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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 (136 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality Check May 2 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It will be found shocking to many African Americans (and educational for many Caucasians) to discover that Uncle Tom was the HERO of this classic novel, and not a "weakling" by any stretch of the imagination. "Uncle Tom", or its shorter form "Tom", has become a slanderous term within the African American community and implies a weak and Caucasian-controlled person, when in actuality Uncle Tom was a powerfully moral man who was willing to die for his convictions rather than succumb to the will of his worst oppressors. In fact, this book was credited by Abraham Lincoln himself as the catalyst that won his election on the abolition of slavery platform, and the resulting Civil War that followed. "Uncle Tom" became a negative slander one hundred years later only after Malcolm-X and the Black Muslims used it to slander Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who exemplified similar characteristics of strength and courage--from a similarly peaceful perspective--in his approach to the Civil Rights issue. As with the fictitious character Tom, Dr. King also died for his convictions without raising a hand against his oppressors. I highly recommend this book to people of all colors and races because of the lessons of self-sacrifice and courage it contains. Caucasian readers will hopefully learn of the pain and suffering of the slaves and gain a deeper compassion for its lingering legacy today. However, I especially recommend Uncle Tom's Cabin to African Americans, for contained in its pages are stories of love, compassion and courage--by both black & white--that will offset the painful legacy of that period caused by the suffering of so many. May the ignorance of the "Uncle Tom" slander be eradicated from their minds as they read of the courage of this fictitious character--who reminded others of Dr. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amen! This should be required reading.... April 17 2002
Being a suburban, male, upper-middle class WASP, educated in Kansas City's public school system I had never completely understood the conditions that surrounded legalized slavery in the middle 1800's. I had watched Gone with the Wind as a kid and that was my image of plantation life and slavery. Uncle Tom's Cabin gives the reader the whole story and Stowe does an excellent job of presenting arguments from all sides of the issue (brutal slave drivers, gentleman farmers, abolitionists, slaves accepting their lot in life, slaves longing to be free). I was so moved. Only Grapes of Wrath and To Kill a Mockingbird have had that same impact on me in the past. I would give this book 6 stars if that were an option. The U.S. History books always made reference to Uncle Tom's Cabin for its historical importance. It did open the eyes of so many who didn't realize what was happening in their country. Public education should go further though by making this required reading. It is so much more than a mere footnote. It is a slow-starter, it took me about 10 days to get through the first 100 pages adjusting to Stowe's mastery with dialects, but the last 350 pages moved 3 times as fast. Wow! The power of reading. It's amazing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uncle Tom's Cabin March 28 2002
Uncle Tom's Cabin is written through the eyes of a religious
fanatic abolitionist whose father is a minister and president of
a college of theology where her husband is a professor. Ms. Stowe tries to tell about slavery in the South from tails she has heard. The book was written nine years before the War Between the States and sold 300,000 copies the first year. The book hurt the South and caused people from the North and Mid-west to believe every word she wrote eventhough Ms. Stowe had never been to the South. Even President Lincoln when meeting her said," So you're the little lady who started this war".
All of Uncle Tom's Masters treated him better than most of the slaves were treated with the exception of one Master. The book takes you from one Master to another with you wondering what will happen next. The book is chocked full of colorful and interesting characters. It's a book that will make you laugh and also make you cry.
I think this is a book everyone should read and it will make you ask yourself what's wrong with being called an "Uncle Tom."
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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 14 months ago by Stevie
5.0 out of 5 stars An abolishionist's plea to the Northern states for action.....
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... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Ronald W. Maron
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 on Aug. 13 2012 by Elva Zwiest
5.0 out of 5 stars I knew all about this book ... until I read it
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. Read more
Published on June 13 2011 by Bart Breen
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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