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Old 12-09-2007, 10:36 AM   #1
HarryT
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Post Dickens, Charles: American Notes. v4. 17th Feb 2010

"American Notes" is Dickens' account of his travels through America in 1842. This book was much vilified in the USA after its publication, on account of Dickens' fervent condemnation of the institution of slavery which was, of course, still practised in the US at that time. This is only a short book, but gives a fascinating snapshot of a world that's now disappeared - for example, his account of Broadway, in New York, swarming with pigs, eating all the garbage, and journeys by steamboat. There are some extremely funny passages in the book, such the following description of Dickens' first experience of travel on an American train:

Quote:
It was a fine evening when we were passengers in the train: and watching the bright sunset from a little window near the door by which we sat, my attention was attracted to a remarkable appearance issuing from the windows of the gentleman's car immediately in front of us, which I supposed for some time was occasioned by a number of industrious persons inside, ripping open feather-beds, and giving the feathers to the wind. At length it occurred to me that they were only spitting, which was indeed the case; though how any number of passengers which it was possible for that car to contain, could have maintained such a playful and incessant shower of expectoration, I am still at a loss to understand: notwithstanding the experience in all salivatory phenomena which I afterwards acquired.
Well worth reading.

Enjoy!

EDIT: 9th Dec 2007.

Reformatted and improved layout. Uploaded v2.

EDIT: 15 Mar 08

Significantly improved the book, preserving the original paragraph breaks and adding the two original illustrations. Uploaded v3.

EDIT: 17 Feb 10

Thoroughly proof-read the book against the "Oxford Illustrated Dickens". Added a missing illustration; fixed numerous minor errors, and made a number of small formatting changes. Uploaded v4.


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Last edited by HarryT; 02-17-2010 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 12-09-2007, 10:52 AM   #2
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Did he not also annoy the Americans by bemoaning their lack of respect for the copyrights of British authors?

http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/...pva/pva75.html
"He bewailed, ironically, "the exquisite justice of never deriving sixpence from an enormous American sale of all my books." Having already spoken up for increased copyright protection in Britain and for a British-American agreement, he had it in mind to advance a just cause from which he and others would benefit. Ignorant of the complications of copyright politics and of the recent severe depression, he crossed the Atlantic with the naïve expectation that in this republic of his imagination elemental notions of fairness would triumph over politics and power relationships, as if America were some elegant utopia. . "
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:08 AM   #3
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I don't think it's so much that he annoyed the Americans, but rather he was infuriated by the fact the American law gave no protection to the works of British authors at the time, and American publishers made large sums of money from reprinting his enormously popular books, for which he received not a penny. One can understand his viewpoint .
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:13 AM   #4
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Ooops, I neglected to express my gratitude to you for preparing
the text for our enjoyment.

Inexcusable of me to post a reply, and not take the opportunity to say !
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:19 AM   #5
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Not at all. Enjoy! This is a part of my "Complete Works of Dickens" which I'm (rather slowly) doing. Dickens is my favourite author.
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Old 03-15-2008, 06:48 AM   #6
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Significantly improved the book, preserving the original paragraph breaks and adding the two original illustrations. Uploaded v3.
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:06 PM   #7
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Thoroughly proof-read the book against the "Oxford Illustrated Dickens". Added a missing illustration; fixed numerous minor errors, and made a number of small formatting changes. Uploaded v4.
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