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Playing Poison: Mary Webb’s Antidote to the Tom Shows

  • Sara L. Crosby
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)

Abstract

In this chapter, Crosby follows the battle over the poisonous woman into the ephemera of antebellum popular culture. She examines how fake, sensational “true crime” pamphlets and “Tom shows”—the wildly popular unauthorized dramatic adaptations of Uncle Tom’s Cabin—tried to squeeze Harriet Beecher Stowe’s medicinal poisoner back into old, misogynist, and racist frames, such as the Democratic poisoner. Crosby, however, observes that Stowe pushed back by partnering with Mary Webb, an actress of mixed African and Spanish ethnicity, to create their own dramatic adaptation, The Christian Slave, which further amplified Cassy’s heroic centrality and active homeopathic resistance to white male supremacy.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara L. Crosby
    • 1
  1. 1.The Ohio State University at MarionMarionUSA

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