The instant magnetism, for Americans, of British royalty began with Queen Victoria. For the first generations liberated by revolution, however, the British Isles and its sovereigns seemed as remote as the moon. In the young nation, Americans who had been little interested in the sons and daughters of their last king, George III, developed a love-hate relationship with his granddaughter. It lasted for all of her sixty-four years on the throne, ending only with her death in the first weeks of the twentieth century. Victoria's long reign encompassed much of the time in which the young United States was growing up. The responses of Americans toward Victoria not only reveal what they thought of her (and her princely husband) as people and as monarchs, but also reflect their own ambitions, confidence, smugness, insecuritiesand sense of loss.
Parting from England brought a surge of pride, but it also carried with it an unanticipated price. American encounters with Queen Victoria as person and as sym bol evoke the costs of relinquishing a history, a tradition, a ceremonial texture. The brash, bewildered, and beguiled Americans in these pages, from lion tamer Isaac Van Amburgh, Barnum's midget "Tom Thumb," and sharpshooter Annie Oakley, to liter ary lions like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, and Henry James, evince not only another dimension of the remote woman who might have been their queen, but what Americans were like, and what they thought they were like, in her time.
|Publisher:||University of Delaware Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Stanley Weintraub is Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University, adjunct professor at the University of Delaware, and honorary professor at West Chester University. He is the author of fifty-five books including biographies of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Edward VII, and Benjamin Disraeli.