Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin: A Casebook

By Elizabeth Ammons | Go to book overview

Topsy and the End Man
Blackface in Uncle Tom’s Cabin

SARAH MEER

[It has] scenes of Negro humour that will send our wits digging
in a new vein, and drive the exhibitors of nigger melodists to
despair.

—”Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” Nonconformist (London),
8 September 1852

THE FIRST REVIEWS OF Uncle Tom’s Cabin lingered not only over the weepy deathbeds of Eva and Uncle Tom but also over comic aspects of the novel. Unlike later critics, nineteenth-century observers were particularly struck by the humor in the book, which was attested to by reviewers from both the North and the South in the United States as well as in Britain. The National Era, a Washington antislavery paper, noted Uncle Tom ‘s “drollery,” while a letter to the New York Independent from New Orleans reported that readers had been both “moved to tears” and “convulsed with laughter.”1 An article in New York’s Putnam’s Monthly implied that the novel inevitably produced these two extremes, relating the story of a man sleeping in a strange house: “Being annoyed by hearing somebody in the adjoining chamber alternately groaning and laughing, he knocked upon the wall and said, ‘Hallo, there! What’s the matter? Are you sick, or reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin?’”2

This conjunction of comedy and sentiment was not unusual in the 1850s: a year after Uncle Tom came out, the narrator of Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” would boast of his knowledge of “divers histories, at which good-natured gentlemen might smile, and sentimental souls might weep.”3 And as Robert Weisbuch points out, this particular set of reactions would have been recognized by contemporary readers as a “Dickensian effect.”4 Yet

-131-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin: A Casebook
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 248

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.