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Uncle Tom's Cabin & American Culture

At least 50,000 people read Uncle Tom's Cabin in its first published form, the 41 weekly installments that appeared between 5 June 1851 and 1 April 1852 in the National Era, a Washington, D.C., anti-slavery paper with a national readership. This means that Stowe's story would have been one of the most widely read 19th century American novels even if it had never been published in book form. The project is founded on three premises. First, as the best-selling novel and most frequently dramatized story in 19th-century America, Uncle Tom's Cabin can teach us an enormous amount about our history and culture. No text has more to say about how American society has understood relations between the races, the meaning of slavery, the nature and place of women and men, the significance of Christianity, the South as a region, and so on. Second, access to original texts and manuscripts of Stowe's work enrich the learning experience and further an understanding of American society during the 19th century. And third, modern electronic technology can give us powerful new ways to research and appreciate our past.

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