- Project Runeberg -  America of the Fifties: Letters of Fredrika Bremer /
vii

(1924) [MARC] Author: Fredrika Bremer
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INTRODUCTION



ONE day in the early fifties a New York
publisher put on the market a series of letters
bearing the double title, Homes of the New
World; Impressions of America
. It was a voluminous
work of about thirteen hundred octavo pages,
yet one that required five printings within a month.
Most Americans liked the volumes, reviewers
lauded and criticised, and everybody read them.
They were dedicated to “my American friends”;
dated in May, 1853, in Stockholm; and signed,
Fredrika Bremer.

On opening the books one found revealed a curiously
wide range of reading matter. Here was a
conversation with Emerson, there a criticism of a
girls’ school; here was an account of a negro
camp-meeting, and there of a Norwegian settlement
in Wisconsin. Amos Bronson Alcott was
being advised to drink milk instead of water to
make his Transcendentalism less foggy, or the
author was watching the women smoke on a Mississippi
boat. A description of an Indian chief led
to a comparison of his wigwam with the
Laplander’s hut or of the heathen Chippewas with
the Christianized Choctaws, and one noted the
remark in passing that dyspepsia was the worst
possible evil in any country next to civil war. Here

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