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New Book: Ed. Christine Devine, NINETEENTH-CENTURY BRITISH TRAVELERS IN THE NEW WORLD

devine.coverFrom Review 19

“In recent years transatlantic literary studies has expanded the scope and variety of its inquiries to emphasize the multiethnic and polyglot nature of the Atlantic sphere in every phase of its cultural history. But this book demonstrates the ongoing need for examining Anglo-American relations as a mutually constituting sphere of influence and exchange. Beginning with Christine DeVine’s able introduction and continuing through each of the contributed chapters, this collection illustrates what Thomas Peyser has described –in Utopia and Cosmopolis (1998)–as the tandem relationship between the local and the global during a period when nationalist sentiment was fomented by an increasing sense of globalism. As DeVine puts it, the travel narratives considered in this volume show how “Britain viewed itself as part of the transatlantic world during a crucial time in the development of Anglo-American relations” (3). In other words, in its account of the New World, nineteenth-century British travel writing also expresses a perspective of home. Of course, this is a truism on its face; but the volume ploughs fertile ground in describing the rich and varied ways that travel writing reflected British interests while exploring new physical and cultural terrain. As part of a process of national self-definition, the enterprise of nineteenth-century travel literature embodies to a unique degree what Paul Giles has termed “the politics of traversal” (The Atlantic Republic, 2006)”

Read the whole review here