Leave it to Henry Louis Gates to resurrect Uncle Tom's Cabin, one of my favorite all-time novels, from the swamp of denigration.
His essay and Edward Rothstein's on the new Annotated Uncle Tom's Cabin for which I've been waiting and over which I'm now salivating.
Declared worthless and dehumanizing by James Baldwin in 1949, Uncle Tom's Cabin has lacked literary credibility for fifty years. Now, in a ringing refutation of Baldwin, Henry Louis Gates Jr. demonstrates the literary transcendence of Harriet Beecher Stowe's masterpiece. Uncle Tom's Cabin, first published in 1852, galvanized the American public as no other work of fiction has ever done. The editors animate pre-Civil War life with rich insights into the lives of slaves, abolitionists, and the American reading public. Examining the lingering effects of the novel, they provide new insights into emerging race-relation, women's, gay, and gender issues. With reproductions of rare prints, posters, and photographs, this book is also one of the most thorough anthologies of Uncle Tom images up to the present day. 2-color throughout; 32 pages of color illustrations, 150 black-and-white illustrations.
[Gates works with Hollis Robbins on the project (they also worked together on a great book of essays on Hannah Crafts's The Bondswoman's Narrative.]
Oh, and he's giving a lecture on his work with the text at the NYPL on Wed, Nov 26!