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Dickens XIII


American Notes for General Circulation

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by Charles Dickens
London: Chapman and Hall, 1842. First edition, First issue.
Two volumes bound in brown cloth.


Dickens wrote this work after a five month visit to America in 1842. Wildly popular with the American public, Dickens received a hero's welcome and for the first two months of his visit wrote glowing reports in letters home. However, the American press reacted negatively and vociferously to Dickens' views on international copyright law, and Dickens suffered a change of heart about Americans and American culture in general, which American Notes reflects. The novel received extraordinary criticism in the United States, and at best, is considered cranky and superficial. Edgar Allen Poe, heretofore a great admirer of Dickens' work, retaliated by writing a parody called "English Notes" under the pseudonym Quarles Quickens. John Forster, Dickens' close friend and biographer, observed what many American critics concluded, that Dickens' views on copyright colored his experiences in America.


Relevant excerpts include:
Chapter XII    Dickens's steamboat trip from Cincinatti to St. Louis
Chapter XIII   His description of a trip to the prairies east of St. Louis


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