Author Archives: wraabe

Antebellum Slavery Law on the Separation of Children from Parents

In the first edition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin with reasonably thorough historical annotation, by Phillip Van Doren Stern, he notes that Stowe’s “[s]aying that Eliza was only eight or nine years old when she was sold in Louisiana gave Mrs. … Continue reading

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George Harris’s “machine for the cleaning of hemp” and Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin

I have been unsatisfied with how Harriet Beecher Stowe’s footnote on George Harris’s “machine for the cleaning of hemp” has been annotated in editions of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Generally, editors annotate only Whitney’s cotton gin, the well-known antecedent to which … Continue reading

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A Close Reading of a George Will Editorial

I wasted three hours on this a while back, about twice as long as it took George Will to write the column that I analyzed. Out of the draft bucket and into the public, little commentary: it’s still a pretty … Continue reading

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Despair and the Textual Scholar

Despair seems the most apt way to describe how I felt about my work when I drafted this post. And I’ve decided to rescue it from my drafts and clean it up a bit for public appearance. So here goes. … Continue reading

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What is Candidacy?

This is a memo that I sent to graduate students, to explain candidacy. As this is a question coming up frequently, candidacy is permission to go forward with a dissertation, by passing what we call “qualifying” and what the university … Continue reading

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Annotating Nineteenth Century American Foods

Today I decided to annotate Aunt Chloe’s “tea rusks” and the “seed-cake” with which someone is often plying little Harry. And I stumbled across this wonderful digital repository of nineteenth-century cookbooks, Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project, which is … Continue reading

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“The worst use you can put a man to is to hang him.” Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

As far as I know (and I’ve checked several editions, including Diller’s Broadview; the two Nortons, Ammons’ and Gates-Robbins’, and the two Oxfords, Sklar’s and Hedrick’s–the five most extensively annotated editions), no editor of Uncle Tom’s Cabin has identified the … Continue reading

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