Uncle Tom's Cabin: Or, Life Among the Lowly

Uncle Tom's Cabin: Or, Life Among the Lowly

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Overview

Easily the most controversial antislavery novel written in antebellum America, and one of the best-selling books of the nineteenth century, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is often credited with intensifying the sectional conflict that led to the Civil War. In his introduction, David Bromwich places Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel in its Victorian contexts and reminds us why it is an enduring work of literary and moral imagination.
The John Harvard Library text follows the first American edition, published by John P. Jewett & Company.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140390032
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/25/1981
Series: Penguin American Library Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 640
Sales rank: 209,804
Product dimensions: 5.08(w) x 7.67(h) x 1.11(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

David Bromwich is Sterling Professor of English at Yale University.

Date of Birth:

June 14, 1811

Date of Death:

July 1, 1896

Place of Birth:

Litchfield, Connecticut

Place of Death:

Hartford, Connecticut

Education:

Homeschooled

Read an Excerpt

Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February, two gentlemen were sitting alone over their wine, in a well-furnished dining parlor, in the town of P—, in Kentucky.
There were no servants present, and the gentlemen, with chairs closely approaching, seemed to be discussing some subject with great earnestness.

For convenience sake, we have said, hitherto, two gentlemen. One of the parties,
however, when critically examined, did not seem, strictly speaking, to come under the species. He was a short, thick-set man, with coarse, commonplace features, and that swaggering air of pretension which marks a low man who is trying to elbow his way upward in the world. He was much over-dressed, in a gaudy vest of many colors, a blue neckerchief, bedropped gayly with yellow spots, and arranged with a flaunting tie, quite in keeping with the general air of the man. His hands, large and coarse, were plentifully bedecked with rings; and he wore a heavy gold watch-chain, with a bundle of seals of portentous size, and a great variety of colors,
attached to it,—which, in the ardor of conversation, he was in the habit of flourishing and jingling with evident satisfaction. His conversation was in free and easy defiance of Murray's Grammar, and was garnished at convenient intervals with various profane expressions, which not even the desire to be graphic in our account shall induce us to transcribe.

His companion, Mr. Shelby, had the appearance of a gentleman; and the arrangements of the house, and the general air of the housekeeping, indicated easy,
and even opulent circumstances. As we before stated, the two were in the midst of an earnest conversation.

'That is the way I should arrange the matter,' said Mr. Shelby.

'I can't make trade that way—I positively can't, Mr. Shelby,' said the other, holding up a glass of wine between his eye and the light.

'Why, the fact is, Haley, Tom is an uncommon fellow; he is certainly worth that sum anywhere—steady, honest, capable, manages my whole farm like a clock.'

'You mean honest, as niggers go,' said Haley, helping himself to a glass of brandy.

'No; I mean, really, Tom is a good, steady, sensible, pious fellow. He got religion at a camp-meeting, four years ago; and I believe he really did get it. I've trusted him,
since then, with everything I have,—money, house, horses,—and let him come and go round the country; and I always found him true and square in everything.'

'Some folks don't believe there is pious niggers, Shelby,' said Haley, with a candid flourish of his hand, 'but I do. I had a fellow, now, in this yer last lot I took to
Orleans—'twas as good as a meetin', now, really, to hear that critter pray; and he was quite gentle and quiet like. He fetched me a good sum, too, for I bought him cheap of a man that was 'bliged to sell out; so I realized six hundred on him. Yes, I consider religion a valeyable thing in a nigger, when it's the genuine article, and no mistake.'

'Well, Tom's got the real article, if ever a fellow had,' rejoined the other. 'Why, last fall, I let him go to Cincinnati alone, to do business for me, and bring home five hundred dollars. 'Tom,' says I to him, 'I trust you, because I think you're a
Christian—'I know you wouldn't cheat.' Tom comes back, sure enough; I knew he would. Some low fellows, they say, said to him—'Tom, why don't you make tracks for Canada?' 'Ah, master trusted me, and I couldn't'—they told me about it. I am sorry to part with Tom, I must say. You ought to let him cover the whole balance of the debt; and you would, Haley, if you had any conscience.'

'Well, I've got just as much conscience as any man in business can afford to keep,—just a little, you know, to swear by, as 'twere,' said the trader, jocularly; 'and then, I'm ready to do anything in reason to 'blige friends; but this yer, you see, is a leetle too hard on a fellow—a leetle too hard.' The trader sighed contemplatively, and poured out some more brandy.

'Well, then, Haley, how will you trade?' said Mr. Shelby, after an uneasy interval of silence.

'Well, haven't you a boy or gal that you could throw in with Tom?'

'Hum!—none that I could well spare; to tell the truth, it's only hard necessity makes me willing to sell at all. I don't like parting with any of my hands, that's a fact.'

Here the door opened, and a small quadroon boy, between four and five years of age, entered the room. There was something in his appearance remarkably beautiful and engaging. His black hair, fine as floss silk, hung in glossy curls about his round, dimpled face, while a pair of large dark eyes, full of fire and softness, looked out from beneath the rich, long lashes, as he peered curiously into the apartment. A
gay robe of scarlet and yellow plaid, carefully made and neatly fitted, set off to advantage the dark and rich style of his beauty; and a certain comic air of assurance, blended with bashfulness, showed that he had been not unused to being petted and noticed by his master.

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Uncle Tom's Cabin 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 232 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is only the first 4 chapters!!!!!!!! DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book starts at chapter twenty nine. Save time and nook memory. Do not bother with this edition.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After so many years i finally read this classic and i must say its an emotional rollercoaster.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While the events described in this book may seem highly unethical, the author had little recourse except to depict them in a straightforward manner. Slavery was not and is not ever a pretty picture. Readers turned off by the content are forced to acknowledge the degrading conditions of the oppressed in the antebellum U. S. South. That Uncle Tom could maintain such a positive sense of self-dignity and deep spirituality through the atrocities visited upon him, represents the indomitable spirit displayed by many African Americans during the era portrayed in this novel.
Kasey Andrews More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for a project in my American literature class last year and I really enjoyed it. Mrs. Stowe did an excellent job with characterization and descriptions. After researching her use of literary techniques, I could really appreciate her style of writing. It was a very well developed story with very interesting characters, all off them had their own story. I love how you could see the author's faith shine through in the book. It really gives you a different perspective on the religion of the day. I recommend this to readers who are up to a challenge as it is a rather hard book to just sit and read.
pcj60 More than 1 year ago
As an african american i think this is a must read. I never knew how compelling this book would be. Even with the errors it was still worthy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome! We are studying this in social studies!
ANDILOU More than 1 year ago
Something that everyone should read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Made me think of slavery in a whole new way. Highly recommended reading material.
Kennedy Williams More than 1 year ago
Uncletom's cabin is a book that truly depicts the difficulties of slavery.It shows heartache ,adventure and the fear of going to a place that one has never been before.As an african american i believe that it is very important for me to learn where I come from and learn about somthing that many of my ansestors would have had to go through.This book which was written in the 1850's was a very contrivercial one for the time it is one of the first books that truly depicts slaves as having emotion,feelings and real life hopes and asperations.The book begins as the main character tom finds himself being taken to an auction block as his masters have decided to sell him in order to save his failing farm.on the way to the "auction block" tom saves the kind and friendly eva from drowning. As a show of greatfulness her father buys him from his owners so that he can go and live with them.Tom stays with eva and her family building up their friendship and his faith for around 2 years eva becomes very sick and passes away .At that point tom is sold to a devious and evil slave owner who buys sam as well as some other slaves in order to fulfill his explicit fantacy .tom meets a fellow slave named cassey he learns her story of sexual abbuse she also tells him of how the master seperated her from her daughter.she tells him of how she became pregnant again and couldn't bear the pain of seperating from her baby again so she decided to kill it.Toms faith is one of the main things that keeps him stable throughout this book as he faces numerous trials and tribulations.This book is somthing that i believe every one should read to truly understand the history and culture of themselves and the country in which they reside
brothersdr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This has to be the most biased and twisted version of the old South since it was written by a Yankee who misunderstood southern society.
keegopatrick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book took me a very long time to get into and since I only read American "classic" novels to stay well rounded with my reading not because I find them entirely interesting there were many times where I contemplated not finishing. All of those feelings were in the first 150 pages or so but once Uncle Tom connected with St. Clair and Eva I got really into the book and really started identifying with characters and some of their plights. Many parts of this book were so moving that I can completely understand how this book could have moved people to the Civil War to free the slaves. This book was powerful and have to say that it is in the top five best novels that I have ever read. The range of emotions that you will feel while reading this book will blow your minds! One weird aspect of this book is that it is very religious which may be a sign of the times or may be the way that the author found to be the best vehicle to make the masses see the evil of slavery. The weird part, however, is that I am usually not a religious person but this book rose spiritual feelings within me that I did not even know existed anymore which I think is more evidence of how powerful this book can play on your emotions. One last thought: I desired to read this book as a result of the term "uncle tom" that is used in modern slang English to mean a black person who identifies or hangs with whites more than people of his or her own race. I did not really see this connection except for Tom being a devout christian and if this is why people make the reference then they are not very smart because being a law abiding christian who follows the word of G-D more than anything else is a virtuous trait rather than a negative one. If someone can explain the meaning of our modern language "uncle tom" please do because I am fully interested. Overall, anamazing book that all American middle or high school students should be forced to read to be given a better idea of the Civil War era.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Empty
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please do not waste your time and energy on this piece of junk. Thank you! - a reader
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Upon reading this work it was easy to see how it came to influence the end of slavery. The call to action for Christians was well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"We don't have to do this right now. If your scared. Just tell me." He said, the britishyness in his voice really showing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I kinda wanna read it , heard its a good book, but I'm thirteen and have also heard that its really confusing and hard to read. Please reply- should I read it?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cant read a thing and there is only ten friggin pages...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the way the book was written. Good because Stowe actually lived during the time of the story and wrote her book based upon personal interviews with slaves.