December 11th, 2010
I’ve just finished reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Or, Life Among the Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe, and am I glad it’s over! Not that I didn’t find Mrs. Stowe’s legendary narrative riveting, but I couldn’t stop crying. It was particularly awkward as I do a lot of my reading in public; walking back and forth to the museum where I work (not as difficult or as dangerous as it sounds), or sitting in cafes on Saturday or Sunday mornings. People turned to look at me as I stumbled down the street, tears streaming down my face, trying to hold my book up straight.
I was inspired to read Uncle Tom in mid November when I received a broadsheet from Metropolitan Playhouse Theatre, a dear little off-off Broadway troupe that specializes in presenting historic and historically themed plays, announcing their production of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, as dramatized by George L. Aiken in 1852 (practically minutes after the book’s publication). So, being at loose ends in a literary sense, and always preferring to read the book first, I pulled it off the shelf and dug in. After the first few chapters, I decided I had better not go to the play, as I would surely disgrace myself by bawling through every act.
Harriet Beecher Stowe