By Charles Dickens
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2009
Online Publication Date:August 2010
Original Publication Year:1842
Subjects: Early Republic and Antebellum History , Social and Population History
Charles Dickens (1812–1870) is best remembered today for the novels which offer a fantastic, even grotesque panorama of Victorian life, but he was a journalist before he became a novelist. His travel writings have all the energy and urgency of journalism, and these two volumes, drawn from his experiences on a six-month tour of America between January and June 1842, are no exception. Dickens was already hugely popular with the American reading public, and he was lionised wherever he went, but the American Notes, and the American scenes in Martin Chuzzlewit, caused great controversy and were felt by many to insult the people and institutions of the United States. Dickens's dedication of American Notes, to 'those friends of mine in America ... who, loving their country, can bear the truth when it is told good humouredly, and in a kind spirit' suggests that he was not surprised by this reaction.