American Notes: For General Circulation by Charles Dickens, Patricia Ingham

By Charles Dickens, Patricia Ingham

Penguin Classics e-books provide the very best variants of Charles Dickens's works, together with invaluable and informative introductions, the definitive, exact textual content because it was once intended to be released, a chronology of Dickens's existence and notes that fill within the heritage to the book.

When Charles Dickens set out for the United States in 1842 he used to be the main recognized guy of his day to commute there - taken with the progressive new civilization that had captured the English mind's eye. His frank and sometimes funny descriptions disguise every little thing from his comically wretched sea voyage to his sheer astonishment on the beauty of the Niagara Falls, whereas he additionally visited hospitals, prisons and legislation courts and located them exemplary. yet Dickens's opinion of the United States as a land governed via cash, in part equipped on slavery, with a corrupt press and unsavoury manners, provoked a adversarial response on each side of the Atlantic. American Notes is an illuminating account of a very good writer's revelatory come upon with the hot World.

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Every man was expected to climb to the head of the mainmast and spend two hours in search of whales. Some of the men were so weak from vomiting that they doubted they had the strength to hold on to a pitching spar for two hours. ” The fact that this unnamed sailor specifically mentioned the captain instead of the first mate suggests that he was Pollard’s cousin, seventeen-year-old Owen Coffin. Miserable and genuinely fearful for his life, Coffin may have made a desperate, ill-advised appeal to his kinsman for a reprieve from the first mate’s discipline.

The rain poured down and the lightning flashed, and time slowed to a crawl as the men clung to the weather rail. But before the axes came into play, the ship twitched back to life. The men could feel it in their hands and feet and in the pits of their stomachs—an easing of the awful strain. They waited for another gust to slam the ship back down again. But no—the ballast continued to exert its gravitational pull, lifting the three masts until the yards came clear of the water. As the masts swung into the sky, seawater rushed across the deck and out the scuppers.

Nantucketers took a dim view of off-islanders. They called them “strangers” or, even worse, “coofs,” a term of disparagement originally reserved for Cape Codders but Nantucket 11 broadened to include all of those unlucky enough to have been born on the mainland. It might have earned Thomas Nickerson some regard on the island if his mother had at least come from old Nantucket stock, with a last name like Coffin, Starbuck, Macy, Folger, or Gardner. Such was not the case. On an island where many families could claim direct descent from one of the twenty or so “first settlers,” the Gibsons and Nickersons were without the network of cousins that sustained most Nantucketers.

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