Lays out the argument for the book and its central claim that the dynamic between Dickens and Martineau, which has been long read in the personalized terms of a quarrel that ended their professional connection, is more fully understood as the expression of incompatible visions of liberalism, the role of women in social progress, and the nature of democratic society. An essential element of their difference lay in their different experiences of and responses to the social experiment developing in the United States, and the book reconceptualizes their respective encounters with and writing about America.
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