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Approaches to Teaching Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin

Editor(s): Elizabeth Ammons, Susan Belasco

Pages: ix & 240 pp.
Published: 2000
ISBN: 9780873527569 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780873527552 (hardcover)

"This marvelous collection will give new teachers of Uncle Tom's Cabin the benefit of the deep and wide scholarship on a variety of topics and will make up for much of academia's previous neglect of this important novel."
Robyn R. Warhol, author, Gendered Interventions: Narrative Discourse in the Victorian Novel

"The introductory materials are excellent resources, and the collection is well organized."
Sharon M. Harris, author, Rebecca Harding Davis and American Realism

Although rarely found on college syllabi just two decades ago, Uncle Tom's Cabin is (according to an MLA survey) one of the most frequently named additions to nineteenth-century American literature courses. The inclusion of this political, sentimental, and incredibly popular novel introduces a host of issues to the classroom: the novel's place in the canon of women's literature, the historical importance of its commercial success, the status of Stowe's work as "good" literature, and--perhaps the greatest challenge to teachers--the topic of race.

This volume, like others in the MLA series Approaches to Teaching World Literature, is divided into two parts. The first part, "Materials," reviews available editions of Uncle Tom's Cabin, biographical works, historical materials, works of criticism, and audiovisual resources. The seventeen essays in the second part, "Approaches," suggest teaching strategies that spotlight the novel's literary and historical context, recent debate and controversy, and current theoretical and critical methodologies. Because the issue of race tends to dominate any attempt to teach or discuss the novel, a number of essays address the racism that pervades Stowe's best-known work.

Table of Contents

Approaches to Teaching Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin

Introduction: Stowe's Challenge to Teachers

Elizabeth Ammons and Susan Belasco
Classroom Texts
Biographical Works
General Studies of Stowe and Her Times
Critical Commentary on Uncle Tom's Cabin
Visual, Sound, and Internet Resources


Uncle Tom's Cabin in Context

The Writing, Reception, and Reputation of Uncle Tom's Cabin
Susan Belasco

Stowe, the Abolition Movement, and Prevailing Theories of Race in Nineteenth-Century America
Susan M. Nuernberg

Uncle Tom's Cabin and Conventional Nineteenth-Century Domestic Ideology
Lisa Logan

Radical or Reactionary? Religion and Rhetorical Conflict in Uncle Tom's Cabin
Stephen R. Yarbrough and Sylvan Allen

Uncle Tom's Cabin, Empire, and Africa
Elizabeth Ammons

Pictures of Slavery in the United States: Consumerism, Illustration, and the Visualization of Stowe's Novel
Paul C. Gutjahr

Controversy and Debate

Who Gets to Create the Lasting Images? The Problem of Black Representation in Uncle Tom's Cabin
Sophia Cantave

Black Slaves and White Readers
Stephen Railton

The Problem of Sentimental Possession
Gillian Brown

Alive with Contradictions: Close Reading, Liberal Pluralism, and Nonnarratable Plots in Uncle Tom's Cabin
David Leverenz

Uncle Tom's Cabin and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: The Issue of Violence
Kristin Herzog

Raising a Passionate Voice: Teaching Uncle Tom's Cabin to Less Experienced Readers
Mary Jane Peterson

Critical Approaches to the Novel

Masochistic Eroticism in Uncle Tom's Cabin: Feminist and Reader-Response Approaches
Marianne K. Noble

Africana Constellations: African American Studies and Uncle Tom's Cabin
Sharon Carson

The Declaration of Independence and Uncle Tom's Cabin: A Rhetorical Criticism Approach
Harold K. Bush, Jr.

Acting the Nigger: Topsy, Shirley Temple, and Toni Morrison's Pecola
Kimberly G. Hébert

Slaves, Slavery, and the Politics of "Home": An Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching Uncle Tom's Cabin
Jamie Stanesa

Works Cited

Editions of Uncle Tom's Cabin

Books and Articles


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