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By Jesper Gulddal (auth.)

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The attitude toward the United States in this collection was anything but favorable, and in three lengthy “epistles” in particular Moore launches a devastating diatribe against the young republic and its people. As is often the case with anti-American literature, Moore’s epistles can best be described as catalogues of stereotypical observations; in fact, they include all the main motifs of Romantic anti-Americanism, hence also the 24 / anti-americanism in european literature idea of the United States as a country without history and culture.

48 In this remarkable passage, a high point of satirical aggression, Dickens not only combines two revolting habits in one American character, but also links this double vulgarity to the political egalitarianism of the United States—this ill-mannered American is precisely a “good citizen” bent on asserting his “equality” with his fellow travelers. In this way Dickens connects his cultural anti-Americanism to a similarly virulent political anti-Americanism that attacks democracy and its underlying values.

Our modern sympathies are [ . . ] the direct opposite of America, and we find that a society without history is empty and shallow. [ . . 16 However, the idea of America as a historical and cultural vacuum was not reserved for French counterrevolutionaries or German historicists. In Irish poet Thomas Moore we encounter it in its purest form, as an elegy on the absence of art and poetry in the United States. Revered in old age as Ireland’s national poet, the young Moore was an intimate of English Romantics Shelley and Byron, and he would eventually gain Herostratic fame for his role in the posthumous burning of Byron’s memoirs.

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