Domestic Manners of the Americans

Frances Milton TROLLOPE (1779 - 1863)

Next to de Alexis de Tocquville's almost contemporary Democracy in America, Frances Trollope's work may be the most famous (or at least notorious) dissection of manners and morals of the United States. The work was a sensation on both sides of the Atlantic, and particularly in America, where Trollope was reviled as representing the worst of old world prejudices the new republic (though the criticism did nothing to hurt sales). Accompanied by a son and two daughters, Trollope lived in the United States from 1827 to 1831, spending most of her time in Cincinnati, where she had hoped, when joined by her husband, to open a large department store, which was also to be a place of entertainment and culture. She was, unfortunately, almost entirely ignorant of business practices, and habitually short of money, which her husband was in no position to make up. After leaving Cincinnati she traveled briefly in the eastern states, before returning to England. There is something of a happy ending; Domestic Manners was her first book, and such a success that she turned to writing, producing in her lifetime over a hundred books, which, though they never made her very rich, were more than sufficient to keep the wolf from the door. She passed on her highly disciplined writing habits to her son Anthony (who had not accompanied her to the new world), who produced forty-seven novels as well as several other works. His views of the United States, thanks in part to its attractive young women, were, of course, more benign; indeed in The Duke's Children, the lovely New Yorker Isabel Boncassen is to become the Duchess of Omnium.
It's worth remembering that Frances Trollope's introduction to America was made through what was still something of frontier territory in Ohio, and few historians would argue that refinement and high culture were outstanding features of the Jacksonian era, which she saw first hand. Though some at the time feared that Domestic Manners would lead to a new Anglo-American war, fortunately the critical disputes took place on paper. Eventually passions cooled, and some Americans even came to admit that some of her judgements were just. Mark Twain, for instance, while chiding Trollope for falling for American tall tales (see the story of the crocodile's -- or alligator's -- destruction of a family in Chapter III), also remarked that the reason Domestic Manners was so hated by patriotic Americans was because it was so true.
In any case, it is offered by the reader as a contribution to the American political campaign of 2012.
Introduction by Nicholas Clifford)

Genre(s): General Fiction, *Non-fiction, Travel & Geography

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 01 - Chapter 1 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 02 02 - Chapter 2 Nicholas Clifford
00:17:28
Play 03 03 - Chapter 3 Nicholas Clifford
00:26:47
Play 04 04 - Chapter 4 Nicholas Clifford
00:19:40
Play 05 05 - Chapter 5 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 06 06 - Chapter 6 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 07 07 - Chapter 7 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 08 08 - Chapter 8 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 09 09 - Chapter 09 Nicholas Clifford
00:21:27
Play 10 10 - Chapter 10 Nicholas Clifford
00:19:56
Play 11 11 - Chapter 11 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 12 12 - Chapter 12 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 13 13 - Chapter 13 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 14 14 - Chapter 14 Nicholas Clifford
00:34:11
Play 15 15 - Chapter 15 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 16 16 - Chapter 16 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 17 17 - Chapter 17 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 18 18 - Chapter 18 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 19 19 - Chapter 19 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 20 20 - Chapter 20 Nicholas Clifford
00:37:26
Play 21 21 - Chapter 21 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 22 22 - Chapter 22 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 23 23 - Chapter 23 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 24 24 - Chapter 24 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 25 25 - Chapter 25 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 26 26 - Chapter 26 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 27 27 - Chapter 27 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 28 28 - Chapter 28 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 29 29 - Chapter 29 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 30 30 - Chapter 30 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 31 31 - Chapter 31 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 32 32 - Chapter 32 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 33 33 - Chapter 33 Nicholas Clifford
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Play 34 34 - Chapter 34 Nicholas Clifford
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