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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

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Listings for Author:  

Harriet Beecher Stowe


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Harriet Beecher Stowe : Uncle Tom's Cabin

Either at school or at home I read all the classics considered necessary for children: 'Treasure Island', 'Kidnapped', 'Little Women', 'David Copperfield', 'Ivanhoe', 'Robinson Crusoe'. I suppose I enjoyed them; I certainly did not resent or avoid them. Very occasionally some incident would seem to connect with my own life: the doings of the Spanish Inquisition in 'Westward Ho!' for example, fitted in exactly with what I had heard about Roman Catholics. But on the whole the themes appeared completely abstract and impersonal, even when the author intended a message to strike home. 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' did not cause me a moment's concern for the plight of Negro slaves in America, and neither did 'The Water Babies' for the sufferings of the child chimney-sweeps, not because these situations had been done away with, but because no book stirred me in that way...

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Patricia Beer      Print: Book


Harriet Beecher Stowe : 

'"Thinking back, I am amazed at the amount of English literature we absorbed in those four years", recalled Ethel Clark, a Gloucester railway worker's daughter, "and I pay tribute to the man who made it possible... Scott, Thackeray, Shakespeare, Longfellow, Dickens, Matthew Arnold, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Rudyard Kipling were but a few authors we had at our fingertips. How he made the people live again for us!".'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Ethel Clark      Print: Book


Harriet Beecher Stowe : Uncle Tom's Cabin

"In 1905 [Andrew] Lang ... recalled: 'The first book that ever made me cry, of which feat I was horribly ashamed, was 'Uncle Tom's Cabin', with the death of Eva ...'"

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: Andrew Lang      Print: Book


Harriet Beecher Stowe : Dred: A Tale of the Dismal Swamp

'The Queen [Victoria] ... read the sequel [to "Uncle Tom's Cabin"], "Dred: A Tale of the Dismal Swamp" (1856), and considered it as good ...'

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: Queen Victoria      Print: Book


Harriet Beecher Stowe : Uncle Tom's Cabin

' ...[Lady Frances Balfour] was forbidden to read the second volume of ... [Uncle Tom's Cabin] "but human nature cannot be denied, and of course I read it" ...'

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: Lady Frances Balfour      Print: Book


Harriet Beecher Stowe : Uncle Tom's Cabin

"Emmeline Pankhurst (b. 1858) emphasized the value of her childhood reading in forming her guiding principles. Uncle Tom's Cabin fused with talk of bazaars, relief funds, and subscriptions in her Manchester home to awaken first an admiration for fighting spirit and heroic sacrifice, and then an appreciation of a gentler, restorative spirit ... other favourite childhood books which remained a lifelong source of inspiration ... [were]: Pilgrim's Progress and The Holy War, the Odyssey, and Carlyle's French Revolution. Her interest in politics she traced to reading the paper aloud to her father."

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: Emmeline Pankhurst      Print: Book


Harriet Beecher Stowe : Uncle Tom's Cabin

'[Edwin] Whitlock... borrowed books from a schoolmaster and from neighbours: "Most of them would now be considered very heavy literature for a boy of fourteen or fifteen, but I didn't know that, for I had no light literature for comparison. I read most of the novels of Dickens, Scott, Lytton and Mrs Henry Wood, 'The Pilgrim's Progress' and 'The Holy War' - an illustrated guide to Biblical Palestine, 'Uncle Tom's Cabin', several bound volumes of religious magazines, 'The Adventures of a Penny', and sundry similar classics". With few books competing for his attention, he could freely concentrate on his favorite reading, "A set of twelve thick volumes of Cassell's 'History of England'".'

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: Edwin Whitlock      Print: Book


Harriet Beecher Stowe : [two or three works]

Henry James to Charles Eliot Norton, 28 February 1866: " ... allow me to retract my proposal to deal critically with Mrs. Stowe, in the N[orth]. A[merican]. R[eview]. I have been re-reading two or three of her books and altho' I see them to be full of pleasant qualities, they lack those solid merits wh. an indistinct recollection of them had caused me to attribute to them ..."

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: Henry James      Print: Book


Harriet Beecher Stowe : Old Town Folks

Henry James to Alice James, 31 August 1869, on walking in Switzerland and Italy: "[after crossing Bernadine pass] I ... pursued my way ... to the village of Splugen, where I was glad to halt and rest and where I diverted myself the rest of the day, as I lay, supine, with Mrs. Stowe's Old Town Folks, which I found kicking about, and which struck me under the circumstances as a work of singular and delicious perfection."

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: Henry James      Print: Book


Harriet Beecher Stowe : Uncle Tom's Cabin

'There is a novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin", which I should not omit to mention, since it made a great sensation when it appeared, and it was the only book of its class brought home by my father. "Uncle Tom" was read aloud in our little family circle, and it gave us many hours of happy, thrilling and not unwholesome excitement.'

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: Peter Burt      Print: Book


Harriet Beecher Stowe : Uncle Tom's Cabin

'[Father] had joined the PSA at the YMCA. That is: the Pleasant Sunday Afternoon at the Young Men's Christian Association; a religious service with plenty of tuneful hymns, usually a couple of singers who gave "sacred" songs; and to which was attached a Book Club. By paying a few pence a week Father got all the books he could read; he was a slow reader, too. He got "Valentine Vox, Ventriloquist", "Sylvestre Sound", "Somnambulist"; "Uncle Tom's Cabin", and many others. Dolly has some of them at this date, sixty years later.'

Century: 1850-1899 / 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group:      Print: Book


Harriet Beecher Stowe : Uncle Tom's Cabin

'Arthur recalls that he could not read "properly" until he began school at the age of 9; he preferred his sister Anna to read to him. On one occasion, when she read "Uncle Tom's Cabin", Arthur, who believed that "a boy must never show any emotion", burst into tears, then flew into a rage over revealing his deepest feelings and attacked her with his fists'.

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: Anna Symons      Print: Book


Harriet Beecher Stowe : Uncle Tom's Cabin

'Another [woman prisoner] read and re-read "Uncle Tom's Cabin," till she must have known by heart every incident of that famous work. She was partial to telling the story to those women who were unable to read; and she would relate with such animation the villainies and atrocities of Legree, that considerable virtuous indignation would be aroused in the breasts of her listeners. "What an awful wretch that man must have been!" was the remark made on that personage, by a woman suffering a long sentence for the cold-blooded murder of her child.'

Century: 1800-1849 / 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group:      Print: Book


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