№13 2022

УДК / UDK: 821.111.0


Author: Olga Yu. Panova
About the author:

Olga Yu. Panova, Doctor Hab. in Philology, Professor, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory 1, building 51, 119991 Moscow, Russia; Leading Research Fellow, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.


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Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly (1852) being the most powerful statement on the racial issue in the 19th century American literature, succeeded to incorporate and rethink everything that the national tradition had in stock on the problem of slavery and race relations. The Black racial / cultural identity model that was taking shape in the 18th century Anglo-American literature, later was being enriched and transformed throughout American (and African-American) literary history. Uncle Tom's Cabin became another crucial text (the next one after Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia) that provided the emerging Black cultural / racial identity model with a new quality: it became universal, nationally recognized — and at the same time a point of controversy provoking endless debates and open for dynamic change and transformations, as was the case with anti-Tom literature and the ambivalent reception of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in African American literary tradition. The analysis of The Planter’s Northern Bride (1854) by Caroline Lee Hentz, a typical example of anti-Tom novels, gives an idea of the pro-slavery response to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The final part of the paper is a survey of the main stages in African American response since the 1853 argument between Martin Delany and Frederick Douglass that became a matrix for the further polemic, and up to Henry Louis Gates’s subversive “double-voiced” interpretation of the novel which is in full agreement with the tendency to revise the role of white Abolitionists in the antislavery movement and African American history, typical for African American studies in the 1990s–2000s.

Keywords: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Caroline Lee Hentz, anti-Tom novels, African American literary criticism, James A. Baldwin, Henry Louis Gates Jr., American racial / cultural identity model, Abolitionism, American literary history.
For citation:

Panova, Olga. “Assemblage Point: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the American Racial / Cultural Identity Model.” Literature of the Americas, no. 13 (2022): 315–366.


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Morozova 2005 — Morozova, Irina. “Ideologiia starogo Iuga v romane C. Hentz Severnaia nevesta plantatora” [“Old South Ideology in Caroline Hentz’s Novel The Planter’s Northern Bride”]. Vestnik Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta, series 9: Philology, oriental studies, linguistics”, no. 1 (2005): 15–24. (In Russ.)

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Panova 2018 — Panova, Olga. “Khizhina dyadi Toma Garriet Bicher-Stou v vospriyatii afroamerikantsev” [“Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe: African American Responses”]. Vestnik Permskogo universiteta. Seriia “Rossiyskaya i zarubezhnaya filologiya” 10, no. 2 (2018): 111–121. (In Russ.)

Panova 2014 a — Panova, Olga. “Menestrel'naia traditsiia: modelirovanie obraza negra v amerikanskoi populiarnoi kul'ture” [“Blackface minstrelsy: modelling black image in the American popular culture”]. Voprosy teatra / Proscaenium, no. 1–2 (2014): 207–216. (In Russ.)

Panova 2014 b — Panova, Olga. “Modelirovanie obraza chernoi rasy v amerikanskoi kul'ture i literature rubezha 19–20 vv.” [“Blackamerican racial model in American culture / literature of the progressive era, 1880–1910”]. In Gumanitarnye i sotsial'no-ekonomicheskie nauki [ The Humanities and Social-Economic Sciences], no. 1 (74) (2014): 78–81. (In Russ.)

Panova 2014 v — Panova, Olga. Negritianskaia literatura SShA 18 — nachala 20 veka: problemy istorii i interpretatsii: dis. … doktora filol. nauk [Black American Literature, 18 th — early 20th centuries: Problems of History and Interpretation, PhD diss.]. Lomonosov Moscow State University, 2014.

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UTC — Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture: A Multimedia Archive. Directed by Stephen Railton, Dept of English, University of Virginia.

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