New Work by Susan Sterling

An essay by Susan Sterling (Fiction, ’92) “The Summer of Uncle Tom,” appears in the Spring 2013 print edition of Witness: 

“A very old edition of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous novel had been on my bookshelf for more than a decade, since my father sold our family home in Connecticut after my mother’s death. I brought the book back to Maine with me because it was historically important, but it never occurred to me even to glance inside it. I’ve always been annoyed with people who have strong opinions about books they’ve never read, yet here I was unapologetically in their camp, certain I would find the novel preachy and moralistic. What I didn’t anticipate was the way the story, once begun, would stir up half-hidden memories and grab hold of my imagination, leading to a troubling discovery about my own family history. The critic Edmund Wilson could have had me in mind when he warned: “To expose oneself in maturity to Uncle Tom’s Cabin…might well prove a startling experience.”…”


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