By B. Miller
In an cutting edge examining of fin-de-si?cle cultural texts, Brook Miller argues that British representations of the USA, american citizens, and Anglo-American family members on the flip of the 20th century supplied a major discussion board for cultural distinction. examining America, Miller finds, provided an oblique type of self-scrutiny for British writers and readers, who remained thoroughly insulated through the prevalence that critiquing American distinction invoked.
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Extra info for America and the British Imaginary in Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century Literature
The resulting analysis is therefore rather solipsistic—with Wilde, what the British text reveals is Britain itself. A variety of critics have expressed this in similar terms. William Sharpe describes Charles Dickens’s American Notes thus: “America . . becomes important not so much as a literal place but as a moral foil to Europe, a kind of ethical scheme that suggests the best and worst of what civilized society has been and might become” (Sharpe 48). . an incarnation of your most recondite and specialized fantasies, in discovering America you are discovering yourself.
As I am using the term, positionality designates an effect du text rather than a presupposition. What do we take away from literature? I am reminded of the famous remark that understanding is what remains once we’ve forgotten what we’ve learned. com - licensed to Universitetsbiblioteket i Tromsoe - PalgraveConnect - 2011-03-05 Introduction 20 America and the British Imaginary Wilde’s Amer ican Per for mance Oscar Wilde provides a strong example of how the positionality associated with the cultural turn enfolds pedagogical messages in performativity and confrontation of the American other.
America and the British Imaginary self better adjusted to the individual you have become since outgrowing the impositions of birth. The Victorians felt threatened by America for this very reason: it was a society in which people conferred values on themselves, not the kind of society represented by Victorian novels, in which the attribution of character is society’s enfranchisement of creatures who have no reality outside it” (5). Both Sharpe’s and Conrad’s statements reflect valid insights into travel discourse, even if they are based on a rather problematic typing of the Victorians.