According to Lepore’s essay, what was Dickens’s response to the United States after his first visit there?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Dickens visited the United States in 1842. Though somewhat eventful, it's fair to say that the trip was not to Dickens's liking. For one thing, the American press tore into him for what they perceived as Dickens's money-grubbing tendencies in his campaign to reform the copyright laws. Though Dickens's books sold widely in the United States, the absence of legally enforceable international copyright law meant that he made very little money, as it was all too easy for pirated versions of his works to be published. Dickens was perfectly justified, then, in his complaints, but many Americans were none too sympathetic over the spectacle of an already rich man demanding more money.

As Dickens's American journey progressed, things got even worse. The Republic of the writer's imagination bore no resemblance to the real-life America of the mid-nineteenth century. Dickens was particularly scathing of the American political system, which he saw as tending toward bitter division and paralysis. He was also less than enamored of the behavior of senators, whose violent denunciations of their opponents—and, in some cases, acts of violence—utterly horrified Dickens. He'd never seen anything like this on the floor of the House of Commons in all his years there as a parliamentary reporter.

All in all, Dickens couldn't wait to leave after his six months in the United States. And although Americans would continue to count themselves among his most avid readers, most of them were only too glad to see him go.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial