The Texts of Uncle Tom's Cabin

Stowe wrote the novel in Brunswick, Maine. It was first printed serially in The National Era, an abolitionist weekly published in Washington, D.C. It was published as a two-volume book by John Punchard Jewett, whose relatively small publishing house specialized in religious texts.
She began writing in the late winter of 1851, writing Gamaliel Bailey, editor of the Era, on 9 March to offer the story to his paper. It began appearing (with Chapters 1 and 2, which filled about half the paper's front page) in the 5 June 1851 issue. 43 more chapters and about a year after she began, Stowe finished the composition. By that time she'd already arranged with Jewett for book publication: his firm began advertising the novel at the end of October, 1851, and published it on 20 March 1852, a couple weeks before its serialization ended.
Only 9 leaves of Stowe's manuscript still exist. Comparing them with the two first print texts -- the newspaper serial and the two-volume book -- E. Bruce Kirkham* argues that despite the widely shared belief that the novel was written and published with almost no revisions of Stowe's originating visions, at least some of the novel went through 2 drafts before being sent to the Era, and that Stowe did revise at least some of it again before Jewett's printers set it in type.
By clicking on the various icons above, you can explore the three versions for yourself. ENLARGE is self-explanatory; the COMPARE will simultaneously load two of the texts side-by-side.

Return to sitemap. Return to homepage for this section. Search.