Word Become Flesh: Literacy, Anti- literacy, and Illiteracy in Uncle Tom’s Cabin Faye Halpern University of Calgary [P]rofessional, academic reading is only one kind of reading and a relatively special- ized one at that, and as such, it cannot be used simply and in unqualified fashion as a model for all other forms of reading or as a stand- in for the acts of reading it wishes to reconstruct. (291) Janice Radway, “Beyond Mary Bailey and Old Maid Librarians: Reimagining Readers and Rethinking Reading,” 1994 his is an essay about how Uncle Tom’s Cabin teaches us to read. It opens Tthe novel to new avenues of inquiry by situating it within the history of reading in the United States. For Stowe, the abolition of slavery is intimately tied not just, as Stowe says at the end of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, to “feel[ing] right” but also to reading right (404). Seeing the novel in this way clarifies the reading practices of both secular and religious antebellum readers. Yet it also illumi- nates something I imagine this essay’s audience might tend to take for granted: the reading practices of contemporary literary critics. Modern critics, even feminist ones, are often bewildered about
Legacy – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Dec 15, 2017
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