Uncle Tom's Cabin
When Abraham Lincoln met the writer Harriet Beecher Stowe after the start of the American Civil War, he reportedly said to her: 'So you're the little lady whose book started this big war'. Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, published in 1852, is credited as fuelling the cause to abolish slavery in the northern half of the United States in direct response to its continuation in the South.
The book deals with the harsh reality of slavery and the enduring power of Christian faith. It proved to be the bestselling novel of the 19th century, outselling the Bible in its first year of publication. Its fame spread internationally, Lord Palmerston praised it highly and Tolstoy reportedly said it was his favourite novel.
What impact did Uncle Tom's Cabin have on the abolitionist cause in America? How did the book create stereotypes about African Americans, many of which endure to this day? And what was its literary legacy?
Dr Celeste-Marie Bernier, Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Nottingham
Dr Sarah Meer, Lecturer and Director of Studies in English at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge
Dr Clive Webb, Reader in American History at the University of Sussex
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