THE NOVELS OF HARRIET BEECHER STOWE by Alice Crozier

THE NOVELS OF HARRIET BEECHER STOWE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Miss Crozier concludes this splendid reassessment with the suggestion that in order to ""to see clearly our way, to understand truly our past,"" toward a new reality concerning black and white, ""it is time we again asked what is the value and relevance to us of the best work of Harriet Beecher Stowe."" Beginning with an explication of Uncle Tom's Cabin, the in which she indicates Mrs. Stowe's evangelical crusade to ""purge"" the nation of its sin and restore it to a destiny of Christian brotherhood, Miss Crozier, through textual explorations, uncovers some neglected virtues in this mighty effort. Mrs. Stowe, for example, could write with a muscular and icy pertinence. (""Of course, in a novel, peoples' hearts break, and they die, and that is the end of it; and in a story this is very convenient. But in real life we do not die when all that makes life bright dies to us."") She was also a competent satirist, as in a slave speech which mocks the cherished rhetoric of ""moderate"" Northerners like Daniel Webster. Most interesting is Mrs. Stowe's inconclusive, unsuccessful and yet disturbing anti-slavery novel, Dred, in which Mrs. Stowe's sympathies are tugged this way and that by both the patient, Christian forgiving slave Millie, and the character she both respected and feared, the militant Nat Turner-like Dred. Passing through the rather good wartime ""New England"" novels, the inconsequential ""social novels,"" Miss Crozier devotes considerable attention to the novelist's heated defense of Lady Byron, and the Byronic legacy. A mastelry probe for the glint of steel in Little Eva's saintly eye.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1969
Publisher: Oxford