“So much has been said and sung of beautiful young girls, why doesn’t somebody wake up to the beauty of old women?”
~Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was first published 164 years ago today.
The book, a bold stab at slavery, sold second only to the Bible in its year of publication and for the rest of the Century — in spite of it pre-dating the Civil War. Here are a few blurbs from reviews in 1852:
UNCLE TOM’S CABIN.
50,000 COPIES IN EIGHT WEEKS!
100,000 Volumes, have been sold.
The Greatest Book of its Kind
From a thousand notes we cull a line each from a few:
We will frankly say that we know of no publication which promises to be more effective in the service of a holy, but perilous work than this.—Christian Examiner.
A book over which 20,000 families are alternately crying and laughing, in spite of philosophy or dignity, within a month after its publication. * * * * In fact, among all classes of people, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” is having, and is destined to have, a success and a circulation almost unexampled in our literature.—Rev. Mr. Huntington, in Unitarian Magazine.
“Spread it round the world!” is the feeling which comes first, the instant, urgent, inevitable impulse, as one rises from the perusal of this fascinating book,—and, thank God! it bids fair to become as familiar as household words, East, West, North and South.—The Independent.
It is a thrilling tale, exemplifying a masterly genius, and a profound knowledge of the human heart.—N. Y. Evangelist.
The greatest work of its kind which has appeared in half a century.—Providence Mirror.
These volumes will be read South as well as North, and find response in every honest heart. It is a work of most absorbing interest.—Albany Spectator.
We wish to commend this tale to all with whom we have any influence, as one of the most admirable stories ever written.—Evening Traveller, Boston.
This work exhibits the most consummate skill, and will be read by almost everybody.—Puritan Recorder, Boston.
We welcome the work as amongst the most powerful agents that human genius has yet produced for the removal of the one fearful curse that rests upon our country.—Christian Register, Boston.
We look upon the writing of this book as providential, and as the best missionary God has yet sent into the field.—Congregationalist, Boston.
He who can read this greatest of all American Tales unmoved, must have been very successful in hardening his heart.—Barre Patriot.
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