Approaches to Teaching Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin

  • Editors: Elizabeth Ammons, Susan Belasco
  • Pages: ix & 240 pp.
  • Published: 2000
  • ISBN: 9780873527569 (Paperback)
  • ISBN: 9780873527552 (Cloth)
Approaches to Teaching Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin Cover

“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.