The Controversy About "Uncle Tom's Cabin" Book Review by gpteach

The Controversy About "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
A Look at the discrepancy between the commercial success of Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and its negative reviews.
# 97791 | 5,239 words | 10 sources | MLA | 2007 | US

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The paper investigates the reasons why Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin", was condemned by literary critics, yet embraced by the public. Some of the reasons explored include the issues of racism, politics, the controversial contents of the novel, the fact that a woman wrote it, and religious morals. Several pages are devoted to a debate about whether Uncle Tom's Cabin belongs in the tradition of realism or sentimentalism. The paper also discusses and explains the fact that it was received and critiqued differently in the North and the South.

From the Paper:

"At the time of its publication in 1852 Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, received an enormous amount of attention -- both positive and negative. However, despite the negative criticism the book has received, Josephine Donovan, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin: Evil, Affliction, and Redemptive Love, states the novel "remains the world's all-time best-seller. In the first year alone it sold 300,000 copies in the United States and a million in England. As of 1976 it had been translated into fifty-eight languages . . . " (Donovan 11). Although these figures reflect high sales volume, the readership was even more extensive than implied, as it is estimated there were probably "ten readers to every purchaser" (Gossett 165)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Donovan, Josephine. Uncle Tom's Cabin: Evil, Affliction, and Redemptive Love. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1991.
  • Downs, Robert B. Books That Changed the World. Chicago: American Library Association, 1978.
  • Fiedler, Leslie. The Inadvertent Epic. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979.
  • Gossett, Thomas F. Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1985.
  • Levine, Robert S. Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass and the Politics of Representative Identity. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.

Cite this Book Review:

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The Controversy About "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (2007, September 02) Retrieved June 30, 2022, from

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"The Controversy About "Uncle Tom's Cabin"" 02 September 2007. Web. 30 June. 2022. <>