True Songs Of Freedom: Uncle Tom?s Cabin In Russian Culture And Society

Paperback | July 31, 2013

byJohn Mackay

not yet rated|write a review
Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 antislavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was the nineteenth century's best-selling novel worldwide; only the Bible outsold it. It was known not only as a book but through stage productions, films, music, and commercial advertising as well. But how was Stowe's novel—one of the watershed works of world literature—actually received outside of the American context?
            True Songs of Freedom explores one vital sphere of Stowe's influence: Russia and the Soviet Union, from the 1850s to the present day. Due to Russia's own tradition of rural slavery, the vexed entwining of authoritarianism and political radicalism throughout its history, and (especially after 1945) its prominence as the superpower rival of the United States, Russia developed a special relationship to Stowe's novel during this period of rapid societal change. Uncle Tom's Cabin prompted widespread reflections on the relationship of Russian serfdom to American slavery, on the issue of race in the United States and at home, on the kinds of writing appropriate for children and peasants learning to read, on the political function of writing, and on the values of Russian educated elites who promoted, discussed, and fought over the book for more than a century. By the time of the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, Stowe's novel was probably better known by Russians than by readers in any other country.
            John MacKay examines many translations and rewritings of Stowe's novel; plays, illustrations, and films based upon it; and a wide range of reactions to it by figures famous (Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Turgenev, Marina Tsvetaeva) and unknown. In tracking the reception of Uncle Tom's Cabin across 150 years, he engages with debates over serf emancipation and peasant education, early Soviet efforts to adapt Stowe's deeply religious work of protest to an atheistic revolutionary value system, the novel's exploitation during the years of Stalinist despotism, Cold War anti-Americanism and antiracism, and the postsocialist consumerist ethos.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$32.50

Ships within 3-5 weeks
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 antislavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was the nineteenth century's best-selling novel worldwide; only the Bible outsold it. It was known not only as a book but through stage productions, films, music, and commercial advertising as well. But how was Stowe's novel—one of the watershed works of world literature—...

John MacKay is professor of Slavic and East European languages and literatures and film studies and chair of the film studies program at Yale University. He is author of Inscription and Modernity: From Wordsworth to Mandelstam and editor and translator of Four Russian Serf Narratives.

other books by John Mackay

see all books by John Mackay
Format:PaperbackDimensions:136 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 inPublished:July 31, 2013Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299292940

ISBN - 13:9780299292942

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of True Songs Of Freedom: Uncle Tom?s Cabin In Russian Culture And Society

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Historical Timeline
 
Introduction
1 Before Emancipation
2 After Serfdom, before October
3 The Early Soviet Period (to 1945)
4 Uncle Tom, Cold Warrior
Coda: Tom, Meet Scarlett
Conclusion
Appendix: Summary of Uncle Tom's Cabin
 
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Stowe’s 1852 novel as seen through many facets of a crystal—Russian, American and Western European history, society and culture from the mid-nineteenth century through the Cold War era up to the present. . . . MacKay is a knowledgeable, authoritative, enthusiastic guide.”—Slavonic and East European Review