Uncle Tom's Cabin continues to provoke impassioned discussions among scholars; to serve as the inspiration for theater, film, and dance; and to be the locus of much heated debate surrounding race relations in the United States. It is also one of the most remarkable print-based texts in U.S. publishing history. And yet, until now, no book-length study has traced the tumultuous publishing history of this most famous of antislavery novels. Among the major issues Claire Parfait addresses in her detailed account are the conditions of female authorship, the structures of copyright, author-publisher relations, agency, and literary economics. To follow the trail of the book over 150 years is to track the course of American culture, and to read the various editions is to gain insight into the most basic structures, formations, and formulations of literary culture during the period. Parfait interrelates the cultural status of this still controversial novel with its publishing history, and thus also chronicles the changing mood and mores of the nation during the past century and a half. Scholars of Stowe, of American literature and culture, and of publishing history will find this impressive and compelling work invaluable.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; From inception to serialization; Uncle Tom's Cabin: the contract; 'The story of the age': advertising and promotion; Uncle Tom's Cabin: the book, 1852-1853; Distribution and sales, 1852-1863; Uncle Tom's Cabin, 1863-1893; Uncle Tom's Cabin, 1893-1930; Eclipse and renaissance: Uncle Tom's Cabin, 1930-2002; Conclusion; Appendices; Select bibliography; Index.
'No American novel is a more eligible candidate for a publishing history than Uncle Tom’s Cabin, whose publication was a national event in its own time and has been a barometer of the national climate ever since. Claire Parfait has expertly taken the measure of that phenomenon in this meticulously researched, comprehensively designed book. Better yet, she has incorporated into its historical coverage a sophisticated analysis about paratexts, illustrations, and reader reception that gives this book a sharp critical edge. This is not only the outstanding publishing history of an American novel but a significant contribution to US literary history.' Ezra Greenspan, Southern Methodist University, USA 'In Claire Parfait, Stowe's remarkable novel has found the chronicler it richly deserves. She takes the reader on a journey from the book's inception through its multiple editions, always with an eye towards what the novel's fraught publishing history and changing status tell us about the conditions of female authorship and most especially each generation's attempts to come to terms with the legacy of slavery in the U.S.' Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University, USA ’The Publishing History of Uncle Tom's Cabin is an important addition to Stowe-scholarship and a valuable resource for further research. Of particular relevance are Parfait's historical findings and the insights into the publishing history of the novel in the 19th century that she grants us. She has dug up many new noteworthy details and has excavated tons of facts and figures.’ Zeitschrift fÃ¼r Anglistik und Amerikanistik