Download American Notes: For General Circulation by Charles Dickens, Patricia Ingham PDF

By Charles Dickens, Patricia Ingham

Penguin Classics e-books provide the absolute best variations of Charles Dickens's works, together with worthwhile and informative introductions, the definitive, exact textual content because it was once intended to be released, a chronology of Dickens's lifestyles and notes that fill within the heritage to the book.

When Charles Dickens set out for the USA in 1842 he was once the main recognized guy of his day to trip there - serious about the progressive new civilization that had captured the English mind's eye. His frank and infrequently funny descriptions conceal every little thing from his comically wretched sea voyage to his sheer astonishment on the beauty of the Niagara Falls, whereas he additionally visited hospitals, prisons and legislations courts and located them exemplary. yet Dickens's opinion of the USA as a land governed via funds, in part equipped on slavery, with a corrupt press and unsavoury manners, provoked a antagonistic response on either side of the Atlantic. American Notes is an illuminating account of an exceptional writer's revelatory stumble upon with the hot World.

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Additional info for American Notes: For General Circulation

Sample text

The nation’s young cities were stumbling forward in a brash experiment. Some of them sprang up seemingly overnight and were brimming more with Jefferson’s pestilence than with urbanity and grandeur. The railroads made these cities possible. Yet railroads took up a lot of prime real estate, and they were pretty messy as well. The nineteenthcentury American city was, above all, an expression of industrialization. It was only in the latter half of the century that planners and politicians and architects finally came together to come up with some better packaging for this mode of living.

In one block on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, 2,800 people were crammed into six-story buildings, with only two hundred toilets and no ventilation for most of the rooms. The response to these conditions became the foundation for American liberalism. Jane Addams, the daughter of a wealthy businessman, agitated for safe working conditions, peace in the face of World War I, and better race relations (she helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). She also started the tradition of settlement houses, which provided community and social services to the poor.

The image of the city, tainted by the experience of industrialization, would never recover. My own family followed the script, moving in 1957 from the Manhattan’s dense and urbane Stuyvesant Town to Dobbs Ferry, New York, on the banks of the Hudson River, and then to Wilton, Connecticut. My mother smoked and played bridge and walked the babies in carriages. My father took the train into the city. Even that aspect of suburban life would diminish in the years ahead, as major companies quit downtowns for suburban office parks, relocating to the hermetically sealed buildings made possible by modern air conditioning.

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