chapter  4
16 Pages

National Adolescence and Imaginative Freedom: The Traveling Desires of Martineau and Bird

ByKendall A. McClellan

For the nineteenth-century British traveler in the antebellum American South, the convention which would come to dominate writing on landscape and which overlay ideas of the picturesque was a simple binary of good and evil as manifest in landscapes which were pleasing contrasted with those which were repulsive. A term now commonly used in reference to Niagara Falls, the phrase comes from the title of Elizabeth McKinsey's seminal work on the importance of Niagara Falls in North American cultural history. On an 1827 journey to America undertaken in the hopes of improving her family's financial situation, Fanny Trollope first views the United States through a landscape so Southern as to be iconic for the region. The gloom of the Dismal Swamp also serves as Fanny Kemble's first experience of Southern landscape. The language and priorities of the Romantic landscape aesthetics firmly established in the British consciousness at the time of these travels provides clear direction for these writers.