Abstract

Many cheap illustrated editions of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin were brought out by reprint publishers in Britain in 1852 and 1853. While much scholarship about the novel's publication focuses on America, more copies of Uncle Tom's Cabin were sold in Britain, thanks to a laissez-faire publishing atmosphere that allowed reprinting to flourish and an expanded reading public that included the working classes. Most British editions of the novel were cheap editions intended for a mass readership, and many of these contained illustrations that conveyed varying ideas about race. This article investigates the publishing milieu that made cheap illustrated editions of Uncle Tom's Cabin bestsellers, interrogates the implications of race being illustrated for a white working-class readership, and uses one reprint publisher's illustrated edition as a case study to show why British illustrated editions of the novel deserve more scholarly attention.

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