Elisa Tamarkin charts the Anglophilia that emerged after the American Revolution and remains in the character of U.S. society and class, the style of academic life, and the idea of American intellectualism. But, as she shows, this Anglophilia was more than just an elite nostalgia; it was a popular devotion that made reverence for British tradition instrumental to the psychological innovations of democracy. Anglophilia spoke to fantasies of cultural belonging, polite sociability, and, finally, deference itself as an affective practice within egalitarian politics. Here, Tamarkin traces the wideranging effects of Anglophilia on American literature, art, and intellectual life in the early nineteenth century, as well as its influence in arguments against slavery, in the politics of the Union, and in the dialectics of liberty and loyalty before the Civil War. By working beyond narratives of British influence, Tamarkin highlights a more intricate culture of American response, one that included Whig elites, college students, radical democrats, urban immigrants, and even African Americans.
Ultimately, Anglophilia argues that the love of Britain was not simply a fetish or form of shame - a release from the burdens of American culture - but an anachronistic structure of attachment in which U.S. identity was lived in other languages of national expression.