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Declared worthless and dehumanizing by James Baldwin in 1949, Uncle Tom's Cabin has lacked literary credibility for fifty years. Now, in a ringing refutation of Baldwin, Henry Louis Gates Jr. demonstrates the literary transcendence of Harriet Beecher Stowe's masterpiece. Uncle Tom's Cabin, first published in 1852, galvanized the American public as no other work of fiction has ever done. The editors animate pre-Civil War life with rich insights into the lives of slaves, abolitionists, and the American reading public. Examining the lingering effects of the novel, they provide new insights into emerging race-relation, women's, gay, and gender issues. With reproductions of rare prints, posters, and photographs, this book is also one of the most thorough anthologies of Uncle Tom images up to the present day.
Three years ago, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. discovered an unpublished manuscript, The Bondwoman's Narrative, By Hannah Crafts, A Fugitive Recently Escaped From North Carolina, which turned out to be the first novel by a female African-American slave ever found, and possibly the first novel written by a black woman anywhere. The Bondwoman's Narrative was published in 2002. In Search of Hannah Crafts now brings together twenty-two authorities on African-American studies to examine such issues as authenticity, and the history and criticism of this unique novel, including Nina Baym, Jean Fagan Yellin, William Andrews, Lawrence Buell, Karen Sanchez-Eppler and Shelley Fisher-Fishkin. The Bondwoman's Narrative will take its place in the African-American canon, and In Search of Hannah Crafts is the book that scholars and students of African-American Studies, of women writers, and of slavery, need to have to understand this unprecedented historical and literary event.
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