Titel: Bill Bryson´s View of Great Britain and the USA in "Notes from a Small Island" and "Notes from a Big Country"
Autoren/Herausgeber: Oliver Baum, M.A.
Ausgabe: 1., Auflage
Format: 21 x 14,8 cm
Seminar paper from the year 2007 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 3,0, University of Marburg (Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik), course: Transatlantic Stereotyping - Views From / About Both Sides of the Ocean, 46 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Criticism of Bryson’s novels is not advanced but his narratives can be investigated in terms of genre, intertextuality, language, and nationality. This paper expands on the topic of Bryson’s view both of Great Britain and the United States of America by means of national stereotyping as it emerges from his novels Notes from a Small Island (1995) and Notes from a Big Country (1998). I maintain that Bryson depicts Britain and America in an authentic and educative as well as hilarious and exaggerated manner to emphasize differences between the nations in question. I will prove my thesis that Bryson both criticises and praises British and American values which affect the national character. Bryson conveys his national views both from the perspective of an insider and outsider.
William “Bill” McGuire Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. In 1973, he travelled to England where he became acquainted with his wife, Cynthia Billen, with whom he has four children. Bryson lived in Yorkshire, returned to America to graduate in 1995, and resided with his family in Norfolk, in 2003. While in America Bryson is well-known for elaborating on the English language, he accomplished bestseller standing with travelogues in Great Britain. Although he claims not to be a travel writer because he “stumbled into this genre”, Bryson composes “books on travel and the English language” in which his
“wanderlust and eccentricity” promise a unique reading adventure (Oder 191).
Travel writing is a neglected but miscellaneous genre of ancient times which flourished in the sixteenth century and encompasses narratives of expansionism, such as
encyclopaedic accounts of foreign nations, and became the principal negotiator of propagating stereotypes in colonial novels. While Bryson’s journey novel Notes from a Small Island
depicts the Great Britain he adores, he grudgingly wrote columns about America which resulted in his journalistic novel Notes from a Big Country.