This essay was originally published in Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary Relations, Volume 13.1 (April 2009) 45–60
Edinburgh Review, Images of America, Francis Jeffrey, Sydney Smith, Fenimore Cooper, Notions of the Americans
"… the close and favourable attention given to America in the journal over which Jeffrey exercised such authority comes as no surprise. Under his editorship, the Edinburgh devoted over thirty substantial articles to North American travels, as well as numerous essays on other genres of Americana. (The rival Quarterly Review, which first came out in 1809, took much less interest in American travels, covering only a small number of key publications.) These reviews were not the work of a single specialist contributor: they came from Jeffrey himself, Henry Brougham, and Sydney Smith among the ‘Gang of Four’ who founded the journal,3 as well as from Macvey Napier, who succeeded Jeffrey as editor of the Edinburgh in 1829, William Empson, who succeeded Napier in the role, the geographer Hugh Murray, and one or two others. Despite the considerable differences in style between these very individual writers, there is little deviation from a stance that is mindful of what has already been achieved in North America, aware of its growing importance in the world, and consistently sympathetic…"
About the author
Robin Jarvis, University of the West of England