22 May 2001
STOWE, Harriet Beecher (1811-1896). Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly. Boston: J. P. Jewett; Cleveland: Jewett, Proctor and Worthington, 1852.
2 volumes, 8o. Title-page vignettes and six engraved plates. (Occasional pale marginal browning, a few leaves with some mostly marginal pale staining.) Original brown cloth, front covers with vignette stamped in gilt, blind-stamped borders, gilt-lettered on spine, cream endpapers (spine ends a trifle rubbed, slightly shaken, gilt a bit faded.); later quarter red morocco folding case. Provenance: Susan T. Blake (bookplates, pencil gift inscriptions).
FIRST EDITION, first printing (BAL's binding B) of Stowe's passionate anti-slavery novel. "Into the emotion-charged atmosphere of mid-nineteenth-century America Uncle Tom's Cabin exploded like a bombshell. To those engaged in fighting slavery it appeared as an indictment of all the evils inherent in the system they opposed; to the pro-slavery forces it was a slanderous attack on 'the Southern way of life' ... Whatever its weakneses as a literary work -- structural looseness and excess of sentiment among them -- the social impact of Uncle Tom's Cabin on the United States was greater than that of any book before or since" (PMM). The first edition, published in two volumes, appeared on 20 March 1852. The first printing of 5000 copies was exhausted in a few days, and by the end of the first year, more than 300,000 copies had been sold in America alone. The book was also successful in England, and was translated into some twenty-five languages. BAL 19343; Grolier American 61; Grolier English 183; PMM 332. (2)
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