'Written with a Mrs Stowe's feeling' : Uncle Tom's Cabin and the paradigms of Southern authorship in the anti-Tom tradition, 1852-1902
The purpose of this thesis is to analyse the representation of authorship, readership and intertextuality in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin and the southern anti-Tom tradition from 1852 to 1902. The principal claim of the thesis is that Stowe's novel provides nineteenth-century southern readers with a series of aesthetic paradigms that enable these readers to construct and reconstruct the role of artist in the South as this intersects with the construction of gender identity in nineteenth-century America. In Chapter 1, Uncle Tom's Cabin is interpreted through Julia Kristeva's theory of intertextuality, whereby 'the one who writes is the same as the one who reads', to argue that Stowe's text promotes acts of active rather than passive readership. The reading of Caroline Lee Hentz's The Planter's Northern Bride in Chapter 2 interrogates the ways in which the female writer locates herself within a female literary tradition by subverting the Bloomian model of literary paternity to create the gothic mother author. Chapter 3 demonstrates how William Gilmore Simms appropriates Stowe's aesthetics of sympathy in the 'sensible man'. Barthes's recapitulation of the writer and reader as 'producer' and 'consumer' is mapped onto Simms's aesthetic terminology of 'utility' and 'extravagance' to reconcile Stowe's antithesis of marketplace and sentiment within the southern home. In Chapter 4, James Lane Allen's paired stories 'Mrs Stowe's "Uncle Tom" at Home in Kentucky' and 'Two Gentlemen of Kentucky' are read in the context of the literary debates between realism and romance in the late nineteenth-century. In doing so, Allen attempts to reconfigure these gendered aesthetic paradigms and so legitimise southern cultural elegy as a southern form but effectively begins the process of dismantling Stowe's aesthetics of sympathy. Chapter 5 discusses the ways in which Thomas Dixon's The Leopard's Spots dramatises the failure of Stowe's aesthetics of sympathy in the context of the southern rape complex.