Increased interest in the role of women and minorities in establishing the canon of American literature has led to renewed interest in Uncle Tom's Cabin. The essays in this volume set out to provide contemporary readers with a critical and historical interpretation of the novel that reflects the best of recent scholarship. In his introduction Eric J. Sundquist attempts to show that Uncle Tom's Cabin boldly takes issue with both proslavery arguments and prevailing prejudices among abolitionists, employing the forms of popular melodrama and heated rhetoric to carry its complex argument. The individual essays examine the influence of Stowe's novel on the characterization of women in the American novel and on later women writers, the role of women in the antislavery movement, the literary exchanges between Stowe and her contemporaries; Uncle Tom's Cabin and the tradition of the Gothic novel, and the characterizations of blacks in this novel and in later works.
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