With cheaper publishing costs and the explosion of periodical publishing, the influence of New World travel narratives was greater during the nineteenth century than ever before, as they offered an understanding not only of America through British eyes, but also a lens though which nineteenth-century Britain could view itself. Despite the differences in purpose and method, the writers and artists discussed in Nineteenth-Century British Travelers in the New World-from Fanny Wright arriving in America in 1818 to the return of Henry James in 1904, and including Charles Dickens, Frances Trollope, Isabella Bird, Fanny Kemble, Harriet Martineau, and Robert Louis Stevenson among others, as well as artists such as Eyre Crowe-all contributed to the continued building of America as a construct for audiences at home. These travelers' stories and images thus presented an idea of America over which Britons could crow about their own supposed sophistication, and a democratic model through which to posit their own future, all of which suggests the importance of transatlantic travel writing and the ’idea of America’ to nineteenth-century Britain.
Christine DeVine is Mary E. Dichmann/BORSF Endowed Professor of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA.
'This book is a key contribution to the larger dialogue about literature and nationalism. While the collection works to expand the context for understanding better known figures such as Martineau, Trollope, and Dickens, it also usefully illuminates the work of lesser-known travel writers such as Basil Hall and Isabella Bird. In exploring the further reaches of nineteenth-century British travel writing, the volume invites us to read it as a history of nineteenth-century cultural nationalism.' NBOL-19 'Victorianists, Atlanticists, Americanists, and general readers will find much to appreciate here both in the strategies employed by the contributors and editor, and in the archival research and fine detail.' Wordsworth Circle 'Christine DeVine's collection is a welcome addition to the well- established but stillgrowing fields of transatlantic studies and the study of travel writing ...' Victorian Studies