First published in 1988, this book looks at the enormous impact Dickens’ writings had on American novelists in the second half of the nineteenth century. Dickens dominated not only popular taste but the American novel for sixty years and the author argues that even the most original writers showed themselves again and again to be in ‘conscious sympathy’ with Dickens. Along with Dickens, this book examines four radically different American writers — Mark Twain, William Dean Howells, Henry James and Frank Norris — whose debt to Dickens, the author asserts, is nevertheless clearly evident in their work. This book will be of interest to students of literature.