Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 27 >> 58 Political Parties to Or The Ottoman Em >> or Life Among the

or Life Among the Lowly Uncle Toms Cabin

stowe, novel and emancipation

UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, or LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY, a novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe (q.v.), the most important con tribution of the emancipation movement to American literature, first appeared as a serial from 1 June 1851 to April 1852 in the National Era, an anti-slavery newspaper published at Washington, D. C. In serial form it attracted no particular attention, but after publication in book form, 20 March 1852, in a few weeks it achieved unusual success, finally attaining world-wide popularity, and being translated into over 22 different languages. For 18 years Mrs. Stowe lived in Cincinnati, where the problems of slavery were continually thrust upon her attention, the river Ohio alone separating the city from Kentucky, where slaves bringing their tales of oppression and cruelty were con tinuously escaping from their masters in at tempts to gain freedom in Canada. In the great moral, economic and political movements of the times Mrs. Stowe and her husband took an active part. They had removed to Brunswick, Me., where Mr. Stowe had been appointed pro

fessor in Bowdoin College, when the storm occasioned by the Fugitive Slave Bill arose. Inspired by the force of the human message which she felt she must deliver, with full-stored memory and vivid imagination, she wrote with fervor-glowing heat the novel as representative of certain phases of plantation life in the old South, which helped in no small measure the cause of emancipation. Few novels have ever aroused so much enthusiasm and indignation, so much criticism, favorable and unfavorable. 'A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin,) including in teresting notes, documents and testimonials ap peared in 1853 as a reply to inquiries, censure and criticism, and the same year she also pub lished 'A Peep into Uncle Tom's Cabin for Children.' Josiah Henson (q.v.) was the orig inal of the character of Uncle Tom. Drama tized soon after its publication in book form, 'Uncle Tom's Cabin) still retains its stage popularity.