America and the British Imaginary in Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century Literature

Hardcover | November 15, 2010

byBrook Miller

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In an innovative reading of fin-de-siècle cultural texts, Brook Miller argues that British representations of America, Americans, and Anglo-American relations at the turn of the twentieth century provided an important forum for cultural distinction.  Analyzing America, Miller finds, provided an indirect form of self-scrutiny for British writers and readers, who remained safely insulated by the superiority that critiquing American difference invoked.

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In an innovative reading of fin-de-siècle cultural texts, Brook Miller argues that British representations of America, Americans, and Anglo-American relations at the turn of the twentieth century provided an important forum for cultural distinction.  Analyzing America, Miller finds, provided an indirect form of self-scrutiny for Britis...

Brook Miller is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.43 × 5.65 × 0.78 inPublished:November 15, 2010Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230103766

ISBN - 13:9780230103764

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Table of Contents

Introduction * The Travel Book: Performing British Culture in America and on the Page * Commerce, Reunion, and the Anglo-American Public Sphere * The White Atlantic: Anglo-Saxon Racialism at the Turn of the Twentieth Century * Modernity, Fabulation, and America in Dracula * Holroyd’s Man: Tradition, Fetishization, and the United States in Nostromo * Americanization and Henry James * Conclusion

Editorial Reviews

“Miller offers an original and compelling account of Anglo-American cultural relations at the fin-de-siècle. He excels in bringing out the ways in which British commentators and novelists established their national identity against that of their transatlantic counterparts.    With a strong grasp of the political and economic context, Miller’s able close readings of both unusual and familiar texts explore the tensions that animated the edgy rivalry between these two countries, whether in relation to modernity and tradition, egalitarianism and vulgarity, or the growing commercial and imperialistic rivalries that were expressed in both high and popular cultural forms.”--Kate Flint, Professor, Department of English, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey“In America and the British Imaginary in Turn-of-the-Century Literature, Brook Miller illustrates the extent to which the crisis in British intellectual and political discourse at the end of the Victorian era was shaped by the emergence of the United States as an economic, military and (to a lesser extent) cultural superpower at the very moment when certainties about Britain’s global pre-eminence were starting to be questioned. Drawing upon a complex matrix of Anglo-American relationships, Miller reads travel writing, political philosophy, economic tracts, fiction and many other genres in a sophisticated and stunningly original demonstration of the extent to which anxieties about cultural decline were often masked by nostalgia for historical or imagined ties between transatlantic cousins, or resisted in attempts to reinvigorate British society. Miller’s argument is sustained throughout by rigorous engagement with the best post-colonial theory and recent transatlantic scholarship, but the greatest strength of this book is its clear and often provocative narrative structure. This volume is destined to become an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the specifics of Great Britain at the end of the nineteenth century, but it also provides a wider model of how to assess the processes of textual building and rebuilding at the core of imagining nationhood at a time when the very concept of the nation is increasingly called into question.”--Christopher Gair, University of Glasgow and editor of Symbiosis: A Journal of Transatlantic Literary Relations“Miller makes an especially donative intervention into the burgeoning field of transatlantic studies where culture, richly conceived, is registered as an issue of pedagogy and performance. He mounts a powerful challenge to the binaries of 'high' and 'mass' art, to existing notions of national affiliation and difference within what is acknowledged as one of those transitional decades where cultural energies are most vibrant. Sprightly traversing travel narratives, journalism and novels 9both canonical and non-canonical0, Miller negotiates matters of race and transformations in the economy to present a substantial diet of well-nuanced transnational understandings. Both fresh and accessible, with lively writing and well-judged research, we have here one of the most expressive contributions to a debate of increasing importance.”--Ian F.A. Bell, Professor of American Literature, University of Keele“Miller’s study of fin-de-siècle British encounters with America’s globalizing economic and cultural presence casts a revealing new light on this era. Literary and cultural scholars will benefit from Miller’s careful research into British representations of American modernity, materialism, taste, and the ascent of the dollar . . . What emerges is a provocative account of the ways in which global forces compel cultural adaptation not only at the peripheries but also at the heart of empire.”--Edward S. Cutler, Chair, English Department, Brigham Young University and author of Recovering the New: Transatlantic Roots of Modernism