|"Beyond "Uncle Tom's Cabin": Essays on the Writing of Harriet Beecher Stowe" - ISBN# 9781611470048|
1. What draws you to the work of Harriet Beecher Stowe, and what motivated you to create a collection of her less famous works?
I've been interested in Stowe's work ever since I discovered Uncle Tom's Cabin as a child. In Germany, the novel - which might be hard to believe - was still marketed as a children's book when I grew up there. Since the 19th century is a major area of academic interest to me and since Stowe's oeuvre has been a part of my previous work, it just seemed natural that I'd eventually (co-)edit a book on Stowe. The paper trail on Uncle Tom's Cabin has become immeasurably long by now, so shifting attention to her "less famous" (but by no means "lesser") work seemed to be a logical step.
2. The 21st century is believed to be experiencing the third wave of feminism. How does this related to the increased interest in Stowe's writings? Is there a connection or is this coincidence?
I'd say that this probably is a coincidence; the increased interest in Stowe's work probably has more to do with the fact that 2011 was the year of the Stowe bicentennial. Nevertheless, Stowe's presentation of gender will certainly continue to provoke reactions from feminist scholars.
3. Being professors of American studies at universities located in Germany, how has being in Europe shaped your attitudes towards a well-known American figure?
A lot of my academic training actually took place in the U.S., so I find that question a bit difficult to answer. As a child, I found out about slavery in America from Stowe roughly around the same time that I first heard about the Nazi terror in Europe. Reading Stowe made me realize that racism and evil are both universal and systemic and that systems that enable this type of evil need to be prevented by means of education. This of course was exactly what Stowe had intended by writing her books about slavery.
4. Beyond Uncle Tom's Cabin was published by FDU Press in September 2011. Since then, Choice has declared this work as "highly recommended" and believes that Beyond Uncle Tom's Cabin "can open up new directions for Stowe studies." Congratulations. How do you hope your work will contribute to the study of Stowe's work?
I'm certainly pleased to hear that and hope that in the future scholars will continue work in the "expanded directsions" (regionalism, transnationalism, ecocriticism, rhetorics, etc.) in Stowe studies suggested by our volume.
Interview by: Kathleen Shultz