資料彙整   /   作家  /  Harriet Beecher  Stowe  海莉耶.碧綺兒.史托
Harriet Beecher  Stowe
海莉耶.碧綺兒.史托
圖片來源:http://teachpol.tcnj.edu/amer_pol_hist/fi/000000e7.jpg
主要文類:Novel
資料提供者:Ron Tranquilla;Julia Hsieh/謝佩璇
關鍵字詞:Uncle Tom`s Cabin;American Literature Survey I

海莉耶.碧綺兒.史托
1811-1896

Julia Hsieh/謝佩璇
 
 生平簡介
 她的著名代表作品


 生平簡介

在她的一生中,海莉耶.碧綺兒.史托的作品與生活受到宗教影響深遠。雖然她的《湯姆叔叔的小屋》為她的家庭帶來豐厚的收入,這本舉世聞名的著作引起的不只是各界的矚目,也同時激起當時許多爭議與討論。史托的作品使她成為著名的反奴隸運動的人道支持者並對於美國歷史造成影響。

一、教育暨成長背景
   
出生於康乃狄克州的利區菲爾德一個虔誠的基督徒家庭,海莉耶.碧綺兒是八個孩子其中之一。父親萊門為一牧師,母親羅莎娜.傅德一生致力於教育孩子成為擁有堅強信仰的事工。羅莎娜於碧綺兒四歲的時候過世,排行最長的姊姊凱薩琳於是肩負起母職,教導年幼的弟妹。海莉耶成長過程中因父母兄姊的鼓勵而對閱讀與寫作產生極大的興趣。她在完成皮爾斯小姐成立的學校受初等教育五年之後,入學大姊凱薩琳所成立的哈特福女修會。凱賽琳在未婚夫因海難過世之後全心投入教育女性的工作之中。藉教育貢獻自己的力量改變女性社會地位,凱薩琳成為早期女性主義貢獻非凡的卓越女性先鋒。在凱薩琳成立的學校畢業之後,海莉耶開始投稿出版她的作品;姊姊對她的作品感到不甚滿意,海莉耶於是接受姊姊的建議開始執教。

當萊門被指派成為靈恩神學修會總裁,碧綺兒舉家搬遷至辛辛那堤。在那裡凱薩琳成立另一個學校-西部女子學院,海莉耶贏得《西部每月雜誌》的文學獎項,這樣的肯定激勵她日後時序寫作發表自己的作品。成年不久,海莉耶結識依萊莎,兩人成為莫逆之交,當依萊莎早逝,其夫聖經文學教授卡爾文.史托與海莉耶相處日久生情,她不久後便成為史托夫人。海莉耶為史托家在七年之中生育五名子女,繁重的家務與教育子女的責任落在肩上,讓她感到龐大的經濟與心理壓力。當史托教授努力接受不同地區提供的工作教職的同時,史托夫人則利用寫作的出版稿費來支付家務幫手。

 


二、寫作生涯


在她早期的作品裡,她的興趣往往是與社會改革相關的主題、女性在社會、家庭中的地位等等。保羅.大衛.強生曾評論史托的作品中可見得她對死亡議題的敏感度:在她的創作中,死亡總是令人感傷而悲劇性的呈現。 強生指出這樣對死亡場景呈現的敏銳度很可能受到史托年幼喪母、父母在成長過程中提到在她之前早夭的嬰兒的影響,又她的繼弟佛來帝和她本人晚年失去的兩個兒子,這些死亡經驗都使得史托夫人經常性的呈現悲劇性的死亡。

幾乎每一個碧綺兒家成員都反對奴隸制度。一八三七年,碧綺兒家族致力推動反奴隸制度等活動,欲喚醒美國國人對人權、人性的重視。史托也許受到亞利山大.今蒙特的演說影響,而萌發欲以小說的方式構劃以說明支持人權、反奴隸政策的立場。今蒙特的論述致力以行社會正義之實,以促進文明教育等層面下手,推動黑人與白人之間的平等關係。史托深受演說感動,也因此著手計畫寫傳達支持廢除奴隸制度的小說。經由親友的引介,她獲得前奴隸的經驗分享並進而拜訪農莊以著手構圖小說背景。強生就指出,史托的寫作策略與眾不同之處是,她往往一直等到她清楚的想見每個人物、場景與小說的每一情節描繪,曾能夠真正下筆開始寫作。

一八五○年,史托受到脫逃奴隸法案的推行刺激之下,她將已成形的故事寄給《國家時代》雜誌並進而在隔年開始連載。爾後她以三百元的價格賣出故事,更因為讀者反應踴躍而同意集結成冊,也因此一八五二年,《湯姆叔叔的小屋》上市發行,造成空前的震撼。直到一八三○年,小說已售出超過三十萬本,國內各界透過史托的煽動人心的文字、扣人心弦的故事情節,經歷奴隸制度的殘酷和廢除奴隸制度的聲浪也因此逐漸聲勢浩大。

 

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 作品簡介

在《湯姆叔叔的小屋》之前,史托曾出版《五月花號》,故事多描述艱困的家內生活、母親與孩子教育和家務道德等等相關主題。史托繼首本小說之後繼續寫作以換取更多稿費僱請幫傭料理家務,而《湯姆叔叔的小屋》的出版則使她一夕成名,成為家喻戶曉的作家。

儘管小說的出版,引起更多人支持推動廢除奴隸制度,卻也造成美國南方與北方的歧異觀點。一如約翰.亞當斯所言,《湯姆叔叔的小屋》這本小說原本只是個故事,而非引起爭議。無論小說如何被討論評斷,持續暢銷的《湯姆叔叔的小屋》卻引發主張奴隸制度的反廢除奴隸制度份子的強烈譴責,他們批評史托不正確也不夠客觀的描述莊園生活也胡謅奴隸悲慘的生活,並強烈指控史托錯誤的描繪南方人的政策。

也因此在一八五三年,史托撰寫「閱讀湯姆叔叔的小屋」一文並解釋她的寫作出發的觀點。歌爾森的研究顯示,此篇辯駁的文章沒有進而激起兩方更強烈的辯論,相反的進一步引發更多人支持廢除奴隸制度,他認為若史托未發表此文做聲明並提出證據 以捍衛事實,那麼她只不過是行詳實報導正義的記者罷了。受到南北歧異看法逐漸擴大的影響,美國國內更逐漸引發內戰的危機。

除了《湯姆叔叔的小屋》之外,《卓瑞》繼前本小說訴說農奴之苦,卻不幸被評論為內容鬆散的作品。《歐爾島的珍珠》描述她新英格蘭童年故事;而《為拜倫爵夫人平反》一書中,史托為好友拜倫爵夫人辯駁拜倫爵情婦的指控詆毀。在眾多詳述家內生活、充滿警示教育或救贖意義的小說之中,《湯姆叔叔的小屋》迄今仍被閱讀討論,並被認為是史托的成名經典之作。

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Harriet Beecher Stowe
1811-1896
Julia Hsieh/謝佩璇
 
 Biographic Sketch
 Her Works

 


 Biographic Sketch  

Throughout her entire life, Harriet Beecher Stowe's works and everyday living were eminently affected by her religion. Although her Uncle Tom's Cabin has made remarkable profit for her and her family, the best seller indeed aroused national attention and controversy in many ways. This masterpiece of Stowe's made her a well-known antislaverist as well as a humanist that has a strong impact on Americans.
 
A. Family Background and Education
    Born in a religious family in Litchfield, Connecticut, Harriet Beecher was the one of the eight children in the Beecher family. Lyman, a Congregational reverent, and Roxanna Foote Beecher were devoted to their family and raised their children, trying to shower them with heavenly messages from God and biblical morality. Roxanna Beecher died when Harriet was a four-year-old, so the eldest (and the favorite) daughter of the family, Catherine, hence took place to act as a surrogate mother to her siblings. Harriet grew up with tremendous interest in reading and writing, which was a result of the encouraging parents and elder siblings. She attended Miss Sarah Pierce's school for five years before moving on to attend Hartford Female Seminary, founded by Catherine, who was absolutely committed to educating women after her fiance was drowned in an expedition. By serving doing the good, Catherine not merely educated young women of her time, she was considered an educator involved in feminism herself. Upon attending the school Catherine founded, Harriet began to bestow her fine writing works; after Harriet's presenting a few of her creation, however, Catherine was not pleased with her material and thence advised her to start teaching. When Lyman was appointed as the president of Lane Theological Seminary, the Beechers moved to Cincinnati, where Catherine founded another school – Western Female Institute. Harriet's literary sketch won her a major prize in the Western Monthly Magazine, and this further strengthened her faith and dedication to writing. Harriet met Eliza, who later became her close friend, and her husband Calvin Ellis Stowe, a biblical literature professor. Eliza deceased early, so Harriet went over to pay Stowe visit frequently; as a consequence, Harriet soon became Mrs. Stowe. Harriet (now Stowe) gave birth to five children within the first seven years of the marriage, which got her engaged in heavy-loaded domestic chores and financial responsibility. As the husband strived to take position of teaching in different locations, Stowe herself submitted her writings to Western Monthly and Godey's Lady's Book so as to hire some domestic help.
 
B. An anti-slavery writer shading a new light on the nation
   

In her early works, the themes that interested her are mostly social reform, women's place in domestic space and so on. Paul David Johnson has noticed how Stowe is sensitive toward the issue of death: in her works, the death scenes are always sentimental and tragic. Johnson indicated that sensitivity on death is possibly due to the bereavement of losing her mother at young age, acknowledging the little girl that was to be her elder sister but died in the infancy, the loss of her stepbrother, Freddy, and later, the trauma of losing two sons.

Almost every member in the Beecher family was anti-slavery. By 1837, the Beechers all supported the society of anti-slavery and endeavored to propel activities that could awake America 's awakening on the matter of humanity. It is believed that Stowe was influenced by Alexander Kinmont's speech that introduced that idea of the equality between the black and the white provided with social justice, enlightenment and civilization. Stowe was moved and inspired by the speech so that later she began to sketch on a novel that spur on the abolition of slavery. With a friend's help, she received the chance of visiting the plantation and speaking with some former slaves. According to Johnson, her writing strategy and the sketches of the novel were not formed until she had clear visualization of her sources and the material for her novel.

Further prompted by 1850' s Fugitive Slave Law, Stowe sent her story to National Era, and hence the installment began in 1851. She sold the story by three hundred dollars, and as a result of the prevailing positive reader's response, she agreed to forward the complete story as a publication as a book form in 1852. Uncle Tom's Cabin was hence published. By 1830, the novel was sold 300,000 copies and the nation was boiled by Stowe's courage with her enchanting and sentimental story.

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 Her Works
 

Before Uncle Tom's Cabin, there was an "apprentice" work called The Mayflower (1843), in which most stories were related with domestic depiction, about children, women and the sanctity of the household. Stowe continued to write in order to improve the financial status of the family and get help for the household. It was Uncle Tom's Cabin that has made her best-seller writer overnight and prosperous as a writer.

The publication of the novel, however, had different reader's reaction between the South and the North despite the increasing number of the Americans that stood out for the abolitionists. As John Adams has pointed out, "the original Uncle Tom's Cabin serial was a story, not a controversy" and no matter how emotional-tickling the novel has been, nevertheless, the releasing and the well-received publication soared in the number of the copies sold, the anti-abolitionists fought back by severe criticism that called the novel a Stowe's slanderous fiction with false assertions.

In 1853, therefore, Stowe composed A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin that explained and justified her stance of the whole matter. In accordance with Gerson's research, the defense brought about no further stir of condemning Stowe but tagged along more converters: ""If Mrs. Stowe did nothing else in writing the Key, she demonstrated that she was a conscientious reporter. She marshaled her facts and allowed them to speak for themselves, disciplining her anger and avoiding flamboyance in her approach" (79). Despite the number of the converts to the anti-slavery increased, the nation and the government gradually foresaw the distinct discrepancy between the stance of slavery and the psychological disparity was further draught, which might have triggered the Civil War.

Among Stowe's other works were Dred (1856), another slavery story, which was criticized as disorganized structure; The Pearl of Orr's Island (1862), a portrait of her New England childhood life; Lady Byron Vindicated (1870), by which she defended for her good friend, Lord Byron's wife against his mistress. Yet, of all novels of domestic issues and purposeful depiction of redemption, Uncle Tom's Cabin, which had once set the record of the most read American novel, remained her most known piece and her landmark of a lifelong writing career.

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Reference
Stern, Madeleine B. "Harriet Beecher Stowe." Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol 1: The Amercan Renaissance in New England. Ed. Joel Myerson. Brucooli Clark Layman Book. Gale, 1978. 168-169.

"Harriet ( Elizabeth ) Beecher Stowe." Contemporary Authors Online. Gale, 2003.

Johnson, Paul David. Harriet Beecher Stowe. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1979. Gale. 579-601.

Adams, John R. Harriet Beecher Stowe. Boston: Twayne, 1989.

Gerson, Noel B. Harriet Beecher Stowe. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1976.
 
 

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