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Annotated Uncle Toms Cabin [Hardcover]

Harriett Beecher Stowe , Louis Henry Gates , Robbins
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 14 2006
Henry Louis Gates Jr. redefines Uncle Tom's Cabin with this seminal interpretation of the great American novel. Declared worthless and dehumanising by James Baldwin in 1949, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" has lacked literary credibility for over fifty years. Now, in a ringing refutation of Baldwin, Gates demonstrates the literary transcendence of Harriet Beecher Stowe's masterpiece. First published in 1852, it galvanised the American public as no other work of fiction has ever done. The editors animate pre-American Civil War life with rich insights into the lives of slaves, abolitionists and the American reading public. Examining the lingering effects of the novel, they provide new insights into emerging race-relation, women's, gay and gender issues. With reproductions of rare prints, posters and photographs, this book is also one of the most thorough anthologies of Uncle Tom images available.

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From Publishers Weekly

Variously beloved, denounced and dismissed over its 150-plus year history, Stowe's classic 1852 novel has been nothing if not productive. As Gates and Robbins note, the novel was vastly important in shaping American ideas and attitudes about race, but it also influenced the ways people thought about relationships and sexuality, and it continues to spur debate about the meanings of slavery and domesticity. Those are just some of the reasons it's an oft-assigned text in colleges, a market this beautifully annotated, wide-format edition addresses nicely. Joining seven other titles in Norton's handsomely produced "Annotated" series, the book offers 32 pages of color illustrations (not seen by PW), 150 b&w period illustrations, and a two-column format that has Stowe's text at left, and the annotations at right.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Celebrated when it was published in 1852 and later vilified, Uncle Tom's Cabin unquestionably changed American history and has had an enduring impact on American literature. In this annotated version of the novel, college professors Gates and Robbins explore changes in perspective on race, sex, and literature since the publication of the novel and its subsequent critique in the 1950s by James Baldwin. Throughout the book are illustrations of Uncle Tom across the years, including posters, postcards, woodcuts, and advertisements, all reflecting changing images of Uncle Tom and black Americans. Gates and Robbins explore images of heroism and subservience, contrasting the unctuous sentimentality of the novel with the implicit sexual tension between Uncle Tom and Little Eva, and explore the reason the novel remains so strong in the public imagination. Both new readers and those familiar with the work will appreciate the scholarly insight into the culture and social conventions that directed Stowe's writing. She sought to rouse abolitionist sentiments and, in the process, rendered Uncle Tom as no threat to white men. The editors ultimately applaud the novel as an enduring part of the American literary canon. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! Sept. 28 2005
I read a lot of books and very few of them are ones that I will NEVER forget. Uncle Tom's Cabin is among the few that will be with me for a lifetime. This book is of course about slavery - the evil of it and the necessity of freeing slaves but there is so much more to it. It is also a social commentary. It is a story about hope. 'Uncle Tom' is perhaps the most incredible hero I have ever read about. He is a character of such simple Christian faith that he has encouraged my own walk with Christ. If you are searching for a book that will make you smile at the warmth of the human soul and cry over the evil of people this is the book to read. You will never forget Uncle Tom's Cabin and it very well may change how you live your life. Books that can do that are precious, grab a hold of it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding story Feb. 27 2005
Uncle Tom's Cabin is a very melodramatic book. I have read it several times over the past twenty years and must say that it has something new for every decade or even for every generation. When considered for our time, Uncle Tom's stands out as a classic prose that hits directly at those turbulent times before the Civil War, and reflects issues of war and principles today. Harriet Beecher Stowe had a great cause to write about and wrote a work that still is as relevant today as it was during his time.
The author's masterful story summarizes the conflicting attitudes of a nation on the brink of civil war. Melodramatic though it is, it was written in the style of the times and for a situation that required it. This is a highly recommended book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I knew all about this book ... until I read it June 13 2011
By B. Breen TOP 500 REVIEWER
I thought I knew everything I needed to know about Uncle Tom's Cabin. I've read the history books. I know it first appeared as a serial story in an abolitionist magazine in 1851. I know it appeared as a novel in 1852. I know it is credited by many with having pushed the nation into the Civil War. I know that it is the best selling American Novel of the 19th century. I know it is the 2nd best selling book in America in the 19th century, second only to the Bible. I know it is recognized as one of the most influential works of literature in America and set the stage for many political works that followed for quite some time. I know many of its images and terms have since served to themselves become stereotypes over the years seen very differently today, than they were in the days before and even shortly following the Civil War.

So, when I saw that the novel was available on the Kindle as a free download, I wasn't sure I needed to read it. But I went ahead and I'm glad I did.

There's always a temptation in reviewing a book critically, that the more popular a book is, the more tempting it is to adopt an elitist attitude that serves to further, not the value of the book, but rather the size of the ego of the reviewer. I was tempted while reading this to adopt some of this attitude.

The book plays out as a Victorian morality play and it sermonizes in true Puritan and Calvinist form to seek to bring shame on both the North and the South for their direct and indirect support of the institution of slavery in America. Many of the characters are, from the perspective of a 21st century reader, contrived representations which seem very unrealistic and are designed to tug at the emotions of the reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Ronald W. Maron TOP 500 REVIEWER
I found this book to be intriguing if, for no other reason, than it is one of the most frequently used reference books of this era but, on the other hand, one of the books that remain the most highly unread. Yes, Miss Stowe did portray the inhumane cruelty of the early 1800s and, yes, she provided a quality storyline to bring these concepts to life. But, that being said, I strongly feel that her depiction of the slave holders tilted to both polar extremes. One the humanistic side she showed two sets of slave owners who, for the most part, treated their charges as nearly being part of the `family'. In some instances the attention and care that they received even outstripped family members. This, I am sure, is the manner in which the author would have treated slaves if, indeed, they were in her charge. On the other extreme Miss Stowe depicts Simon Legree as the incarnate projection of pure evil. A cotton farmer, who by all accounts is monetarily quite successful, treating his slaves as a few steps below that of mere disposable waste. If such were the case, Mr. Legree would be forced to take most (if not all) of his profits and use them for the continual repurchase of replacement slaves for the ones he presently is mistreating. For they will soon be dead either through his own direct hand or by his continual abuse. Yes, I understand that the author did have a statement to make that literally screamed against the recent passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. She, likewise, felt it her mission to embolden the Northern States to take action against the dehumanizing actions of the Southern plantation owners. By using these extremes and ignoring the norm, her mission was successful. Reality, on the other hand, was slightly different. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Product!
This is a great book, the item arrived as expected and in excellent condition. Looking forward to reading this book again and again.
Published 10 months ago by Stevie
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncle Tom's Cabin
I had meant to read this book many years ago.However, just recently got a copy and I bought it through Amazon. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Elva Zwiest
3.0 out of 5 stars A powerful, important message in a weak novel!
As a classic, Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" deserves its status as a powerful indictment against the history of black slavery in America. Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2009 by Paul Weiss
5.0 out of 5 stars Literature And History
There are some books which one gets to know by reputation before one actually reads them. "Uncle Tom's Cabin (or, Life Among the Lowly)" by Harriet Beecher Stowe is one of them. Read more
Published on June 14 2008 by Dave_42
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding story
Uncle Tom's Cabin is a very melodramatic book. I have read it several times over the past twenty years and must say that it has something new for every decade or even for every... Read more
Published on March 9 2005 by Michael Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars Beyond the term "classic"
This book is beyond the term "classic." I tend to think of classic books as those you're made to read in school. Read more
Published on July 7 2004 by "thomabbott"
5.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but way ahead of its time!
I usually don't expect 150-year-old novels of ideas (and this is the quintessential novel of ideas) to be page turners, but Stowe is to be commended for writing what is first of... Read more
Published on July 6 2004 by Luis M. Luque
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've read...
This is definitely a book worth reading. I have refrained from reading it previously for no real reasons, but when it was on sale at the bookstore, I decided that it was time to... Read more
Published on June 24 2004 by H
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncle Tom's Cabin
Often credited to helping start the American Civil War, Stowe's novel became influential for all Americans, whether willingly or not. Read more
Published on May 31 2004
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