Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly is an influential and famous anti-slavery novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896)[1].

Usually referred to simply as Uncle Tom's Cabin.

The novel

Originally published as a 40-week serial in The National Era, beginning on June 5, 1851, the story was published in book form by John P. Jewett on March 20, 1852. The novel became the best-selling novel of the 19th century and the second best-selling book of that century, second only to the Bible and had a profound effect on attitudes toward African Americans and slavery in the U.S. and is said to have substantially contributed to the start of the Civil War.

Translations and adaptations

Translated and adapted numerous times for stage, film, and other media.

Adaptations for the stage

The work was often adapted for the stage, beginning with the version by George Aikin, and followed by pieces by Edward Fitzball, Colin Hazlewood, Charles Hermann, Mark Lemon and Tom Taylor, Charles Morton and others. Below more details on versions performed in South Africa.

Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly by G.L. Aiken

Adapted as Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly, A Domestic Drama in Six Acts by George L. Aiken (1830-1876)[2] in 1852, shortly after the appearance of the novel. The play became a sensational hit in the USA when first performed in 1853 by the George C. Howard Company, with Aiken himself playing the hero, George Harris. Published by Samuel French in the 1850s.

Uncle Tom's Cabin: A Drama of Real Life by Charles Hermann

Adapted as Uncle Tom's Cabin: A Drama of Real Life, a drama in three acts, by Charles Hermann, it was first performed at the Theatre Royal Manchester on 1 February, 1853, with Hermann himself as "Phineas Fletcher", and published in Lacy's Acting Edition of Plays, vol 12 in 1853. The Charles Hermann text was later also produced at The Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, on 15 August, 1892.

Adaptations for film and TV

Performance history in South Africa

1867: Performed as Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly by the Le Roy-Duret Company in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, on 13 and 15 November with Medea, or The Best of Mothers, with a Brute of a Husband (Brough) and a dance by Miss Clara. The text used was most probably the British version by Hermann, though the title suggests it could also have been the Aiken adaptation. However, F.C.L. Bosman (1980, p. 231) suggests that it was probably a version by an "L. Rae", possibly based on a French adaptation of the novel. (No such version has been traced yet)





H. Philip Bolton. 2000. Women Writers Dramatized: A Calendar of Performances from Narrative Works Published in English to 1900. London: A&C Black: p.320, 375.

Ben Brewster and Lea Jacobs. 1997. Theatre to Cinema: Stage Pictorialism and the Early Feature Film'. Oxford: Oxford University Press: p. 219.

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.201, 206, 231, 234, 295,

J.P. Wearing. 2013. The London Stage 1890-1899: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel. (Second, revised edition, p. 140). Scarecrow Press, Google E-book[3]

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