The Minister's Wooing

The Minister's Wooing

By Harriet Beecher Stowe; Susan K. Harris (Introduction by)

Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780140437027, 384pp.

Publication Date: August 1, 1999

Description
From the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," a domestic comedy that examines slavery, Protestant theology, and gender differences in early America.

First published in 1859, Harriet Beecher Stowe's third novel is set in eighteenth-century Newport, Rhode Island, a community known for its engagement in both religious piety and the slave trade. Mary Scudder lives in a modest farmhouse with her widowed mother an their boarder, Samuel Hopkins, a famous Calvinist theologian who preaches against slavery. Mary is in love with the passionate James Marvyn, but Mary is devout and James is a skeptic, and Mary's mother opposes the union. James goes to sea, and when he is reportedly drowned, Mary is persuaded to become engaged to Dr. Hopkins.

With colorful characters, including many based on real figures, and a plot that hinges on romance, "The Minister's Wooing" combines comedy with regional history to show the convergence of daily life, slavery, and religion in post-Revolutionary New England.
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About the Author
Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American author and abolitionist. Born in Litchfield, Connecticut, she was raised in a deeply religious family and educated in a seminary school run by her elder sister. In her adult life, Stowe married biblical scholar and abolitionist Calvin Ellis Stowe, who would later go on to work as Harriet s literary agent, and the two participated in the Underground Railroad by providing temporary refuge for escaped slaves travelling to the American North. Shortly before the outbreak of the American Civil War, Stowe published her most famous work, Uncle Tom s Cabin, a stark and sympathetic depiction of the desperate lives of African American slaves. The book went on to see unprecedented sales, and informed American and European attitudes towards abolition. In the years leading up to her death, suffering from dementia or Alzheimer s disease, Stowe is said to have begun re-writing Uncle Tom s Cabin, almost word-for-word, believing that she was writing the original manuscript once again. Stowe died in July 1, 1896 at the age of eighty-five.

Susan K. Harris is Professor of American Literature at Penn State University, University Park. She is the author of books and articles on 19th-century women writers and on Mark Twain.