Domestic Manners Of By Fanny

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    About the Book
    Domestic Manners of the Americans [1832]

    Frances Trollope has been a figure of fun and notoriety in America for over one hundred and sixty years. Ever since the publication of her Domestic Manners of the Americans in 1832, Americans have caricatured Frances Trollope as a snobbish English woman who visited briefly, misjudged a bustling frontier culture, and wrongly took the United States to task in order to make her fortune. In so doing, we have distorted Frances Trollope's image and ignored her many publications (totalling 114 volumes in all) in ways that we have not done math her even more critical but more respected male compatriots, Anthony Trollope (author of North America and her youngest son) and Charles Dickens (author of American Notes and her fellow writer).

    As Mark Twain was to say in Life on the Mississippi, "poor candid Mrs. Trollope was so handsomely cursed and reviled by this nation. Yet she was merely telling the truth, and this indignant nation knew it" (391). Twain pointed out that what Mrs. Trollope attacked - "slavery, rowdyism,|chivalrous' assassinations, sham godliness, and several other devilishnesses" - richly deserved condemnation. He believed her protests to be the result of "a humane spirit [struggling] against inhumanities; of an honest nature against humbug; of a clean breeding against grossness; of a right heart against unright speech and deed" (392). For her efforts to tell the truth "fairly and squarely," Twain felt that Frances Trollope "deserved gratitude - but it is an error to suppose she got it" (391-92).

    About the Author
    Fanny Trollope, 1780–1863

    Novelist and miscellaneous writer, born at Stapleton near Bristol, married in 1809 Thomas A.T., a barrister, who fell into financial misfortune. She then in 1827 went with her family to Cincinnati, where the efforts which she made to support herself were unsuccessful. On her return to England, however, she brought herself into notice by publishing Domestic Manners of the Americans [1832], in which she gave a very unfavourable and grossly exaggerated account of the subject; and a novel, The Refugee in America, pursued it on similar lines. Next came The Abbess and Belgium and Western Germany, and other works of the same kind on Paris and the Parisians, and Vienna and the Austrians followed. Thereafter she continued to pour forth novels and books on miscellaneous subjects, writing in all over 100 vols. Though possessed of considerable powers of observation and a sharp and caustic wit, such an output was fatal to permanent literary success, and none of her books are now read. She spent the last 20 years of her life at Florence, where she died in 1863. Her third son was Anthony Trollope, the well-known novelist.