From 1837 to 1912, Charles Dickens was by far the most popular writer for American readers. Through several sources including statistics, literary biography, newspapers, memoirs, diaries, letters, and interviews, Robert McParland examines a historical time and an emerging national consciousness that defined the American identity before and after the Civil War. American voices present their views, tastes, emotional reactions and identifications, and deep attachment and love for Dickens's characters, stories, themes, and sensibilities as well as for the man himself. Bringing together contemporary reactions to Dickens and his works, this book paints a portrait of the American people and of American society and culture from 1837 to the turn of the twentieth century. It is in this view of nineteenth-century America—its people and their values, their reading habits and cultural views, the scenarios of their everyday lives even in the face of the drastic changes of the emerging nation—that Charles Dickens's American Audience makes its greatest impact.