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by WALTER ALLEN
In 1868 the American novelist William de Forest coined the term ' Great American Novel ' and suggested that ' the nearest approach to the desired phenomenon is Uncle Tom's Cabin.' But until Edmund Wilson published his study of Civil War literature Patriotic Gore (1962), Mrs. Stowe's novel had been long neglected by critics and thought of largely as a children's book-although Uncle Tom himself had entered into the folk-lore of the English-speaking world. In his talk Mr. Allen re-examines the book both in relation to its times and the wider context of American literature.
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