Brown grained cloth with gilt lettering on the spine. Embossed ship on front cover.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly. is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in two volumes in 1852, the novel had a profound effect on attitudes toward African Americans and slavery in the U.S. and is said to have “helped lay the groundwork for the [American] Civil War.”
Stowe, a Connecticut-born woman of English descent was part of the religious Beecher family. A teacher at the Hartford Female Seminary and an active abolitionist, she featured the character of Uncle Tom in the novel, a long-suffering black slave around whom the stories of other characters revolve. The sentimental novel depicts the reality of slavery while also asserting that Christian love can overcome slavery. The title page illustrates a modest log cabin inhabited by a black family.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the best-selling novel and the second best-selling book of the 19th century, following the Bible. It is credited with helping fuel the abolitionist cause in the 1850s. In the first year after it was published, 300,000 copies of the book were sold in the United States; one million copies were sold in Great Britain. Eight power presses, running incessantly, could barely keep up with the demand. In 1855, three years after it was published, it was called “the most popular novel of our day”. The impact attributed to the book is great, reinforced by a story that when Abraham Lincoln met Stowe at the start of the Civil War, he declared, “So this is the little lady who started this great war.” The quote is apocryphal; it did not appear in print until 1896, and it has been argued that “the long-term durability of Lincoln’s greeting as an anecdote in literary studies and Stowe scholarship can perhaps be explained in part by the desire among many contemporary intellectuals … to affirm the role of literature as an agent of social change.”
The book and the plays it inspired helped popularize a number of stereotypes about black people. These include the affectionate, dark-skinned mammy; the pickaninny stereotype of black children; and the namesake character type of “Uncle Tom”, describing a 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”.
Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896) was an American author and abolitionist. She came from the Beecher family, a famous religious family, and became best known for her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), which depicts the harsh conditions experienced by enslaved African Americans. The book reached an audience of millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and in Great Britain, energizing anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the South. Stowe wrote 30 books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters. She was influential both for her writings and for her public stances and debates on social issues of the day.
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