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Domestic Manners Of The Americans [ By: Fanny Trollope ]
     

Domestic Manners Of The Americans [ By: Fanny Trollope ]

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by Fanny Trollope
 

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Frances Trollope has been a figure of fun and notoriety in America for over one hundred and sixty years. Ever since the publication of her Domestic Manners of the Americans in 1832, Americans have caricatured Frances Trollope as a snobbish English woman who visited briefly, misjudged a bustling frontier culture, and wrongly took the United States to task in order to

Overview

Frances Trollope has been a figure of fun and notoriety in America for over one hundred and sixty years. Ever since the publication of her Domestic Manners of the Americans in 1832, Americans have caricatured Frances Trollope as a snobbish English woman who visited briefly, misjudged a bustling frontier culture, and wrongly took the United States to task in order to make her fortune. In so doing, we have distorted Frances Trollope's image and ignored her many publications (totalling 114 volumes in all) in ways that we have not done math her even more critical but more respected male compatriots, Anthony Trollope (author of North America and her youngest son) and Charles Dickens (author of American Notes and her fellow writer).

As Mark Twain was to say in Life on the Mississippi, "poor candid Mrs. Trollope was so handsomely cursed and reviled by this nation. Yet she was merely telling the truth, and this indignant nation knew it" (391). Twain pointed out that what Mrs. Trollope attacked - "slavery, rowdyism,|chivalrous' assassinations, sham godliness, and several other devilishnesses" - richly deserved condemnation. He believed her protests to be the result of "a humane spirit [struggling] against inhumanities; of an honest nature against humbug; of a clean breeding against grossness; of a right heart against upright speech and deed" (392). For her efforts to tell the truth "fairly and squarely," Twain felt that Frances Trollope "deserved gratitude - but it is an error to suppose she got it" (391-92).

Product Details

BN ID:
2940012641779
Publisher:
Publish This, LLC
Publication date:
01/12/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
347 KB

Meet the Author

Novelist and miscellaneous writer, born at Stapleton near Bristol, married in 1809 Thomas A.T., a barrister, who fell into financial misfortune. She then in 1827 went with her family to Cincinnati, where the efforts which she made to support herself were unsuccessful. On her return to England, however, she brought herself into notice by publishing Domestic Manners of the Americans [1832], in which she gave a very unfavorable and grossly exaggerated account of the subject; and a novel, The Refugee in America, pursued it on similar lines. Next came The Abbess and Belgium and Western Germany, and other works of the same kind on Paris and the Parisians, and Vienna and the Austrians followed. Thereafter she continued to pour forth novels and books on miscellaneous subjects, writing in all over 100 vols. Though possessed of considerable powers of observation and a sharp and caustic wit, such an output was fatal to permanent literary success, and none of her books are now read. She spent the last 20 years of her life at Florence, where she died in 1863. Her third son was Anthony Trollope, the well-known novelist.

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Domestic Manners of the Americans 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
JerriUkeles More than 1 year ago
Frances Trollope was, as Mark Twain put it, "handsomely cursed and reviled by this nation." Yet she did no more than tell the truth as she knew it. Dame Trollope came from England in 1827 to make her fortune by opening a department store on the American frontier. She settled in the booming town of Cincinnatti, Ohio, then with a population of 20,000, where she thought a fortune could easily be made. Failing to see the real needs of the settlers she didn't yet know, she didn't make that fortune and was made all but destitute by the experience. Her disparagement of America is thus suspected by many of her critics to have rooted in malice. Such motives are futile to prove, however, and it is sufficient to consider her criticism stems from her reputably refined sensibilities as and Englishwoman, one who observed with some disconcertion the comparatively unbridled ways of Americans. Whatever her prejudice, her scrutiny of life in the new world nonetheless equals that of her exceedingly more favored contemporary from France. The reproval she elicits from Americans in part has to do with how her book, Domestic Manners of the Americans, was received in England. Released to the public in March 1832, it auspiciously concurred with debates in the British Parliament over democratic reform, when agitation for a new Reform Bill modelled on American government feverishly gripped the Whigs and the Tories. The Tories, seeking to curb democratic privileges, seized at Trollope's belittlement of American democracy, what she painted as no more than the pretense and propaganda of the economically endowed landower. The Whig supporters of the Reform Bill countered by denouncing her undemocratic cast. Ordinary Britons, meanwhile, were eating her book up for its lurid account of American life. Mrs. Trollope had found her success at last: at the age of fifty-two she became a literary sensation, thereupon setting her course on the writing of travel books and novels. The fact is, Domestic Manners outraged most contemporary American readers because they saw it as irresponsible and unfavorably disposed in its reporting. Still, newspapers all over the country quoted long sections from her book along with reviling commentaries. Today we value her vivid picture of travel and accomodations as much as her opinion on postcolonial American politics and society while keeping in mind that her experiences were not, by and large, fortunate. What counts here, however, is the detail with which she embroiders the records of her travel. After leaving Cincinnatti, Mrs. Trollope and her party traveled by stagecoach over the Alleghenies. A harsh journey, Trollope vividly describes it in what may be one of the more surprisingly favorable passages of her entire two-year visit. Commencing at Cumberland, Maryland, in 1808, it was in nine years to stretch some 130 miles across the Alleghenies to Wheeling, Virginia. In 1833 it extended to Columbus, Ohio, and twenty years later to Vandalia, Illinois. Trollope makes this sometimes perilous and turbulent ride sublimely picturesque. Trollope gradually progresses from rancor to rapture, though, of course, always retaining her faculty for precision and minutia and her talent for enunciating what most people only vaguely sense.
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