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  • Uncle Tom's Cabinin Our Time
  • Susan Belasco
A review considering the following works: Uncle Tom's Cabinin the National Era. Presented by the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.
The Norton Critical Edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Edited by Elizabeth Ammons. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2010. xviii + 616 pp. $15.75 paper.
Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life among the Lowly. Edited by David S. Reynolds. Facsimile of the Splendid Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. xxxiii + 608 pp., 126 illus. $24.95 cloth.
Uncle Tom's Cabinand the Reading Revolution: Race, Literacy, Childhood, and Fiction, 1851-1911. By Barbara Hochman. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2011. xv + 377 pp., 40 illus. $80.00 cloth/$28.95 paper.
Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom's Cabinand the Battle for America. By David S. Reynolds. New York: Norton, 2011. xiv + 351 pp., 43 illus. $27.95 cloth/$17.95 paper.
Uncle Tom's Cabin. Prod. Vera Mattlin Jiji. 1983; 2010. DVD. $19.89.

In June 2011, more than one hundred scholars gathered at Bowdoin College to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Harriet Beecher Stowe. They heard and discussed papers that covered a wide range of topics, including the author's later works, her relationships with Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs, her transatlantic connections, and Japanese translations of Uncle Tom's Cabin. They attended roundtable discussions of topics such as access to the archives at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Participants (including two of Stowe's descendants) saw performances of Stowe's works and even enjoyed a walking tour of her neighborhood [End Page 318]in Brunswick, Maine. Arranged by the Harriet Beecher Stowe Society in conjunction with the Maine Humanities Council, the Maine Women Writers Collection, and Bowdoin College, the conference was the centerpiece of the prolific scholarly activity on Stowe and her famous novel in recent years. The online publication of the National Eraserialization of Uncle Tom's Cabin, the two print editions, two monographs, and the DVD of the staging of George Aiken's dramatization of Uncle Tom's Cabinunder review here have all appeared since 2009, the year of the publication of my Stowe in Her Own Timeas well as the Broadview edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin, edited by Christopher G. Diller. A quick search of this brief time period in the MLA Bibliographyreveals the publication of some thirty-five new articles and book chapters on the author and her best-known work. Three of these print articles are in languages other than English, and one is a selection from a digital critical edition of the novel in the new, entirely online journal Scholarly Editing. Moreover, one collection of essays moves away from the main event: BeyondUncle Tom's Cabin: Essays on the Writing of Harriet Beecher Stowe, edited by Sylvia Mayer and Monika Mueller, both scholars at German universities. Without doubt, new scholarship on Stowe and Uncle Tom's Cabinis both transatlantic/pacific in nature and technologically sophisticated.

As Tillie Olsen noted in Silences, "Stowe was thirty-nine before she got to Uncle Tom's Cabin—at last. She wrote it in magazine serial installments—in between—when weary with teaching the children and tending the baby and buying provisions and mending and darning; much of it on the kitchen table" (206). The rest of the story is well known. The book was a runaway best-seller, read by people all over the world, including Queen Victoria. Late in his life, William Dean Howells wrote that as a teenager he "broke [his] heart over Uncle Tom's Cabin," which he first read as it was published in installments in the antislavery newspaper the National Era(51). A young Henry James saw a dramatic version of the novel, staged by P. T. Barnum at his American Museum in New York in 1853. Although many African American readers, such as Frederick Douglass, saw the value of the novel in attracting attention to the antislavery cause, others objected, feeling that Stowe knew little of the actuality of slavery. Martin R. Delaney wrote his...


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