Download e-book for kindle: America and the British Imaginary in by B. Miller

By B. Miller

ISBN-10: 0230103766

ISBN-13: 9780230103764

In an cutting edge studying of fin-de-si?cle cultural texts, Brook Miller argues that British representations of the USA, american citizens, and Anglo-American kin on the flip of the 20th century supplied a big discussion board for cultural distinction.  studying America, Miller finds, provided an oblique kind of self-scrutiny for British writers and readers, who remained properly insulated via the prevalence that critiquing American distinction invoked.

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Example text

Escaped from the Great Depression (1873–96)—the first international challenge—not by modernizing her economy, but by exploiting the remaining possibilities of her traditional situation” (Industry and Empire 125). These economic changes prompted the emergence of new figures within Britain who posed an implicit challenge to the traditional stoic, liberal figure of John Bull. Foreign elements, particularly from Britain’s imperial friends and competitors, appeared upon the London scene. Hobsbawm appraises the situation: “The somnolence of the economy was already obvious in British society in the last decades before 1914.

John Burns reiterated the theme: the promise of America was ‘circumscribed and impeded by the undue exaltation of the Unit over the Aggregate, of the Individual as against the Community, of the Monopoly as against the State’” (43). The contrast between these perspectives and the emphasis upon America’s republican institutions, noted in Dickens’s American Notes, partly reflects the conceptualizing of the state in Arnoldian terms at the end of the nineteenth century. As we will see, later British writers did examine Americans’ pride in their republican institutions as well as its values.

Than in the present day” and that at the time of his speech “the true enemy of liberty and democracy was not [perceived to be] monarchy, but money, and the power that money exerted” (“Mr. Bryce on Changes in National Ideals” 13). As a result, the emphasis upon republican decentralization had fallen away in favor of concern with the corruption of politics by commerce and the appearance of new forms of capital (see Chapters 5 and 6 in particular for my analysis of this). Bryce notes, with some trepidation, that the doctrines of laissez-faire and noninterference have largely been abandoned, and with these doctrines, the British belief in national sovereignty as a fundamental aspect of a productive, happy international world order also disappeared.

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America and the British Imaginary in Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century Literature by B. Miller


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