chapter  2
20 Pages

Utopian Ideals in Transatlantic Context: Frances Wright’s American Vision

ByCaroline M. Kisiel

Fanny Trollope's wildly popular book Domestic Manners of the Americans recounts her four-year stay in and travels through the United States beginning in 1828. Susan Imbarrato points out, with regard to early American women travel writers that women offered a different perspective from that of male travelers, who usually wrote with a political bent: "In their role as cultural purveyors and shapers, women assessed and evaluated while modeling appropriate behaviors. In decidedly masculine fashion, Trollope colonizes and appropriates the Native Americans represented in the exhibition, undermining her own professed sympathy for those badly used inhabitants of the New World. In the early nineteenth-century push to create an American national literature and art, the Indian was held up as the perfect North American romantic figure. The portraits literally are representation of Native Americans by the European settlers, but they are also metaphor for the way in which they were being enclosed and their lives becoming an exhibition within reservations.