In the nineteenth century, Uncle Tom's Cabin sold more copies than any book in the world except the Bible. Upon publication, it was quickly translated into thirty-seven languages and has never gone out of print. It remains a controversial and complex text that, along with David Walker's Appeal, Henry David Thoreau's Walden, W. E. B. DuBois's The Souls of Black Folk, and Helena María Viramontes' Under the Feet of Jesus, among others, stands out as an important text in the progressive struggle for social justice in the United States.
This Second Edition is based on the original 1852 book edition, published in two volumes by John P. Jewett and Company, Boston, and includes all original illustrations. The text is accompanied by a preface and detailed explanatory annotations to assist the reader with obscure historical terms and biblical allusions.
"Backgrounds and Contexts" includes a wealth of historical documents addressing the issues of slavery and abolitionism. New visuals in the Second Edition include a selection of abolition posters and records of torture. Also newly included is J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur's eyewitness account of slavery as a visitor to the United States, a selection from David Walker's Appeal, and Henrietta King's autobiographical account of the horror of slavery.
"Criticism" presents a balanced view of the ongoing controversy over Uncle Tom's Cabin in fifteen reviews and scholarly interpretations spanning more than 150 years of writing about the novel. Paul Laurence Dunbar, Jane P. Tompkins, and Susan M. Ryan, among others, admire Uncle Tom's Cabin for its social vision and artistry, while James Baldwin and Sophia Cantave, among others, argue that the book's racism continues to promote misperceptions and that its prominence does ongoing damage. A Chronology of Stowe's life and work, a Brief Timeline of Slavery in America, and an updated Selected Bibliography are also included.
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