Abstract

Charles Dickens visited the United States in 1842, including a significant amount of time in Pennsylvania. Dickens's travels resulted in a tour book, American Notes for General Circulation; a novel containing a harshly critical American segment, Martin Chuzzlewit; a vast quantity of letters that were later published; and American-inspired passages in other novels, such as the prison inmate descriptions in A Tale of Two Cities. Dickens shocked and angered American readers when the beloved author found much to criticize. In the Keystone State, for example, he noted that the transportation system was primitive, the people's manners and habits abhorrent, and the prison system appalling. Dickens discovered there was no sympathy for authors whose works were being routinely pirated by publishers in an era of virtually no copyright protection. Dickens hoped that his six-month tour of the States could, at the very least, open American eyes to the need for institutional reforms and a copyright law.

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