Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly: The Spendid Edition

 Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly The Spendid Edition.

Edited with introduction by David S. Reynolds

New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

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Facsimile edition of the lavishly 1852 illustrated version–Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic in its most revealing form.

“Exquisitely conceived and executed.”
The Liberator

–ORIGINAL REVIEW published on December 17, 1852 in The Liberator:

“WE ARE INDEBTED to the enterprising publishers of this world-thrilling work, Messrs. John P. Jewett & Co., for a copy of the superb Illustrated Edition, just published, containing no less than one hundred and forty-five Original Designs, by Billings, evincive of the versatile and exquisite genius of the artist, and engraved by two of the most distin­guished artists in America, in a most admirable manner. This edition is in one volume, at the following prices:—Cloth, $2.50; Cloth, full gilt, $3.00; Extra Turkey, full gilt, $5.00–the last constituting, in every respect, one of the most beautiful and attractive volumes ever published in the United States… As a gift book for Christmas and the New Year, it will doubtless take precedence over every other. Accompanying it is a capital likeness of. Mrs. Stowe, the gifted authoress, and an ideal face of “Little Eva,” for die frontispiece, exquisitely conceived and executed. The paper, typography, and binding are all that can be desired to gratify die eye or the taste.

In this connection we would warmly recommend to the patronage of ‘the Million,’ the cheap edition of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” by the same publishers, in one volume, on good paper and large fair type at the very low price of 37 ½ cents! Let it be circulated far and wide, till it shall have penetrated “every log-house beyond the mountains,” and been perused by every individual who can read, from the child six years old to the aged veteran whose sight is not yet wholly extinct,—touching every heart and moistening every eye, and swelling the tide of feeling and sentiment against the hideous system of slavery, until it becomes irresistible, giving freedom to all in bonds, and peace and reconciliation to the whole land.”


About the Book

When Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published in 1852 it caused a sensation. Its antislavery position proved to be one the most powerful cultural influences behind the Civil War. By emphasizing the moral failure inherent in slavery, it helped intensify the conflict between north and south. By the end of the year it had sold over 300,000 copies in the U.S. and more than a million abroad. It went on to be the nineteenth century’s worldwide bestseller.

To capitalize on the book’s success the publisher released a lavishly illustrated gift version for the Christmas season. Widely known as the “Splendid Edition,” the deluxe offering included over one hundred detailed engravings by Hammatt Billings, who had done six pictures for the original printing. The artfully integrated illustrations amplify the book’s abolitionist ideas and capture its historical moment, lending the narrative a moving immediacy.

Reissued for the first time, this facsimile edition gives general readers the chance to experience Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic in this most revealing form. It includes a substantial introduction by Bancroft-winning historian David S. Reynolds that situates the novel within the world of ideas and images operative at the time.

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