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About the book
  • Published: 30 November 2000
  • ISBN: 9780140436495
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $23.00

American Notes




American Notes is a fascinating account of nineteenth-century America sketched with Charles Dickens's characteristic wit and charm. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with notes and an introduction by Patricia Ingham.

When Charles Dickens set out for America in 1842 he was the most famous man of his day to travel there - curious about the revolutionary new civilization that had captured the English imagination. His frank and often humorous descriptions cover everything from his comically wretched sea voyage to his sheer astonishment at the magnificence of the Niagara Falls, while he also visited hospitals, prisons and law courts and found them exemplary. But Dickens's opinion of America as a land ruled by money, built on slavery, with a corrupt press and unsavoury manners, provoked a hostile reaction on both sides of the Atlantic. American Notes is an illuminating account of a great writer's revelatory encounter with the New World.

In her introduction, Patricia Ingham examines the response the book received when it was published, and compares it with similar travel writings of the period and with Dickens's fiction, in particular Martin Chuzzlewit. This edition includes an updated chronology, appendices and notes.

Charles Dickens is one of the best-loved novelists in the English language, whose 200th anniversary was celebrated in 2012. His most famous books, including Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield and The Pickwick Papers, have been adapted for stage and screen and read by millions.

If you enjoyed American Notes, you might like Dickens's Pictures from Italy, also available in Penguin Classics.

  • Pub date: 30 November 2000
  • ISBN: 9780140436495
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $23.00

About the Author

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born in Hampshire on February 7, 1812. His father was a clerk in the navy pay office, who was well paid but often ended up in financial troubles. When Dickens was twelve years old he was send to work in a shoe polish factory because his family had be taken to the debtors' prison.Fagin is named after a boy Dickens disliked at the factory. His career as a writer of fiction started in 1833 when his short stories and essays began to appear in periodicals. The Pickwick Papers, his first commercial success, was published in 1836. In the same year he married the daughter of his friend George Hogarth, Catherine Hogarth. The serialisation of Oliver Twist began in 1837 while The Pickwick Papers was still running. Many other novels followed and The Old Curiosity Shop brought Dickens international fame and he became a celebrity America as well as Britain. He separated from his wife in 1858. Charles Dickens died on 9 June 1870, leaving his last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.

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