"American Notes for General Circulation was published shortly after Dickens’s return from his six-month trip to North America. While his intention to publish a travel narrative was not publicly disclosed before or during his trip, it was widely assumed that he would write a travel book. After all, many European visitors, especially authors, had written such books. In 1842 Dickens was arguably the most famous novelist in the world, so, naturally, English and American readers eagerly anticipated a book based on his visit. However, Dickens’s unexpected critique of the young republic in this travel narrative shocked his devoted readership. The fact that he would risk offending his audience by publishing the book ought to pique modern readers’ interest. What did he say that so upset the public? What motivated his choice of content and approach? And what does this neglected text reveal to modern readers about life and literature in the Anglo-American world of the nineteenth century?"
– From the Introduction by Diana C. Archibald, author of Dickens and Massachusetts: The Lasting Legacy of the Commonwealth Visits.
This annotated and illustrated edition addresses the modern reader. Dickens fans and students will find a balanced approach that contextualizes the writer’s travel impressions, as well as a chronology of Dickens’s itinerary, chapter by chapter.
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