Frances Trollope's America: Four Novels

Frances Trollope's America: Four Novels

Frances Trollope's America: Four Novels

Frances Trollope's America: Four Novels

Excerpt

Frances Trollope, generally known to contemporary readers as "Anthony's mother," was one of the most widely read novelists and travel writers of her generation. In 1839, only seven years after the publication of her first book, Domestic Manners of the Americans, the critic Laman Blanchard testified to the unique appeal of her works, saying that "no other author of the present day has been at once so much read, so much admired, and so much abused." Although today's readers may wonder at his hyperbole, Mrs. Trollope's works are still valuable as a cultural record of contemporary issues, both political and aesthetic; as another installment in the ongoing "discovery" of forgotten novelists; and, in their own right, as productions of a witty and determined woman who reveals her impatience with human foibles and injustices. Her novels were often regarded as sensationalist, and, while the controversies surrounding their alleged vulgarities now seem outdated, their spiciness compares favorably with the more sedate works of her contemporaries. Moreover, her bold opinions and unconventional deportment show a way of life seldom associated with early nineteenth-century women.

From 1827 (her departure for America) to 1848 (when she finally settled on Italy for her home), Mrs. Trollope spent much of her time travelling. In addition to America and Italy, she visited Belgium, Germany, France, and Austria, and she . . .

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