Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classicsseries, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars Biographies of the authors Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events Footnotes and endnotes Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work Comments by other famous authors Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations Bibliographies for further reading Indices & Glossaries, when appropriateAll editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influencesbiographical, historical, and literaryto enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
Nearly every young author dreams of writing a book that will literally change the world. A few have succeeded, and Harriet Beecher Stowe is such a marvel. Although the American anti-slavery movement had existed at least as long as the nation itself, Stowe s Uncle Tom s Cabin (1852) galvanized public opinion as nothing had before. The book sold 10,000 copies in its first week and 300,000 in its first year. Its vivid dramatization of slavery s cruelties so aroused readers that it is said Abraham Lincoln told Stowe her work had been a catalyst for the Civil War.
Today the novel is often labeled condescending, but its charactersTom, Topsy, Little Eva, Eliza, and the evil Simon Legreestill have the power to move our hearts. Though Uncle Tom has become a synonym for a fawning black yes-man, Stowe s Tom is actually American literature s first black hero, a man who suffers for refusing to obey his white oppressors. Uncle Tom s Cabin is a living, relevant story, passionate in its vivid depiction of the cruelest forms of injustice and inhumanityand the courage it takes to fight against them.
Amanda Claybaugh is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.