By B. Miller
In an leading edge interpreting 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 an enormous discussion board for cultural distinction. studying America, Miller finds, provided an oblique type of self-scrutiny for British writers and readers, who remained accurately insulated by way of the prevalence that critiquing American distinction invoked.
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Additional info for America and the British Imaginary in Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century Literature
For Stevenson, America’s rudeness simply differs from European snobbery: The American way of conducting matters of business is, at first, highly unpalatable to the European. When we approach a man in the way of his calling, and for those services by which he earns his bread, we consider him for the time being our hired servant. But in the American opinion, two gentlemen meet and have a friendly talk with a view to exchanging favours if they shall agree to please. I know not which is the more convenient, nor even which is the more truly courteous.
In Steevens’s typically vague formulation, “character” and “race” are not only equivalents, but the American version has “developed” recently, in contrast to English and Italians. That is, while Americans’ character is presented in comparison to British character, it also holds a different—and mutable—temporal status. com - licensed to Universitetsbiblioteket i Tromsoe - PalgraveConnect - 2011-03-05 42 43 fluid: “From whatever cause, the old element, the English element, the natural leaders of the country, are dying out, and the vacancies are fill[ed] by contributions from every nation of the earth.
As a consequence, American tastes tended toward a lack of refinement and distinction. com - licensed to Universitetsbiblioteket i Tromsoe - PalgraveConnect - 2011-03-05 The Travel Book America and the British Imaginary gray manifestations of the nation’s egalitarian ideals. This theme shaped the writing of a large number of travel writers in the late Victorian and Edwardian period who focused upon this homogeneity despite taking a diverse array of positions regarding the United States. Such a response to homogeneity may, in fact, explain similarities between the positionalities of these writers even while they differed.