Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - Houses, some real, some not - 'U'

U - Uncle Tom's Cabin and ?

From Uncle Tom’s humble cabin to Brideshead Castle, fictional dwellings have often played a vital role in a novel’s success..

During the American Civil War, President Lincoln is reported to have said to an author, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war!”

The author was Harriet Beecher Stowe; the book, once advertised on a poster as “The Greatest Book of the Age”, was Uncle Tom’s Cabin written by Stowe in an angry reaction to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.


 Full page illustration by Hammatt Billings for Uncle Tom's Cabin [First Edition: Boston: John P. Jewett and Company, 1852]. Shows characters of Eliza, Harry, Chloe, Tom, and Old Bruno.
George Orwell described Uncle Tom’s Cabin as “the supreme example of the ‘good bad’ book…..also deeply moving and essentially true.” 


Like the book multiple film versions have told the story of the fleeing slaves, the death of little Eva, and eventually the death of Uncle Tom at the hands of the evil Simon Legree. It is more difficult to visualise the cabin of the title as it only features in an early chapter of the book entitled “An Evening in Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. 

The description of it and its contents shows how sparse it was: “The cabin was a small log building, adjoining the master's house. The front, covered by a large scarlet bignonia and a multiflora rose, left hardly any of the rough logs visible. Inside, a bed in one corner was covered with a snowy spread; and by its side was a piece of carpeting; that corner was the drawing-room.

“In the other corner was a humbler bed, designed for use. Some brilliant scriptural prints and a drawn, coloured portrait of General Washington adorned the wall over the fireplace. A rough bench was situated in the corner. A table with rheumatic limbs, covered with a cloth, and brilliantly patterned cups and saucers, was drawn out in front of the fire.”

[The above text is taken from my article, 'Houses in Fiction', published in The Lady magazine in October 2008.]


And now to the ? I could have written about another house for U. Can you recognise it from this extract?

"Suddenly there shot along the path a wild light, and I turned to see whence a gleam so unusual could have issued; for the vast house and its shadows were alone behind me."

10 comments:

bazza said...

Don't recognise the quote. It seems like something quite ninteenth century Gothic!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s rare Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Eva A. said...

I'm afraid I can't recognise the fragment :/
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Eva - Mail Adventures

DeeDee said...

This was a nice read. But I did not get its connection to the ? or U
Maybe I am a bit dumb but curious though

A Peice Of My Life

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob - love the article about Uncle Tom's Cabin - men!! Need I say more about Lincoln's comment to Ms Stowe ...

Re another House ... no idea - I can only come up with Usk Castle - but that "ain't" no house ... I'll be interested to find out though ...

Cheers Hilary

http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/u-is-for-unicorn.html

FinnBadger said...

No idea on the clue to another U house.

This was a surprise to have a non-UK house today.

Phillip | U is for Unexpected

Kristin said...

Interesting to come across Uncle Tom's cabin here. Although it was sparsely furnished, I think she beautified it beyond the usual with pictures on the wall and snowy quilts.

As for the description... I had no idea but googled it. I will not tell though :)

Finding Eliza

Liam said...

Don't recognize the extract, but Edgar Allan Poe's House of Usher would fit the bill

Arlee Bird said...

I'm with Liam on the guess.

I've never read Uncle Tom's Cabin nor seen the film, but lurking somewhere around our house is a video version of the film that belongs to my wife's late husband. I don't think she's seen it either though. I probably should dig up that video to see if it still plays and watch at least part of the film. I'm guessing that it might be the silent version as her husband was into those old films.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Jo said...

Don't recognise the quote either. What is a bignonia? Never read Uncle Tom's Cabin - all I know about it I learnt from The King and I.

Bob Scotney said...

Liam was correct, the quote was from almost the end of Poe's House of Usher.

Kirstin would have been right as well as I am sure google will have confirmed for her.

Arlee - good to have stood with Liam.

J0 - there are lots of varieties of bignonia. I understand. Apparently it's a vine like plant and that seems to fit the context of the description.