Whitewashing Uncle Tom's Cabin: Nineteenth-Century Women by Joy Jordan-Lake

By Joy Jordan-Lake

Few books have had extra effect on U.S. heritage than Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. the 1st American novel to promote greater than one million copies, it provoked a complete examining public to extol it, debate it, weep over it, excoriate it. battling hearth with fireplace, slavery apologists from North and South answered with their very own fiction, generating over 3 dozen novels in direct reaction to Stowe's paintings. apparently, a key part of that fiction was once written by means of girls. In Whitewashing Uncle Tom's Cabin, pleasure Jordan-Lake examines these women-authored novels to supply compelling insights into either antebellum American tradition and a proslavery ideology rife with inner tensions. Jordan-Lake starts by means of contemplating the male plantation literary culture after which demonstrates how white girls novelists of the anti-Uncle Tom institution followed features from sentimental fiction, emulating Stowe's personal recommendations greater than these in their male allies. Like Stowe, those ladies writers attempted to entice maternal sensibilities and provided motherhood as a method of redemption for an admittedly fallen society.

But opposite to their rationale, Jordan-Lake indicates, their works succumb to evasions, displacements, and contradictions that disrupt their floor narratives and demonstrate even their such a lot noble girls characters as mere pawns in a patriarchal online game during which white society's pursuit and upkeep of wealth are made to seem humane, even holy. eventually, those texts dismantle themselves to reveal a profit-driven chattel slavery as savage as any predicted by way of Stowe. together with a dialogue of 20th- and twenty-first-century novels that revisit plantation mythology, Whitewashing Uncle Tom's Cabin casts new gentle at the moral and ethical catastrophe of securing one group's fiscal energy on the cost of different teams' entry to dignity, compassion, and justice.

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