23conn.html "Digging Through the Literary Anthropology of Stowe’s Uncle Tom"] , by Edward Rothstein, from the "
New York Times", October 23, 2006.]
In the 1960s and '70s, the
Black Powerand Black Arts Movements attacked the novel, saying that the character of Uncle Tom engaged in "race betrayal," making Tom (in some eyes) worse than even the most vicious slave owner. Criticisms of the other stereotypes in the book also increased during this time.
In recent years, though, scholars such as
Henry Louis Gates Jr.have begun to reexamine "Uncle Tom's Cabin", stating that the book is a "central document in American race relations and a significant moral and political exploration of the character of those relations."
In response to "Uncle Tom's Cabin", writers in the
Southern United Statesproduced a number of books to rebut Stowe's novel. This so-called Anti-Tom literature generally took a pro-slavery viewpoint, arguing that the issues of slavery as depicted in Stowe's book were overblown and incorrect. The novels in this genre tended to feature a benign white patriarchal master and a pure wife, both of whom presided over child-like slaves in a benevolent extended-family-style plantation. The novels either implied or directly stated that African Americans were a child-like people ["Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White from Uncle Tom to O. J. Simpson" by Linda Williams, Princeton Univ. Press, 2001, page 113.] unable to live their lives without being directly overseen by white people. ["Whitewashing Uncle Tom's Cabin: nineteenth-century women novelists respond to Stowe" by Joy Jordan-Lake, Vanderbilt University Press, 2005.]
Among the most famous anti-Tom books are "
The Sword and the Distaff" by William Gilmore Simms, " Aunt Phillis's Cabin" by Mary Henderson Eastman, and " The Planter's Northern Bride" by Caroline Lee Hentz, [" [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4113/is_200501/ai_n9483519/pg_1 Caroline Lee Hentz's Long Journey] " by Philip D. Beidler. Alabama Heritage Number 75, Winter 2005.] with the last author having been a close personal friend of Stowe's when the two lived in Cincinnati. Simms' book was published a few months after Stowe's novel and it contains a number of sections and discussions disputing Stowe's book and her view of slavery. Hentz's 1854 novel, widely-read at the time, but now largely forgotten, offers a defense of slavery as seen through the eyes of a northern woman—the daughter of an abolitionist, no less—who marries a southern slave owner.
In the decade between the publication of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and the start of the
American Civil War, between twenty and thirty anti-Tom books were published. Among these novels are two books titled "Uncle Tom's Cabin As It Is" (one by W.L. Smith and the other by C.H. Wiley) and a book by John Pendleton Kennedy. More than half of these Anti-Tom books were written by white women, with Simms commenting at one point about the "Seemingly poetic justice of having the Northern woman (Stowe) answered by a Southern woman." ["Figures in Black: words, signs, and the "racial" self" by Henry Louis Gates, Oxford University Press, 1987, page 134.]
Even though "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was the best-selling novel of the 19th century, far more Americans of that time saw the story as a stage play or musical than read the book. [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/foster/peopleevents/e_cabin.html "People & Events: Uncle Tom's Cabin Takes the Nation by Storm"] "Stephen Foster", The American Experience, PBS, accessed April 19, 2007.] Eric Lott, in his book "Uncle Tomitudes: Racial Melodrama and Modes of Production," estimates that at least three million people saw these plays, ten times the book's first-year sales.
Given the lax copyright laws of the time, stage plays based on "Uncle Tom's Cabin"—"Tom shows"—began to appear while the story itself was still being serialized. Stowe refused to authorize dramatization of her work because of her
puritanical distrust of drama (although she did eventually go to see George Aiken's version, and, according to Francis Underwood, was "delighted" by Caroline Howard's portrayal of Topsy).Lott, Eric. "Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class". New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-19-507832-2. The information on "Tom shows" comes from chapter 8: "Uncle Tomitudes: Racial Melodrama and Modes of Production" (p. 211–233)] Stowe's refusal left the field clear for any number of adaptations, some launched for (various) political reasons and others as simply commercial theatrical ventures.
There were then no
international copyrightlaws. The book and plays were translated into several languages; Ms. Stowe saw no money, as much as "three fourths of her just and legitimate wages." [http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/186710/international-copyright]
On the plays
All "Tom shows" appear to have incorporated elements of
melodramaand blackfaceminstrelsy."Africana: arts and letters: an A-to-Z reference of writers, musicians, and artists of the African American Experience" by Henry Louis Gates, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Running Press, 2005, page 44.] These plays varied tremendously in their politics—some faithfully reflected Stowe's sentimentalized antislavery politics, while others were more moderate, or even pro-slavery. Many of the productions featured demeaning racial caricatures of Black people,"Africana: arts and letters: an A-to-Z reference of writers, musicians, and artists of the African American Experience" by Henry Louis Gates, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Running Press, 2005, page 44.] while a number of productions also featured songs by Stephen Foster(including " My Old Kentucky Home," " Old Folks at Home," and "Massa's in the Cold Ground"). The best-known "Tom Shows" were those of George Aiken and H.J. Conway.
One of the unique and controversial variants of the
Tom Showswas Walt Disney's 1933 Mickey's Mellerdrammer. "Mickey's Mellerdrammer" is a United Artistsfilm released in 1933. The title is a corruption of "melodrama", thought to harken back to the earliest minstrel shows, as a film short based on a production of " Uncle Tom's Cabin" by the Disneycharacters. In that film, Mickey Mouseand friends stage their own production of "Uncle Tom's Cabin". Mickey Mousewas already black-colored, but the [http://www.artprints.com/-ap/Mickey-aposs-Mellerdrammer-Posters_p165447_.htm advertising poster] for the film shows Mickey dressed in blackfacewith exaggerated, orange lips; bushy, white sidewhiskers made out of cotton; and his now trademark white gloves.
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" has been made into a number of film versions. Most of these movies were created during the
silent filmera (with "Uncle Tom's Cabin" being the most-filmed story of that time period). [http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/onstage/films/fihp.html Uncle Tom's Cabin on Film] , Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture, a Multi-Media Archive, accessed April 19, 2007.] This was due to the continuing popularity of both the book and "Tom shows," meaning audiences were already familiar with the characters and the plot, making it easier for the film to be understood without spoken words. [http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/onstage/films/fihp.html Uncle Tom's Cabin on Film] , Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture, a Multi-Media Archive, accessed April 19, 2007.]
The first film version of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was one of the earliest "full-length" movies (although "full-length" at that time meant between 10 and 14 minutes). [http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/onstage/films/mv03hp.html The First Uncle Tom's Cabin Film: Edison-Porter's Slavery Days (1903)] , Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture, a Multi-Media Archive, accessed April 19, 2007.] This 1903 film, directed by
Edwin S. Porter, used white actors in blackfacein the major roles and black performers only as extras. This version was evidently similar to many of the "Tom Shows" of earlier decades and featured a large number of black stereotypes (such as having the slaves dance in almost any context, including at a slave auction). [http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/onstage/films/mv03hp.html The First Uncle Tom's Cabin Film: Edison-Porter's Slavery Days (1903)] , Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture, a Multi-Media Archive, accessed April 19, 2007.]
In 1910, a 3-Reel Vitagraph Company of America production was directed by
J. Stuart Blacktonand adapted by Eugene Mullin. According to "The Dramatic Mirror," this film was "a decided innovation" in motion pictures and "the first time an American company" released a dramatic film in 3 reels. Until then, "full-length" movies of the time were 15 minutes long and contained only one reel of film. The movie starred Florence Turner, Mary Fuller, Edwin R. Phillips, Flora Finch, Genevieve Tobinand Carlyle Blackwell, Sr. [ [http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/onstage/films/mv10hp1.html The 3-Reel Vitagraph Production (1910)] , Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture, a Multi-Media Archive, accessed April 19, 2007.]
At least four more movie adaptations were created in the next two decades. The last silent film version came in 1927. Directed by
Harry A. Pollard(who'd played Uncle Tom in a 1913 release of "Uncle Tom's Cabin"), this two-hour movie spent more than a year in production and was the third most expensive picture of the silent era (at a cost of $1.8 million). Black actor Charles Gilpinwas originally cast in the title role, but was fired after the studio decided his "portrayal was too aggressive." [http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/onstage/films/mv27 hp.html Universal Super Jewel Production (1927)] , Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture, a Multi-Media Archive, accessed April 19, 2007.] James B. Lowethen took over the character of Tom. One difference in this film from the novel is that after Tom dies, he returns as a vengeful spirit and confronts Simon Legree before leading the slave owner to his death. Black media outlets of the time praised the film, but the studio—fearful of a backlash from Southern and white film audiences—ended up cutting out controversial scenes, including the film's opening sequence at a slave auction (where a mother is torn away from her baby). ["Slow Fade to Black: The Negro in American Film, 1900–1942" by Thomas Cripps, Oxford University Press, 1993, page 48.] The story was adapted by Pollard, Harvey F. _en. Thew and A. P. Younger, with titles by Walter Anthony. It starred James B. Lowe, Virginia Grey, George Siegmann, Margarita Fischer, Mona Rayand Madame Sul-Te-Wan. [http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/onstage/films/mv27 hp.html Universal Super Jewel Production (1927)] , Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture, a Multi-Media Archive, accessed April 19, 2007.]
For several decades after the end of the silent film era, the subject matter of Stowe's novel was judged too sensitive for further film interpretation. In 1946,
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayerconsidered filming the story, but ceased production after protests led by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. [http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/onstage/films/cameos/hollywood.html Uncle Tom's Cabin in Hollywood: 1929–1956] , Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture, a Multi-Media Archive, accessed April 19, 2007.]
German languageversion, directed by Géza von Radványi, appeared in 1965 and was presented in the United States by exploitation filmpresenter Kroger Babb. The most recent film version was a televisionbroadcast in 1987 directed by Stan Lathanand adapted by John Gay. It starred Avery Brooks, Phylicia Rashad, Edward Woodward, Jenny Lewis, Samuel L. Jacksonand Endyia Kinney.
In addition to film adaptations, versions of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" have featured in a number of
animated cartoons, including Walt Disney's " Mickey's Mellerdrammer" (1933), which features the classic Disney character performing the play in blackfacewith exaggerated, orange lips; the Bugs Bunnycartoon " Southern Fried Rabbit" (1953), where Bugs disguises himself as Uncle Tom and sings " My Old Kentucky Home" in order to cross the Mason-Dixon line; " Uncle Tom's Bungalow" (1937), a Warner Brother's cartoon supervised by Tex Avery; "Eliza on Ice" (1944), one of the earliest Mighty Mousecartoons produced by Paul Terry; and "Uncle Tom's Cabaña" (1947), an eight-minute cartoon directed by Tex Avery.
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" has also influenced a large number of movies, including
Birth of a Nation. This controversial 1915 film deliberately used a cabin similar to Uncle Tom's home in the film's dramatic climax, where several white Southerners unite with their former enemy (Yankee soldiers) to defend what the film's caption says is their "Aryan birthright." According to scholars, this reuse of such a familiar cabin would have resonated with, and been understood by, audiences of the time. ["Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White from Uncle Tom to O. J. Simpson" by Linda Williams, Princeton Univ. Press, 2001, page 115. Also [http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/onstage/films/cameos/griffithhp.html H. B. Stowe's Cabin in D. W. Griffith's Movie] , Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture, a Multi-Media Archive, accessed April 19, 2007.]
Among the other movies influenced by or making use of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" include "Dimples" (a 1936
Shirley Templefilm), "Uncle Tom's Uncle," (a 1926 Our Gang(The Little Rascals) episode), the Rodgers and Hammersteinmusical " The King and I" (in which a ballet called "Small House of Uncle Thomas" is performed in traditional Siamese style), and " Gangs of New York" (in which Leonardo DiCaprioand Daniel Day-Lewis's characters attend an imagined wartime adaptation of "Uncle Tom's Cabin").
Origins of the American Civil War
History of slavery in the United States
Timeline of the American Civil Rights Movement
Ramona", a novel that attempted to do the same for Native Americans in California that "Uncle Tom's Cabin" did for African Americans
* Onkel Toms Hütte, a
Berlin U-Bahnstation named for the book
* Gates, Henry Louis; and Appiah, Kwame Anthony. "Africana: Arts and Letters: an A-to-Z reference of writers, musicians, and artists of the African American Experience," Running Press, 2005.
* Jordan-Lake, Joy. "Whitewashing Uncle Tom's Cabin: Nineteenth-Century Women Novelists Respond to Stowe," Vanderbilt University Press, 2005.
* Lott, Eric. "Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class". New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
* Lowance, Mason I. (jr.); Westbrook, Ellen E.; De Prospo, R., "The Stowe Debate: Rhetorical Strategies in Uncle Tom's Cabin," Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1994.
* Rosenthal, Debra J. "Routledge Literary Sourcebook on Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin" Routledge, 2003.
* Sundquist, Eric J., editor "New Essays on Uncle Tom's Cabin," Cambridge University Press, 1986.
* Tompkins, Jane. "In Sensational Designs: The Cultural Work of American Fiction", 1790–1860. New York: Oxford UP, 1985.
* Weinstein, Cindy. "The Cambridge Companion to Harriet Beecher Stowe," Cambridge University Press, 2004.
* Williams, Linda. "Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White from Uncle Tom to O. J. Simpson," Princeton Univ. Press, 2001.
* [http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/utc/ University of Virginia Web site "Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture: A Multi-Media Archive"] Ed by Stephen Railton, covers 1830 to 1930, offering links to primary and bibliographic sources on the cultural background, various editions, and public reception of Harriet Beecher Stowe's influential novel. The site also provides the full text of the book, audio and video clips, and examples of related merchandising.
* [http://fax.libs.uga.edu/PS2954xU5/ Uncle Tom's cabin: or Life among the lowly] ; frontispiece by John Gilbert; ornamental title-page by Phiz; and 130 engravings on wood by Matthew Urlwin Sears, 1853 "(a searchable facsimile at the University of Georgia Libraries;
DjVu& [http://fax.libs.uga.edu/PS2954xU5/1f/ layered PDF] format)"
* [http://fax.libs.uga.edu/PS2954xU52/ Pictures and stories from Uncle Tom's cabin] ; "The purpose of the editor of this little work, has been to adapt it for the juvenile family circle. The verses have accordingly been written by the authoress for the capacity of the youngest readers …" 1853 "(a searchable facsimile at the University of Georgia Libraries;
DjVu& [http://fax.libs.uga.edu/PS2954xU52/1f/ layered PDF] format)"
*gutenberg|no=203|name=Uncle Tom's Cabin
* [http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=Uncle%20Tom%27s%20Cabin%20AND%20mediatype%3Atexts "Uncle Tom's Cabin] , available at
Internet Archive. Scanned, illustrated original editions.
* [http://www.uncletomscabin.org/ Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site]
* [http://librivox.org/uncle-toms-cabin-by-harriet-beecher-stowe/ Free audiobook of Uncle Tom's Cabin] at [http://librivox.org/ Librivox]
* [http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/interpret/exhibits/hedrick/hedrick.html More on the lack of international copyright]
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