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HARRIET BEECHER STOWE
Uncle Tom's Cabin [1852]
(Seminar Handout)

Section Index


  1. The case for individuality, freedom and democracy: Emerson and Thoreau
  2. Quotes from Uncle Tom's Cabin
  3. Biblical background
  4. Criticism
    1. Slavery, Revolution and Uncle Tom's Cabin: Sundquist
    2. Hard Facts - Making a Thing into a Man: Fisher
    3. From the London Times Review of "Uncle Tom's Cabin", Friday Sept. 3rd 1852
  5. Thoughts on the text
  6. Selected Bibliography

  What's Related  
  Subseq. Pages - Essays & Papers  
 






1. The case for individuality, freedom and democracy: Emerson and Thoreau

Stowe Harriet Beecher Stowe
(1811-96)

the common

"I ask not for the great, the remote, the romantic; what is doing in Italy or Arabia; what is Greek art, or Provencal Minstrelsy; I embrace the common, I explore and sit at the feet of the familiar, the low. [...] This [common] writing is blood-warm. Man is surprised to find that things near are not less beautiful and wondrous than things remote. The near explains the far. The drop is a small ocean. A man is related to all nature." [Emerson, "The American Scholar" 478]

individuality

"Another sign of our times [..] is, the new importance given to the single person." ... "He must be an university of knowledges." ... "The world is nothing, the man is all; in yourself is the law of all nature, [..] in yourself slumbers the whole of Reason; it is for you to know all, it is for you to dare all. [..] We will walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands, we will speak our own minds." [Emerson 479f, individuality, independence, self-responsibility]

unjust laws

"Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?" [Thoreau, "Resistance to Civil Government" 779]

authority

"The authority of government, even such as I am willing to submit to,- for I will cheerfully obey those who know and can do better than I, and in many things even those who neither know nor can do so well-- is still an impure one: to be strictly just, it must have the sanction and consent of the governed. It can have no pure right over my person and property but what I concede to it. [..] There will never be a really free and enlightened State, until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly." [Thoreau 788]







2. Quotes from Uncle Tom's Cabin

right and wrong

"Now, John, I don't know anything about politics, but I can read my Bible; and there I see that I must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the desolate; and that Bible I mean to follow. [..] Obeying God never brings on public evils. I know it can't. It's always safest, all round, to do as He bids us:" [as said by the senator's wife; Stowe 69]

submission to fate

"I wonder, Mr. Wilson, if the Indians should come and take you a prisoner away from your wife and children, and want to keep you all your life hoeing corn for them, if you'd think it your duty to abide in the condition in which you were called. I rather think that you'd think the first stray horse you could find an indication of Providence - shouldn't you? [..] Down south I never will go. No! If it comes to that, I can earn myself at least six feet of free soil,- the first and last I shall ever own in Kentucky! [..]" [as said by George Harris, Stowe 95]

Eliza's flight

"Wal, Missis, de Lord he persarves his own. Lizy's done gone over the river into 'Hio, as 'markably as if de Lord took her over in a charrit of fire and two hosses." [as told by Sam, Stowe 62]

freedom

"All men are free and equal in the grave, if it comes to that" [as said by George Harris, Stowe 98]

"Liberty! - the electric word! What is it? Is there anything more in it than a name - a rhetorical flourish? Why, men and women of America, does your heart's blood thrill at that word, for which your fathers bled, and your braver mothers were willing that their noblest and best should die? [..] To your fathers, freedom was the right of a nation to be a nation. To him [i.e., George Harris], it is the right of a man to be a man, and not a brute; thr right to call the wife of his bosom his wife, and to protect her from lawless violence; the right to protect and educate his child; the right to have a home of his own, a religion of his own, a character of his own, unsubject to the will of another." [Stowe 332]







3. Biblical background

Tribute to the state

"They asked him, '[..] Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?' But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 'Show me a coin. Whose likeness and inscription has it?' They said, 'Caesar's' He said to them, 'Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's'" [Luke 20,21-25]

Serving two masters

"No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." [Luke 16,13]

Suffering

"But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, / sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. / For you had compassion on the prisoners, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. / Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. [..] But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls." [Hebrews 10,32-35.39]

Non-violence

[Jesus is about to be arrested in the garden of Gethsemane] "Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, 'Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?" [John 18,10-11]







4. Criticism

Matthiessen

"[Emerson] was uneasy at times in his detachment, as he was over his restricted audience when he compared the response of his few hundreds or thousands to the mass that greeted Uncle Tom's Cabin. He perceived also how it was that book's distinction to have been 'read equally in the parlor and the kitchen and the nursery.'" [Matthiessen 67]

Reynolds

"Stowe's influential best-seller brings together two powerful forces - the Subversive and the Conventional - that had been gathering influence in popular literature and journalism since the 1830s. The germ of Uncle Tom's Cabin was Stowe's mental vision, during a church service in Brunswick, Maine, of a chained, weeping slave being whipped to death by a harsh overseer. She immediately went home and wrote down the episode, which became the death scene of Uncle Tom. It is significant that the novel began with a sadomasochistic fantasy, for such fantasies had characterized fervent antislavery writing ever since William Lloyd Garrison published the first issue of his abolitionist newspaper The Liberator in 1831." [Reynolds 75]







4.1. Slavery, Revolution and Uncle Tom's Cabin: Sundquist

sins of the past

"The failure to abolish slavery in the late eighteenth century left succeeding generations stymied, imprisoned by the Constitution's apparent protection of slavery, yet conscious of the implicit attack on it in the Declaration of Independence. The post-Revolutionary sons, it could be said, harbored the sins of the past until the accumulated pressure-- - of territorial acquisition, of political dissension, of guilt - became too great." [Sundquist 5]

identifications

"Revolutionary pamphlets often cast Americans as slaves of king and parliament, suggesting at times that chattel slavery was but an extreme form of a more pervasive political oppression. As attempts to abolish slavery during and after Revolution foundered on the questions of (human) property rights, vital economy, fear of insurrection and amalgamation, and the legacy of the fathers, the tentative identification between colonists and slaves collapsed." [Sundquist 7f]

Stowe & insurrection

"For Stowe, of course, violent revolution was no answer, and her sentimental racialism prevented her from imagining fully the need for, and the effects of, such insurrection. Rebellion, as it appears in Uncle Tom's Cabin, is an apocalyptic issue: obvious in the Christ-like martyrdom of Tom; or, more revealingly, in the gothic intrigues of Cassy" [Sundquist 17]

"Whatever its intention, the book's stated assumption that pure blacks are naturally docile comes close to implying that slaves were incapable of revolution" [Sundquist 17]

Rousseau

"Stowe perfected an imagistic rhetoric of sentiment that derived from the eighteenth-century ideal of benevolence, in part a Rousseauian belief that man was everywhere 'in chains' and in part a result of a rising evangelical Protestantism." [Sundquist 18]

sentiment

"Sentiment, not antislavery, made the book popular and its black hero an exemplary suffering heroine; Tom's access of feminine power and his pious sacrifice, in explicit contrast to Legree's inexorable lust and cruelty, marks the fantasy Stowe's audience eagerly adopted - that slavery was the culture's extreme revelation of lust and the South an arena of erotic dissipation 'where the repressed came out of hiding'" [Sundquist 18]

".. Stowe insisted that the power of sentiment, a rebellion of the emotions, of heart over head, would crush the masculine tyranny of American institutions and the law of the 'fathers'" [Sundquist 18f]

"In her treatment of black character and her implicit challenge to the paternal ideal of the Revolutionary past, then, Stowe's novel embraces the very tensions that divided the nation. [..] The romance of sentimental domesticity that lends her novel its great emotional power might free the slaves and crucify them at the same time. The apocalyptic suffering that activates Uncle Tom's Cabin arises not only from repressed Calvinistic fears of Negro 'blackness' but also from a crisis of purification in which Revolutionary sentiment and the will of God struggled antagonistically to become united against slavery." [Sundquist 19f]

defiance & obedience

"Our 'fear of dissolving the Union' is the strongest reason for 'our supineness of the subject of slavery'" [Lydia Maria Child. An Appeal in Favor of the Americans Called Africans. New York: Arno Press, 1968 [reprint of . 1836 ed.], p. 212; as quoted in Sundquist 20]

"The double impulses of defiance and obedience Child identified, so infusing Lincoln's political vision, also lie behind Stowe's association of gothic terror and domesticity. The gothic was preeminently the genre of revolution and psychological upheaval, and domesticity had become the image of America's successful revolution and its stymied incompletion. Sentiment, because it turned the idea of black revolutionary violence in-ward and internalized suffering as imminent heavenly wrath, made it possible to conceive of the revolutionary destruction of slavery without violence" [Sundquist 20]







4.2. Hard Facts - Making a Thing into a Man: Fisher

impact

"After the legal act of the Emancipation Proclamation, after the military victory of the Union and the cultural work of Uncle Tom's Cabin, blacks were no longer 'things', and therefore property, but persons." [Fisher 4]

ordinariness

"It is the ordinariness of Cooper and Stowe and Dreiser that permits them a transforming power unavailable to the 'genius' of Melville, Dickinson, or James who, for all of their extraordinary and dense uniqueness, were unable to bring about the work of the cultural present" [Fisher 8]

slavery

"The hard fact within the Jeffersonian setting was slavery." [Fisher 12]

"slavery is a form of evil that we can imagine the world without." [Fisher 109]

structure

"One part of the transition from the earlier historical form of Scott and Cooper to the economic form of Zola and Dreiser can clearly be seen in Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. Because her subject was slavery and her goal was social transformation, Stone was committed top the sentimental form of the novel. [..] However, because slavery is a form of work as well as a way of life, an economic relation as well as a relation of power, a thing-relation as well as a personal relation, Stowe's novel had a second dimension. Its texture is sentimental but its structure is naturalist. Hers is a novel of research, of typical facts and cases. She spends great effort creating the character types and varieties of moral life that must inevitably follow from the system of slavery. In doing this she gives the anatomy of her subject, slavery, and that anatomy becomes the structure of her novel. Its three parts are based in the three primary economic kinds of slavery: first, the few slaves associated with a family farm; second, the household slavery of domestic urban life; third, the plantation system of the deep south." [Fisher 17]

art and kitsch

"The distinction that formerly was made between high and popular culture, between art and kitsch (a category in which most people would still put the Leatherstocking Tales of Cooper and Uncle Tom's Cabin), involved the claim that art invented patterns of feeling while kitsch with its stereotypes and familiar feelings played to the appetites already in existence. Popular forms like the sentimental novel and the historical novel soothed by means of the familiar, it was claimed, and ultimately they dulled the sensibilities that art made lively by means of its 'advanced' and innovative configurations. But when we look back more candidly we can see that often the popular forms, while stale in detail and texture, were massing small patterns of feeling in entirely new directions. [..] Making familiar or making ordinary is the radical 'work' done by popular forms." [Fisher 19]

sentimentality

"... from roughly 1740 to 1860 sentimentality was a crucial tactic of politically radical representation throughout western culture. Until it was replaced by the strategies of literary naturalism, class struggle, anger, and counterforce in the last third of the 19th century, the liberal humanism of sentimentality was the primary radical methodology within culture." [Fisher 92]

chains

"It was, of course, Rousseau who described all men within society as prisoners when at the beginning of The Social Contract he wrote, 'Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.' Wordsworth described the relation of adulthood to the full humanity of childhood as a growing up in which 'shades of the prison house begin to fall.'" [Fisher 94]

method

"Stowe's novel [..] is objective and systematic. Its topic is not the mind of the slave but the system of slavery itself in its normal and diverse operations. [..] Thus Uncle Tom moves through three economic varieties of slavery, each of which represents the forms and severities, the bene-fits and experiences of slavery within one of the three classes of southern society. From the middle-class farming world of Kentucky to the upper-class urban household of New Orleans to the lower-class plantation of Simon Legree, the life elements are determined by climate, economics, and scale of need in a conspicuous way. The variety of slaves and experiences are similarly objective and systematic. Psychology is relegated to a marginal position." [Fisher 96]

destruction of family

"In Uncle Tom's cabin the destruction of the family, the primary result of slavery in the lives of the slaves themselves, has a second and multiplied effect because this destruction is witnessed, not by individuals, but by the white family which is, in its turn, destroyed by this witnessing. [..] Little Eva sickens and dies from hearing and seeing the slavery around her. The mother [of the St. Clare family] has adopted the interesting strategy of claiming that se herself suffers more than the slaves. [..] Her husband Augustine, [..] since to change this one case would have no effect on the balance of evil, he does nothing. [..] With the deaths of Little Eva and Augustine the family is dissolved. The family of white witnesses collapses alongside the slave families in their midst." [Fisher 103f]

compassion

"Compassion is, of course, the primary emotional goal of sentimental narration. Compassion exists in relation to suffering and makes of suffering the primary subject matter, perhaps the exclusive subject matter, of sentimental narrative." [Fisher 105]

forced separations

"Uncle Tom's Cabin is [...] an anthology of partings and forced separations." [Fisher 107]

suffering

"Deathbed scenes are experienced from the point of view of the survivors, not the phenomenal point of view of the one dying. Their subject is loss, not death. More precisely, their subject is separation that will be mended only by a later reunion in the after-life. Thus, deathbed loss is the only common experience that the white reader has that Stowe can use to comprehend slavery as separation, as the loss of members of a family who, like Uncle Tom, expect or hope for reunion just as the Christian reader does for his loved ones in heaven. [..] The feeling of suffering be-comes more important than action against suffering. Tears become more important than escapes or rescues." [Fisher 109]

Quaker settlement

"The Quaker settlement is the premise of the rest of Stowe's novel, and it is so because it repictures the privileged setting that the slave society has betrayed. The settlement is more an oasis from America than its smallest working unit. It is a rest house on a journey and not, as Jefferson had promised, the end of that journey itself." [Fisher 114]

time scheme

"The time scheme of sentimental fiction represents events by means of only two of [..] six phases of action: first, [..] the brief moment after the event is inevitable, but before it has occurred; and secondly, [..] the event seen in the deep past by the single person most deeply and permanently marked by it. It is only in these two time spans that narrative relates events from the point of view of the victim and is therefore a record of suf-fering, rather than from the point of view of the oppressor and, therefore, a record of violence." [Fisher 116]

title/possession

".. the startling element of Stowe's title does not lie in the words 'Uncle Tom' but in the cabin and the possessive letter 's'. But, of course, it is Tom who is owned and governed by a possessive 's'. He is the Tom of Shelby, rather than his own free-standing identity with first and last name, and that is the central fact of his identity. Still the title refers to him as the owner of a cabin." [Fisher 119]

title/ruins/monument

"That the cabin is mentioned in the title is odd because the cabin plays very little part in the novel. [..] The title therefore asserts his homeless-ness, his possession of a home that he has not yet reached. The emotional equation, here, for Stowe's reader, is to his own Christian image of heaven as the home to which he will return after a wandering on earth. [..] It is in that sense [the cabin representing a ruin, a 'permanent trace of human failure'] that the title names the empty cabin and the book itself, in which the story of Tom is told from the point of view of his death, is Tom's monument." [Fisher 119-121]

speech/regionalism

"No longer are habits of speech and intellectual style merely personal or moral or picturesque. Instead, as would be true fifty years later in Dreiser or Norris, every turn of phrase has an inevitable and impersonal connection to the underlying economic system and its rationalization, mystification, or ironic and passive tolerance. [..] The greatest example of the force of this regional analysis comes in the central section of Stowe's novel where the deep structures of Southern temperament are outlined in their decadence and in their self-contradiction.







4.3. From the London Times Review of "Uncle Tom's Cabin", Friday Sept. 3rd 1852

success

"Uncle Tom's Cabin is at every railway book-stall in England, and in every third traveller's hand. The book is a decided hit."

female writing

"She does not preach a sermon, for men are accustomed to nap and nod under the pulpit; she does not indite a philosophical discourse, for phi-losophy is exacting, is solicitous for truth, and scorns exaggeration. Nor does the lady condescend to survey her intricate subject in the capacity of a judge, for the judicial seat is fixed high above human passion, and she is in no temper to mount it. With the instinct of her sex, the clever authoress takes the shortest road to her purpose, and strikes at the convictions of her readers by assailing their hearts. She cannot hold the scales of justice with a steady hand, but she has learnt to perfection the craft of the advocate."

abolitionist

"Mrs. STOWE having made up her mind that slavery is an abomination in the sight of God and man, thinks of nothing but the annihilation of the pernicious system. From the first page of her narrative to the last this idea is paramount in her mind, and colors all her drawing."

negro character

"We know of no book in which the negro character finds such successful interpretation, and appears so life-like and so fresh."

poor structuring

"But even as an artist Mrs. STOWE is not faultless. She exhibits but ordinary ability in the construction of her story. Her narrative is rather a succession of detached scenes than a compact, well-jointed whole; and many of the scenes are tedious from their similarity and repetition."

racialism

"She should surely have contented herself with proving the infamy of the slave system, and not been tempted to establish the superiority of the African nature over that of the Anglo-Saxon and every other known race."

"If Mrs. STOWE'S portraiture is correct, and if Uncle Tom is a type of a class, we deliberately assert that we have nothing more to communicate to the negro, but everything to learn from his profession and practice. No wonder that Tom works miracles by his example. Such sudden conver-sions from brutality to humility, from glaring infidelity to the most childlike belief, as are presented to our admiration in these volumes, have never been wrought on earth since the days of the Apostles."

"that Tom cries to Heaven to give him two more souls, and that the prayer is immediately and satisfactorily answered by their happy and most astounding conversion. Surely there is something more real and substantial in Mrs. STOWE'S volumes to account for their extraordinary popu-larity than such absolute and audacious trash. It would be blasphemy to believe in such revelations, and common sense and a feeling of what is due to our better nature will assuredly prevent all by the veriest fanatics from accepting as truth such exaggerated and unholy fables."

overstating

"An indifferent advocate may make one of two mistakes. He may understate his client's case, or he may overstate it. As able as she is, Mrs. STOWE has committed the latter fault, and will suffer in the minds of the judicious from the female error. With so good a cause it is a pity that her honest zeal should have outrun discretion."

keeping ill blood

"The gravest fault of the book has, however, to be mentioned. Its object is to abolish slavery. Its effect will be to render slavery more difficult than ever of abolishment. Its popularity constitutes its greatest difficulty. It will keep ill-blood at boiling-point, and irritate instead of pacifying those whose proceedings Mrs. STOWE is anxious to influence on behalf of humanity. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was not required to convince the hat-ers of slavery of the abomination of the "institution;" of all books, it is the least calculated to weigh with those whose prejudices in favor of slav-ery have yet to be overcome, and whose interests are involved in the perpetuation of the system. If slavery is to cease in America, and if the peo-ple of the United States, who fought and bled for their liberty and nobly won it, are to remove the disgrace that attaches to them for forging chains for others which they will not tolerate on their own limbs, the work of enfranchisement must be a movement, not forced upon slaveowners, but voluntarily undertaken, accepted and carried out by the whole community."

secession

"There is no federal law which can compel the Slave States to resign the "property" which they hold. The States of the South are as free to main-tain slavery as are the States of the North to rid themselves of the scandal. Let the attempt be made imperiously and violently to dictate to the South, and from that hour the Union is at an end."

emancipation

"We do not believe that the blacks in America are prepared for sudden emancipation; and, if they are, we are certain that the whites are wholly incapable of appreciating the blessing."

"For, in truth, what is liberty worth to the possessor if it be accompanied with social degradation or the worst description?" racism in US "Let it be borne in mind that this instinctive and openly proclaimed physical disgust and abhorrence of the negro race is not peculiar to the South, but is even more strongly evident in the North; but it is no offensive characteristic of the Slaveowner, but is a vice equally rampant in the self-satisfied and complacent soul of the agitating abolitionist. Blacks are not stocks or stones; we know them to be capable of high civilization, and to be susceptible of the noblest emotions. Improved public opinion all over the world is doing much for them, and education and religion are doing still more. They are not unconscious of their social inferiority in Republican America, for they are hourly made to feel it. Imagine them liberated to-morrow in those portions of the United States where they outnumber the whites, and where they would have only to raise their liberated hands in order to strike down the traditional enemies of their race, their once tyrannical owners, their always contemptuous social superiors. Hate begets hate, and a war of races secures the rapid deterioration and decline of all the combatants. We may well shrink before rashly inviting so bloody and disastrous a conflict."

one-sided

"The efforts made in the South to improve the condition of the slave, show at least that humanity is not dead in the bosoms of the proprietors. Mrs. STOWE has certainly not done justice to this branch of the subject. Horrors in connection with slavery--itself a horror--unquestionably exist" abolition "abolition must be the result of growth, not of revolution, must be patiently wrought out by means of the American Constitution, and not in bitter spite of it."

Liberia/outlook

"Liberia and similar spots on the earth's surface proffer aid to the South, which cannot be rejected with safety. That the aid may be accepted with alacrity and good heart, let us have no more Uncle Tom's Cabins engendering ill-will, keeping up bad blood, and rendering well-disposed, hu mane, but critically placed men their own enemies and the stumbling blocks to civilization and to the spread of glad tidings from Heaven."







5. Thoughts on the text

Language

There is a clear distinction made in the novel between the various groups of people acting with each other, made also by the means of language. The narrator maintains quite a high standard, also with making philosophical statements and referring to other sources like the Bible or Greek/Latin mythology and quotes.

The language of the educated white persons, like Shelby and Augustine, is equally high English; whereas the "bad guys", Haley and Legree, are marked in a very derogative way both by their language and by what they are saying.

The language of the slaves is usually dialect; whereas I would not call this a derogative approach - this is a step towards realism, towards the depiction of the common, the ordinary. The slaves use dialect mostly when dealing with one another; but they are able though to use standard English (compare the quotes from George Harris under point 2).

Attempts at humor

Humor in fiction like this one might be applied to relieve the tension, especially when the rest of it is told in a very emotional, sentimental way. The darker the general mood of the story, the starker is usually the contrast to the humorous scenes (see also similar approaches in Melville's Bartleby or Billy Budd, as well as in Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables - where even the comedic approach seems to prevail).

A second function the humor may serve is to create another kind of contrast: The almost happy or at least jovial atmosphere in Uncle Tom's cabin and between the slaves of the Shelby estate - compared to the fates of Eliza and Tom; also to the Legree plantation.

Irony and pre-judgement in some headings:

Chapter I: In Which the Reader Is Introduced to a Man of Humanity

Chapter V: Showing the Feelings of Living Property on Changing Owners

Chapter XI: In Which Property Gets into an Improper State of Mind

Stowe thus lets the reader know precisely what her attitudes towards the subject are. Also, the kind of irony or sarcasm applied can serve as emo-tional detachment to be able to go on with the story. It also shows a judgement of the acts of certain persons. When the chapter headings switch to neutral style, which would be the case from chapter XIII on, one gets the impression of a collection of facts, of a documentation even.

Other points for discussion:

  • the symbol of Eliza's escape over the icy river

  • What is freedom? With and without the religious background the text has in mind, is there a meaning to Tom's suffering and death?

  • Master-slave-relations - differences Tom-Shelby; Tom-St. Clare, Tom-Legree - is there a good master? Responsibility of the individual?

  • Abolishing slavery - abolishing the American black population by shipping them to Liberia?

  • Matthiessen didn't include Stowe's novel into his canon; instead he chose to incorporate male authors, who were not that popular. Was this perhaps out of neglecting women writing, out of a dislike of sentimental writing, out of a limited perspective what literature means? As the novel is not included into his American Renaissance, why is it seen as belonging to the period nevertheless? Are Matthiessen's criteria estab-lished in his chapter "Method and Scope" applicable here? What is transcendental about the text?

  • Does the distinction between high culture and kitsch (cf. Fisher quote under 4.2.) have any realistic background? How is Uncle Tom's Cabin to be seen in comparison to the "art and expression" canonized by Matthiessen; and does such a artificially constructed canonization hold?

  • Stowe's novel dealt and still deals with a very political issue. Does such a political function of literature come naturally? How is that today?







6. Selected Bibliography

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe. Uncle Tom's Cabin. Ed. Elizabeth Ammons. N.Y.: Norton 1994


  • Ralph Waldo Emerson. "The American Scholar". Nina Baym et al, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 4th ed., shorter. N.Y.: Norton 1995, 467-480
  • Henry David Thoreau. "Resistance to Civil Government". Nina Baym et al, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 4th ed., shorter. N.Y.: Norton 1995, 773-788


  • The Holy Bible. Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition


  • Philip Fisher. Hard Facts. Setting and Form of the American Novel. N.Y.: Oxford University Press 1985
  • F.O. Matthiessen. American Renaissance. Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson and Whitman. London/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1941
  • David S. Reynolds. Beneath the American Renaissance. The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville. Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press, 1988
  • Eric J. Sundquist. "Slavery, Revolution, and the American Renaissance". The American Renaissance Reconsidered. Ed. Walter Benn Michaels and Donald E. Pease. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press 1985
  • Hubert Zapf, ed. Amerikanische Literaturgeschichte. Stuttgart/Weimar: Metzler 1997
  • "American Slavery. English Opinion of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'". [author unknown] from the London Times, Friday Sept. 3rd 1852; as reprinted in the New York Times Sept. 18th 1852. Internet source: http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/utc/reviews/rehp.html

PJK
February 3rd, 1999





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