“The republic he had admired was a sham: its politics violent, its people tasteless, his readers cheap.”
I can’t have been the only one expecting this. Almost every time I read about a famous non-American person coming to visit, there is a point at which they go “oh hey, this place sucks!” Dickens was made into a villain by the people who once loved him, simply because he wanted the money he was owed by the publication companies. Instead, they make him out to be some money hungry jerk. The people involved instantly sided with their “fellow Americans”, aka the publishers, simply because Dickens was an outsider. All of the letters proclaiming him an honorary American, a democratic writer, etc meant nothing.
Yet now we love him again. What happened? When did we realize we had screwed up? I assume it was after his death, when it was too late to make amends. Charles Dickens, while not my favorite author, was an important one.