By B. Miller
In an leading edge examining of fin-de-si?cle cultural texts, Brook Miller argues that British representations of the United States, americans, and Anglo-American kin on the flip of the 20 th century supplied a big discussion board for cultural distinction. examining America, Miller finds, provided an oblique kind of self-scrutiny for British writers and readers, who remained thoroughly insulated via the prevalence that critiquing American distinction invoked.
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Extra info for America and the British Imaginary in Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century Literature
His obverse was the genuine bourgeois who, unlike his predecessors in the Anti-Corn Law days, imagined himself, and indeed became, the ‘gentleman’ of the Forsyte saga type” (Industry and Empire 142). These developments were coupled with an increasing prominence of royal ceremony in British national life. The British monarchy had been private and insular in the first half of Victoria’s reign (up to about 1870), but increasingly made its presence felt in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. After 1870, the monarch came to represent not only the head of the social order but also the head of the nation as well.
He proceeds to declare Americans “by nature brave, cordial, hospitable, and affectionate,” and praises the combination of this predisposition with “cultivation and refinement in educated Americans” (266). . to the whole people” but are deficient among the masses as a result of several “blemish[es] in the popular mind,” including “Universal Distrust” and the love of “smart dealing” (266, 267). com - licensed to Universitetsbiblioteket i Tromsoe - PalgraveConnect - 2011-03-05 The Travel Book America and the British Imaginary Real and Ideal, or Material and Spiritual.
This difference in national vanity is a reflection of England’s aristocracy and American democracy as well as of the difference in relative international prestige and power. For de Tocqueville, the stability of English taste comes from the imitative tendencies of the lower classes. Stable social classes lead to stable regimes of taste that throw “a pleasing illusory charm over human nature,” which, though misleading, nevertheless provides “a noble satisfaction” (de Tocqueville 252). By contrast, American homogeneity results from taking “not any particular man, but Man himself as the object of their researches and imitations” (de Tocqueville 255).
America and the British Imaginary in Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century Literature by B. Miller