Domestic Manners of the Americans

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Frances Trollope, mother of the great Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope, wrote more than 40 books in her lifetime, including provocative, landmark novels dealing with important social issues. Today, however, she's best known for her witty, entertaining, and controversial account of American life and culture -- Domestic Manners of the Americans. First published in 1832, this travel classic presents a lively portrait of early-nineteenth-century America as observed by a woman of rare intelligence and keen ...
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Frances Trollope, mother of the great Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope, wrote more than 40 books in her lifetime, including provocative, landmark novels dealing with important social issues. Today, however, she's best known for her witty, entertaining, and controversial account of American life and culture -- Domestic Manners of the Americans. First published in 1832, this travel classic presents a lively portrait of early-nineteenth-century America as observed by a woman of rare intelligence and keen perception. Mrs. Trollope left no stone unturned, commenting on American dress, food, speech, politics, manners, customs, the landscape, architecture, and more -- often critically, occasionally admiringly, but always with considerable insight and fine literary flair. Of her, Mark Twain observed: "Of all the tourists I like Dame Trollope best, she found a 'civilization' here which you, reader, could not have endured; and which you would not have regarded as a civilization at all. Mrs. Trollope spoke of this civilization in plain terms -- plain and unsugared, but honest and without malice, and without hate." An immediate best-seller on its first publication, the book remains one of the most popular of all American travel accounts.
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Editorial Reviews

Rochelle Gurstein
The best chronicle of the home and domestic life in antebellum America -- and of its municipal buildings, churches, museums, theaters, cities, and towns -- is still Frances Trollope's 1832 Domestic Manners of the Americans. -- Lingua Franca
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556852893
  • Publisher: Audio Book Contractors, LLC
  • Publication date: 1/1/1993
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged

Meet the Author

John L. Larson is Professor of History, Assistant Department Head, and Director of Graduate Education at Purdue University. Since 1994 he has been coeditor, with Michael Morrison, of the Journal of the Early Republic. His publications include Bonds of Enterprise: John Murray Forbes and Western Development in America's Railway Age (1984) and Internal Improvement: National Public Works and the Promise of Popular Government in the Early United States (2001).

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Table of Contents

Chapter I.1
Entrance of the Mississippi
Chapter II.4
New Orleans
Creoles and Quadroons
Voyage up the Mississippi
Chapter III.10
Company on board the Steam-boat
Scenery of the Mississippi
Arrival at Memphis
Chapter IV.19
Departure from Memphis
Ohio River
Chapter V.26
Forest Farm
Mr. Bullock
Chapter VI.32
Evening Parties
Chapter VII.37
Picture Gallery
Academy of Fine Arts
Drawing School
Phrenological Society
Miss Wright's Lecture
Chapter VIII.43
Absence of public and private Amusement
Churches and Chapels
Influence of the Clergy
A Revival
Chapter IX.49
Water Melons
Fourth of July
Moving Houses
Mr. Flint
Chapter X.57
Removal to the Country
Walk in the Forest
Chapter XI.64
Chapter XII.70
Peasantry, compared to that of England
Early Marriages
Independence and Equality
Cottage Prayer-meeting
Chapter XIII.78
Fine Arts
Shaking Quakers
Big-Bone Lick
Visit of the President
Chapter XIV.86
American Spring
Controversy between Messrs. Owen and Campbell
Public Ball
Separation of the Sexes
American freedom
Chapter XV.98
Chapter XVI.104
Danger of rural Excursions
Chapter XVII.108
Departure from Cincinnati
Society on board the Steam-boat
Arrival at Wheeling
Bel Esprit
Chapter XVIII.114
Departure for the Mountains in the Stage
Scenery of the Alleghany
Chapter XIX.122
Catholic Cathedral
St. Mary's College
Infant School
Chapter XX.129
Voyage to Washington
City of Washington
Funeral of a Member of Congress
Chapter XXI.142
Great Falls of the Potomac
Chapter XXII.145
Small Landed Proprietors
Chapter XXIII.153
Fruits and Flowers of Maryland and Virginia
Copper-head Snake
Chapter XXIV.158
Journey to Philadelphia
Chesapeak and Delaware Canal
City of Philadelphia
Miss Wright's Lecture
Chapter XXV.162
Washington Square
American Beauty
Gallery of Fine Arts
Chapter XXVI.168
Itinerant Methodist Preacher
Influence of Females in Society
Chapter XXVII.177
Return to Stonington
Chapter XXVIII.183
American Cooking
Evening Parties
Money-getting Habits
Tax-Gatherer's Notice
Indian Summer
Anecdote of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar
Chapter XXIX.192
Fine Arts
Chapter XXX.205
Journey to New York
Delaware River
City of New York
Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies
Public Garden
Morris Canal
Chapter XXXI.219
Reception of Captain Basil Hall's Book in the United States
Chapter XXXII.227
Journey to Niagara
West Point
Hyde Park
Trenton Falls
Genesee Falls
Chapter XXXIII.236
Arrival at Forsythes
First sight of the Falls
Goat Island
The Rapids
Lake Erie
Stage-coach Adventures
Chapter XXXIV.249
Return to New York
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Customer Reviews

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( 3 )
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  • Posted June 8, 2010

    A 19th Century Woman's On the Road

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 14, 2013

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    Posted September 6, 2011

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