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The Resource Loves of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Philip McFarland

Loves of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Philip McFarland

Label
Loves of Harriet Beecher Stowe
Title
Loves of Harriet Beecher Stowe
Statement of responsibility
Philip McFarland
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Review
  • Despite the racy title, McFarland (Hawthorne in Concord ) has not penned a salacious tell-all about Harriet Beecher Stowe's romantic life, but rather a fairly unremarkable biography of Stowe and the whole Beecher family. Though ostensibly organized around the three men important to Harriet—her father, her brother and her husband—the device is really just a gimmick that leads to confusing departures from chronology, as when McFarland summarizes the childhood of Harriet's father halfway through the book. The most perceptive sections deal with Stowe's literary career. McFarland argues that Poganuc People is her most “coherent” work, and that Uncle Tom's Cabin , the abolitionist novel that made Stowe an international star, was born in part out of her experience as a mother: when her young son died, Stowe was sensitized to the plight of slave mothers separated from their children. This narrative is sure to be overshadowed by Debby Applegate's Pulitzer Prize–winning study of Stowe's brother, The Most Famous Man in America (2006); Joan Hedrick's Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life (1994), to which McFarland acknowledges his debt, will remain definitive. (Nov. 10) --Staff (Reviewed June 4, 2007) (Publishers Weekly, vol 254, issue 23, p37)
  • McFarland's (Hawthorne in Concord ) complex biography culls material mainly from three sources: Stowe's own Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe (1889), Robert Forrest Wilson's Crusader in Crinoline: The Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe (1941), and Joan D. Hedrick's Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life (1994). It is divided into three sections to reflect the loves of Stowe's life: her husband, Calvin; her father, Lyman; and her brother, Henry (though one could argue that writing was her main love). Stowe's success publishing extensively on a freelance basis and the fame she achieved with Uncle Tom's Cabin were no small feats, especially considering she mothered seven children. McFarland's most interesting revelation is that Stowe at one point told her husband, "If I am to write, I must have a room to myself, which shall be my room." Privacy and time, however, were hard to come by. McFarland's work, which also draws on Stowe's correspondence, presents a remarkable life against the backdrop of a tense America dealing with civil war, slavery, and the advent of women's rights. It will appeal to advanced literature students and admirers of women writers. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries.—Stacy Russo, Chapman Univ. Libs., Orange, CA --Stacy Russo (Reviewed November 1, 2007) (Library Journal, vol 132, issue 18, p67)
  • Portrait of the woman who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin and changed America.The life of Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–96) was unusual, especially for a woman of her era. Her father, Lyman Beecher, Boston's thundering Abolitionist theologian, impressed upon young Harriet the importance of Calvinist family values. Henry Ward Beecher became America's premier 19th-century preacher; Harriet, the conscience of its literature. McFarland (Hawthorne in Concord, 2004, etc.) mines Stowe's correspondence to explain why she raised her quill: The salary of her husband, clergyman-academic Calvin Stowe, hardly supported their growing brood. Once writing—and later as family breadwinner—she drew upon various transformational experiences, first in light prose, then in more formidable work. Living in Cincinnati when Lyman founded Lane Theological Seminary, she absorbed that town's abolitionist fervor—she was familiar with the Underground Railroad and researched slavery before writing her famous novel. McFarland's detailing of the North-South political chasm over slavery, especially in 1852 as the serialization of Uncle Tom Cabin's began, is not only scholarly, but stylishly dramatic. The author moves on to examine the immense popularity of Stowe's work by showing how it rallied Northerners to Abolitionism while intensifying Southern rage. As the author of the first major American novel featuring a black hero, Stowe was a global celebrity, and McFarland rightly contextualizes Uncle Tom's Cabin alongside her many other works. Stowe also lectured widely, and McFarland's description of Stowe's European travails offers a reflection on America's anguished spirit. Among some of the "loves" to which McFarland alludes: Lord Byron's widow, Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln (who may or may not have said, "So you're the little lady who started the war"). As chapter titles indicate, there was Lyman, Henry Ward, other far-flung siblings, her husband and seven children, four of whom predeceased their mother. McFarland persuasively speculates that son Samuel's untimely death clarified her take on Uncle Tom's Cabin: If she could picture a slave mother sold away from her children—a heart-wrenching scene—she could picture it all.Life and loves of a seminal figure in 19th-century American literature. (Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2007)
Biography type
individual biography
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
208929
Cataloging source
BTCTA
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1930-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
McFarland, Philip James
Illustrations
portraits
Index
index present
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Stowe, Harriet Beecher
  • Novelists, American
Label
Loves of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Philip McFarland
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (p. [315]-320) and index
Dimensions
24 cm.
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
328 p.
Isbn
9780802118455
Other physical details
ports.
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780802118455
  • (OCoLC)154673665
Label
Loves of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Philip McFarland
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (p. [315]-320) and index
Dimensions
24 cm.
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
328 p.
Isbn
9780802118455
Other physical details
ports.
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780802118455
  • (OCoLC)154673665

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