the reaction of the ordinary and literary American readers
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The novel was popular with abolitionists, but the serial version of the novel printed in newspapers was never completed because of Jacobs detailed descriptions of sexual abuse. It was also dismissed as a piece of fiction because the author did not use her real name, but it was never overly popular because its publication was just in time for the war.
After the war, people again were confused. They really didn't know who wrote the novel. On the other hand, today, it is seen as a great slave narrative, and often used as a resource for the time.