Uncle Tom's Cabin
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This novel has earned the title of not only bestseller, but also the first protest novel to have a direct impact on political events. The story follows the life and vissitudes of Uncle Tom, a noble negro, and portrays the humanity of an enslaved black people and the moral evil of their enslavement.
From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Erica Bauermeister
This is one of those books that everybody has heard about but few people these days have actually read. It deserves to be read - not simply because it is the basis for symbols so deeply ingrained in American culture that we no longer realize their source, nor because it is one of the bestselling books of all time. This is a book that changed history. 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 pre-Civil War Americans. It is unabashed propaganda and overtly moralistic, an attempt to make whites - North and South - see slaves as mothers, fathers, and people with (Christian) souls. In a time when women might see the majority of their children die, Harriet Beecher Stowe portrays beautiful Eliza fleeing slavery to protect her son. In a time when many whites claimed slavery had "good effects" on blacks, 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. By twentieth-century standards, her propaganda verges on melodrama, and it is clear that even while arguing for the abolition of slavery she did not rise above her own racism. Yet her questions remain penetrating even today: "Is man ever a creature to be trusted with wholly irresponsible power?"
Classic nineteenth-century literature can be difficult to read and hear. But this production is an exception. Buck Schirner's characters are so vivid, so well enunciated, that we wish Stowe had created more people for Schirner to give voice to. His characters argue about slavery, lament their fortunes and survive by their wits. He gives each person emotion and depth and reads Stowe's prose with conviction. Indeed, it's hard not to, given the moral force behind her words. The only negative is when Schirner reads in his own voice, which is low and flat. Because of his excellent vocal work, though, the book reminds us that the debate over race and human worth was as vivid in the 1850's as it is today. R.I.G.
Book Dimension :
length: (cm)19.8 width:(cm)12.6