The transatlantic Thames: Anglo-American tensions on the Victorian “stream of pleasure”

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While it is widely understood that rivers took on new symbolic power as avatars of nationalism in the late nineteenth century, less examined is their use as a space for Transatlantic cultural flow, and transnational commentary and critique. This article explores the ways in which a variety of Americans abroad in this period centred the Thames – newly charged with nationalist sentiment – in their accounts of Britain. In particular, it analyses Elizabeth Robins and Joseph Pennell’s travel narrative The Stream of Pleasure, first published as the lead article in the ‘Midsummer Holiday Issue’ of The Century Magazine in 1889, as an exemplary text in which both artist and writer play with the image of the river in ways that chime with much wider Transatlantic debates at this moment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-58
Number of pages21
JournalComparative American Studies
Issue number1
Early online date21 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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