Series Editor: Joseph Pearce

Uncle Tom's Cabin cover

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Harriet Beecher Stowe

667 pp, $11.95. Order Now!

"Nothing of tragedy can be written, can be spoken, can be conceived, that equals the frightful reality of scenes daily and hourly acting on our shores, beneath the shadow of American law, and the shadow of the cross of Christ. "

Harriet Beecher Stowe was appalled by slavery, and she took one of the few options open to nineteenth century women who wanted to affect public opinion: she wrote a novel, a huge, enthralling narrative that claimed the heart, soul, and politics of millions of her contemporaries. Uncle Tom's Cabin paints pictures of three plantations, each worse than the other, where even the best plantation leaves a slave at the mercy of fate or debt. Her questions remain penetrating even today: "Can man ever be trusted with wholly irresponsible power?"

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First published more than 150 years ago, this monumental work is today being reexamined by critics, scholars, and students. 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 oppressors. Uncle Tom's Cabin is a living, relevant story, passionate in its vivid depiction of the cruelest forms of injustice and inhumanity-and the courage it takes to fight against them.

A look at the essays

Uncle Tom's Cabin has elicited strong reactions from the time it was published, and so we've included a representative collection of classic criticism, from the effusive praise of George Sand to a skeptical and worldly-wise London Times review and on to an affronted and defensive response from Southerner George F. Holmes.

As for new contemporary criticism, Dedra McDonald Birzer investigates how slavery disrupts the family in Uncle Tom's Cabin. Mark Canada sees the work as a "broader, deeper exposé" than newspaper reports could give in his "Harriet Beecher Stowe's Investigative Fiction". [Read excerpt.] Finally, John J. Han catalogues the many plot points and character traits that lead us to read "Uncle Tom as a Christ Figure".

Mary R. Reichardt situates the reader with the introductory essay.

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Meet the Minds behind the Uncle Tom's Cabin Edition


Mary Reichardt

Mary Reichardt

Mary Reichardt is Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas, Saint Paul, Minnesota. She received a PhD in literature from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has published eight books, including Catholic Women Writers (Greenwood, 2001), Exploring Catholic Literature (Sheed and Ward / Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), the two-volume Encyclopedia of Catholic Literature (Greenwood, 2004), and Between Human and Divine: The Catholic Vision in Contemporary Literature (Catholic University of America Press, 2010).

Critical Essayists

Dedra McDonald Birzer

Dedra McDonald Birzer is Lecturer in History at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan. She holds a doctorate in history from the University of New Mexico. Turning her historian's eye toward literature, she has contributed essays to several Ignatius Critical Editions and also teaches and writes about American women who were public intellectuals in the 1920s–1960s.

Mark Canada

Mark Canada, PhD, is Professor of English and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Indiana University Kokomo. He has written or edited Literature and Journalism in Antebellum America, Literature and Journalism: Inspirations, Intersections, and Inventions from Ben Franklin to Stephen Colbert, and Introduction to Information Literacy for Students, as well as numerous articles on Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas Wolfe, Rebecca Harding Davis, Theodore Dreiser, and other subjects for Edgar Allan Poe in Context, American Literary Realism, The Southern Quarterly, Southern Cultures, and other publications.

Critical Essays In


John J. Han

John J. Han is Professor of English and chair of the Humanities Division at Missouri Baptist University. He serves as editor of Intégrité: A Faith and Learning Journal and of the Rodopi Press collection of critical essays on Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood. He is also a haiku poet, memoirist, and translator.

Critical Essays In


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