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Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Reading the Best Seller We All Think We Know But Likely Don’t. -- Dick Miller

November 30, 2019

 

Tuesday February 18, 2020 10am - 12pm  

 

History Center of San Luis Obipso

 

$4 for LLCC members, $10 for non-members

 

Register Now for "Cannabis and Hemp" on Brown Paper Tickets

 

Except for the Bible, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly (1852)  was the best-selling book of the nineteenth century.  On meeting the author in 1862, Abraham Lincoln reputedly said, “So this is the little lady who started this great war." Stowe’s immensely popular novel also quickly went on the popular stage, where actors created indelibly caricatured stereotypes of  Uncle Tom and other Black folk.

 

 Americans have long mis-remembered what Mrs. Stowe actually wrote.  African slavery in the American south was her focus, but not her most pointed theme. This two-hour book discussion class will explore what bothered Mrs. Stowe most about American society, and why her critique  was too radical for most Americans to address. Yet the issues she raised still resonate.  After nearly 170 years Uncle Tom’s Cabin remains a timely and remarkably good read.

 

Please read Uncle Tom’s Cabin before you come to class. As you do, please ponder the following questions: According to Mrs. Stowe, what’s the worst thing about African slavery?  Why, for her purposes, is it essential that her arch-villain, Simon Legree, be a northerner?

 

 Copies of Uncle Tom’s Cabin are everywhere available in print and online editions.        

 

Dick Miller, a an academic historian in recovery, often takes and teaches LLCC courses.

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