American Literature Margaret Fuller
by
David Robinson
  • LAST REVIEWED: 30 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 August 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199827251-0119

Introduction

Margaret Fuller (b. 1810–d. 1850), an early advocate of women’s rights, a key participant in the Transcendentalist movement, and a pioneering woman journalist, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and educated rigorously in languages and the classics by her father Timothy Fuller, an attorney, state senator, and four-term US congressman. A precocious learner, Fuller came later to believe that her father had brought her forward too early, damaging her health in the process. Growing up in Cambridge, she befriended James Freeman Clarke, an aspiring Unitarian minister who joined her in the study of German and shared her deep interest in modern German authors. The unexpected death of her father in 1835 stunned Fuller and left her family in a precarious financial situation, upsetting her plans to launch a literary career with a biography of Goethe. With European travel impossible, she focused instead on translation and connected herself with the Transcendentalist movement, led by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Working with Emerson and other Transcendentalists, Fuller became the editor of the Dial, a fledgling Transcendentalist journal, in 1840. This put her in working contact with aspiring authors and provided a venue for her own work, spurring a remarkable outpouring of essays, reviews, and poems in the early 1840s. Among these were a forceful defense of Goethe, then under attack in the United States on religious grounds, a group of experimental prose narratives connected with female power and spirituality, and a compelling essay on women’s rights, which she expanded into Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845). Fuller published the book just as she had become a columnist for the New-York Tribune, a move that awakened her to urban social problems and the importance of mass education and democratic reform. She traveled to Europe in 1846, visiting Great Britain, France, and eventually Italy, where she married Giovanni Ossoli, a supporter of the 1848 nationalist uprising in Rome. Fuller observed and reported on the revolution and supported it actively. When the new republic was put down by French intervention, Fuller returned to America with her husband and son, planning a history of the revolution. But she died with her family in a shipwreck on her return. Her premature death at age forty was an overwhelming loss to American culture and to the emerging women’s movement, only two years after the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention on Women’s Rights.

General Overviews

Fuller’s varied career as an author, editor, journalist, and women’s rights activist calls for intellectual range among her readers and critics. Chevigny 1994, first published in the mid-1970s, was an instrumental work in Fuller’s recovery as an important American author and cultural figure. It includes an overview of her career, descriptions by her contemporaries, and selections of her works. Allen 1979 makes a case for the variety of Fuller’s accomplishments. Howe 1997 links her with an American tradition of self-development that includes Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, and others. Fuller’s emergence as a major historical figure in the 1970s and 1980s is captured in Fleischmann 2000, an essay collection that centers on Fuller’s importance as an agent of change. Steele 2001 focuses on Fuller’s remarkable self-redefinition in the 1840s that moved her toward feminism and her political advocacy. For detailed and well-considered analyses of all of these aspects of her achievement, see Capper 1992 and Capper 2007 in Biographies.

  • Allen, Margaret Vanderhaar. The Achievement of Margaret Fuller. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1979.

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    A survey of Fuller’s career emphasizing her repeated confrontation with limit and failure and her ability to grow through experience. Considers Fuller the equal of her Transcendentalist contemporaries Emerson and Thoreau and calls for a deeper recognition of her achievement.

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  • Chevigny, Bell Gale. The Woman and the Myth: Margaret Fuller’s Life and Writings. Rev. ed. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1994.

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    Chevigny’s hybrid biography/anthology is one of the most influential works in the recovery of Fuller’s modern reputation. She revealed a thinker whose feminist ideas and struggles for acceptance and self-understanding seemed revelatory to modern scholars of both women’s studies and Transcendentalism. First published in 1976.

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  • Fleischmann, Fritz, ed. Margaret Fuller’s Cultural Critique: Her Age and Legacy. New York: Peter Lang, 2000.

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    Fifteen original essays from different scholars that represent significant themes of Fuller criticism in the 1980s and 1990s, and explore various aspects of Fuller’s work as a cultural critic. The volume includes discussions of her philosophical influences, her literary relationships with important contemporaries, and her literary style and strategies.

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  • Howe, Daniel Walker. “Margaret Fuller’s Heroic Ideal of Womanhood.” In Making the American Self: Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln. By Daniel Walker Howe, 212–234. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997.

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    Influential assessment of Fuller and the American ideology of self-culture, the capability of the individual to progress intellectually and spiritually through concerted effort. Howe’s discussion of Fuller’s conception of the heroic woman is grounded in her feminist adaptation of William Ellery Channing’s doctrine of the cultivation of the soul and the impact of Goethe and the German romantics on her aesthetic and philosophical quest.

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  • Steele, Jeffrey. Transfiguring America: Myth, Ideology, and Mourning in Margaret Fuller’s Writings. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2001.

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    Important analysis of Fuller’s emergence as a feminist thinker. Considers two overlooked textual groups that explain Fuller’s courageous struggle for self-transformation in the 1840s. Three Dial narratives in 1840–1841 set out a mythology of feminine empowerment, and an outburst of poetry in 1844 helped her formulate a conception of reciprocal empathy and mutuality that enabled her social activism.

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Reference Works

Scholarly work on the Transcendentalist movement in the late 20th and early 21st centuries has insured that the work of Fuller and her associates are well documented. Useful annual surveys of the work of Fuller and other Transcendentalists can be found in the article “Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and Transcendentalism” in the journal American Literary Scholarship, published annually since 1963. Hudspeth 1984 is an invaluable assessment of work on Fuller through 1981, when her recovery as a major figure had just begun. Hudspeth, who edited Fuller’s Letters (see Correspondence) provides important information on the editorial state of Fuller’s works. Reynolds 2009 is a more recent survey of Fuller criticism, valuable as a continuation of Hudspeth 1984, and as a prescription for future critical and editorial work. Myerson 1980 is both an excellent history of the Dial, the journal Fuller edited, and a reference work on Transcendentalism as a whole. Joel Myerson’s series of primary and secondary bibliographies on Fuller provides a complete history of the publication of Fuller’s writings and of writings about her. Myerson 1978 lists and describes (with some illustrations) Fuller’s books and includes an inventory of her articles in periodicals. Myerson 1996 updates this bibliography with information through 1995. Myerson 1977 is a listing of the critical and biographical writings about Fuller, covering the period 1834 through 1975. This bibliography was updated twice. In Myerson 1984 both newly discovered and newly published items are listed, taking the compilation to 1982. In Myerson 1998 the bibliography is further expanded and includes work published through 1998. These works are both invaluable reference tools and exemplary works of bibliography.

  • Hudspeth, Robert N. “Margaret Fuller.” In The Transcendentalists: A Review of Research and Criticism. Edited by Joel Myerson, 175–188. New York: Modern Language Association, 1984.

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    Thorough and discerning record of Fuller criticism through 1981, including a valuable discussion of the need for modern editions of her works and a look at the flaws of earlier editions. Also provides an agenda for needed further research.

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  • Myerson, Joel. Margaret Fuller: An Annotated Secondary Bibliography. New York: Burt Franklin, 1977.

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    Comprehensive annotated compilation of critical writings on Fuller from 1834 to 1975, with additional listings of miscellaneous literary writings about or based on Fuller, and descriptions of Fuller manuscript collections at Boston Public Library, Fruitland Museums, and Harvard University Libraries. An indispensable resource for research. See also the two updates: Myerson 1984, and Myerson 1998.

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  • Myerson, Joel. Margaret Fuller: A Descriptive Bibliography. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1978.

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    Comprehensive illustrated bibliography containing a chronological listing with detailed descriptions of all books, including physical characteristics and printing history. Also includes an informative listing of Fuller’s contributions to periodicals and collections.

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  • Myerson, Joel. The New England Transcendentalists and the Dial: A History of the Magazine and Its Contributors. Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1980.

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    Authoritative account of the Dial, Fuller’s role in its formation and her editorship in its first two years. Also provides biographical essays on its contributors, and an appendix with the content and authors of each issue. Excellent as both literary history and a reference volume.

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  • Myerson, Joel. “Supplement to Margaret Fuller: An Annotated Secondary Bibliography.” In Studies in the American Renaissance 1984. Edited by Joel Myerson, 331–385. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1984.

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    Updates and revises Myerson’s earlier annotated secondary bibliography (Myerson 1977) with 108 additional items published between 1844 and 1975, and 143 items published between 1978 and 1982. Myerson notes the upsurge of critical interest in Fuller in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

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  • Myerson, Joel. “Supplement to Margaret Fuller: A Descriptive Bibliography.” In Studies in the American Renaissance 1996. Edited by Joel Myerson, 187–240. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996.

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    Additions to Myerson 1978, listing and describing new material through 1995. Important for its record of the growth of scholarly interest in Fuller in the two decades following Myerson’s initial secondary bibliography.

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  • Myerson, Joel. Margaret Fuller: An Annotated Bibliography of Criticism, 1983–1995. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1998.

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    Updates Myerson’s earlier annotated secondary bibliographies (Myerson 1977 and Myerson 1984) with 301 items published between 1983 and 1995, arranged in alphabetical order.

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  • Reynolds, Larry J. “Margaret Fuller.” In Prospects for the Study of American Literature. Edited by Richard Kopley and Barbara Cantalupo, 50–71. New York: AMS, 2009.

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    A guide to Fuller research that includes much work published since Hudspeth 1984, which shows that Fuller scholarship has made significant gains, placing her in the American literary canon. Reynolds also offers suggestions for further editorial and critical work.

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  • Robinson, David M. “Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and Transcendentalism.” American Literary Scholarship 2003.1 (2003): 3–21.

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    Annual volume published since 1963, that provides an assessment of the year’s scholarship on authors and themes in American literature, and is an indispensable guide to the newest work. Scholarship on Fuller is included in the chapter “Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and Transcendentalism.”

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Biographies

Fuller’s dramatic life experiences, and the sense among many modern readers that she was a kindred spirit, have made her a fertile subject for biographers. Capper 1992 and Capper 2007 (a two-volume work) is the authoritative biography on all counts, blending historical context, intellectual history, and discerning interpretation of Fuller’s personality and her works. Other valuable modern biographies include Von Mehren 1994, which recounts Fuller’s inner struggles between the intellectual and the aesthetic; Murray 2008, which focuses on Fuller’s tense relationship with her father; and Matteson 2012, which delineates the rich variety of Fuller’s identities and relationships. Ossoli 1852 is the flawed editorial and biographical work of three of Fuller’s close friends, who selectively used her works and their own commentary to “protect” her reputation. It remains essential for its inclusion of writings by Fuller unavailable elsewhere and for its insight into her friendships, especially with Emerson.

  • Capper, Charles. Margaret Fuller: An American Romantic Life. Vol. 1, The Private Years. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

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    First installment of two-volume biography that includes Fuller’s early life, the traumatic death of her father, her early achievement as a translator and leader of public Conversations for women, and her connection with the emerging Transcendentalist movement. These volumes are the most authoritative source on Fuller’s life, thought, works, and historical context.

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  • Capper, Charles. Margaret Fuller: An American Romantic Life. Vol. 2, The Public Years. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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    Second installment of two-volume biography includes Fuller’s editorship of the Dial, her friendship with Emerson, her emergence as an author and journalist in the middle 1840s, and her marriage and political experience in Italy, where she contributed to the first phase of the Italian Risorgimento. These volumes are the most authoritative source on Fuller’s life, thought, works, and historical context.

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  • Marshall, Megan. Margaret Fuller: A New American Life. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

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    Deeply researched and vibrantly presented narrative of Fuller’s life, with astute interpretations of Fuller’s public “Conversations,” her role in the complex net of Transcendentalist friendships, and the significance of her undertaking a journalistic career in New York. Marshall’s perceptive accounts of Fuller’s relationship with James Nathan in New York, and her marriage to Giovanni Ossoli in Italy, will remain authoritative readings.

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  • Matteson, John. The Lives of Margaret Fuller: A Biography. New York: Norton, 2012.

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    Characterizes Fuller’s development through her assumption of new identities, such as “Conversationalist” or “Seeker of Utopia.” Provides effective accounts of Fuller’s later romantic relationships with James Nathan and Giovanni Ossoli.

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  • Murray, Meg McGavran. Margaret Fuller: Wandering Pilgrim. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2008.

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    Posits Fuller’s conflict with her strong-willed father, Timothy Fuller, as the source of her lifelong struggle for self-understanding and affection.

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  • Ossoli, Margaret Fuller. Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli. 2 vols. Edited by Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Henry Channing, and James Freeman Clarke. Boston: Phillips, Sampson, 1852.

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    The first biography of Fuller by her Transcendentalist friends. It is a flawed but essential text. See Hudspeth 1984 in Reference Works for an assessment of this and other early Fuller biographies and Chevigny 1976 in Reception for an in-depth analysis of the editorial and interpretive defects of the work.

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  • Von Mehren, Joan. Minerva and the Muse: A Life of Margaret Fuller. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994.

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    Reads Fuller’s development as an effort to balance her commitment to “Minerva,” symbol of masculine intellect, and the “Muse,” symbol of feminine aesthetic pleasure and trans-rational perception. Emphasizes Fuller’s “theory of gender multiplicity” (p. 168) as a response to the destructive barriers to development and self-expression that Fuller encountered as an intellectual woman in 19th-century America.

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Principal Works

Although she is considered a literary figure, Fuller’s achievement follows a somewhat different pattern than that of other canonical 19th-century authors. The range of her publications is wide and includes a book that combines a travel narrative with cultural critique and analysis (Summer on the Lakes), a treatise on women’s rights (Woman in the Nineteenth Century), translations of literary works from German, and a wide variety of journalistic pieces. These publications, however, capture only part of her achievement. Her power as a letter writer is substantial, and her correspondence writing constitutes one of her greatest literary legacies. The portions of her manuscript journals that have survived are also significant from both a literary and historical perspective. Her innovative public Conversations, which were oral performances for a female audience (and for which we have a few written accounts) were significant events in the development of women’s literature, reading, and public performance in the 19th century.

Publications

While we still lack a modern edition of Fuller’s collected works, much progress has been made in editing key Fuller documents. Most significant is Hudpeth’s complete edition of Fuller’s remarkable letters (see Correspondence). Hudspeth’s edition of Fuller’s correspondence has now been supplemented by accessible modern editions of Fuller’s journalism for the New-York Tribune (Fuller 2000) and her dispatches from Europe (Fuller 1991b), which are important records of her thoughts about the 1848 revolution in Rome. We also have now a corrected and widely available version of her most important work, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (Fuller 1997), and a facsimile reprint of the first edition (1845) of the work, with a list of needed corrections (Fuller 1980). Fuller’s first book-length publication was a translation from the German of Johann Peter Eckermann’s accounts of his dialogues with Goethe (Fuller 1839), and it was followed three years later by publication of a partial translation of a fictionalized correspondence between Bettine Brentano von Arnim and Karoline von Günderrode (Fuller 1842), a work that was never completed. She arranged a selection of her essays for publication before her travel to Europe (Fuller 1846). For the history of the publication of her works see Myerson 1978 and Myerson 1996 (both cited under Reference Works). See Hudspeth 1984, cited under Reference Works for a discussion of the editorial corruptions of most of the early editions of Fuller’s works.

  • Fuller, Sarah Margaret, trans. Conversations with Goethe in the Last Years of his Life, Translated from the German of [Johann Peter] Eckermann. Boston: Hilliard, Gray, 1839.

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    Fuller’s first book-length publication appeared in George Ripley’s distinguished series of translations, Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature, one of the most important intellectual projects to emerge from the Transcendentalist movement. Fuller’s introductory essay on Goethe for this volume is one of her finest critical works.

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  • Fuller, Sarah Margaret, trans. Günderode. Boston: E. P. Peabody, 1842.

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    The first installment of a projected but never completed four-part translation of the fictionalized correspondence between Bettine Brentano von Arnim and Karoline von Günderrode. The representation of female friendship in this work was important to Fuller’s developing theories of friendship, conversation, and women’s expressive and communicative power.

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  • Fuller, Sarah Margaret. Papers on Literature and Art. New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1846.

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    Fuller arranged this selection of her work for publication before she left for Europe in 1846 and included one previously unpublished essay: “American Literature.” For information on its publication, see Myerson 1978, cited under Reference Works and Fink 1999, cited under Theory and Practice of Criticism.

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  • Fuller, Sarah Margaret. Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1980.

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    Facsimile reproduction of the first edition of 1845, with an introduction by Madeleine B. Stern and a list of needed emendations of typographical and spelling errors in Joel Myerson’s “Textual Apparatus” (pp. 203–209). Myerson also describes the textual history of the book and explains the unauthorized changes by misguided editors in later editions. This edition also provides a welcome index to Fuller’s text.

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  • Fuller, Margaret. Summer on the Lakes, in 1843. Edited by Susan Belasco Smith. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991a.

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    Re-publication of the first edition with the original illustrations by Sarah Clarke, and a well-informed introduction to Fuller’s writing of the book and its significance to her developing career.

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  • Fuller, Margaret. “These Sad But Glorious Days”: Dispatches from Europe, 1846–1850. Edited by Larry J. Reynolds and Susan Belasco Smith. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1991b.

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    Fuller’s thirty-seven New-York Tribune articles from Europe, with a substantial historical introduction and extensive annotations. Of great importance for understanding Fuller’s visits to Great Britain and France, as well as her experience in Italy as the Italian Risorgimento began.

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  • Fuller, Margaret. Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Edited by Larry J. Reynolds. New York: Norton, 1997.

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    The text is based on the 1845 first edition and incorporates the needed emendations listed by Joel Myerson in Fuller 1980. Provides extensive annotations helpful in identifying Fuller’s many historical and literary allusions and a selection of critical essays.

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  • Fuller, Margaret. Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New-York Tribune, 1844–1846. Edited by Judith Mattson Bean and Joel Myerson. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.

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    Fuller’s articles for the New-York Tribune during her New York years before she traveled to Europe. Includes eighty-eight articles and all 250 articles on a searchable CD. Provides an informative introduction to Fuller’s entry into journalism.

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Manuscript Journals

Fuller’s manuscript journals are crucially important sources for understanding her experience and the contours of her thought. Some three decades ago Robert N. Hudspeth called for “an edition, fully reported and annotated, of the journal fragments that survive” (see Hudspeth 1984 in Reference Works). That edition is still needed, although three further journal pieces have since been edited and published (Habich 1985, Berg and Perry 1990, and Ritchie 2001 [in Conversations]). The importance of still-unpublished journal material is confirmed in Kathleen Lawrence’s essay on the friendship of Fuller and Caroline Sturgis (see Lawrence 2011 in Friendship). Hudspeth 1979 is the earliest written journal material of Fuller to be published and provides a portrait of her just after her first major publication. Myerson 1973 provides journal accounts of Fuller’s relationship with Ralph Waldo Emerson and his wife Lydian during an 1842 visit, and Habich 1985 provides another Fuller journal from 1842 with important information about her friendship with Anna Barker. Berg and Perry 1990 makes available information from an 1844 journal on Fuller’s relationship with Caroline Sturgis. Rostenberg 1940 presents Fuller journal material from 1849 on the Roman revolution.

  • Berg, Martha L., and Alice V. Perry. “‘The Impulses of Human Nature’: Margaret Fuller’s Journal from June through October 1844.” Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 102 (1990): 38–126.

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    Shows Fuller’s often painful reflections on interpersonal relationships and her sense of loneliness. The editors posit a romantic infatuation with William Clarke during this period and tumult in her close friendship with Caroline Sturgis. Readers should also see Lawrence 2011 in Friendship.

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  • Habich, Robert D. “Margaret Fuller’s Journal for October 1842.” Harvard Library Bulletin 33.3 (1985): 280–291.

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    Important source for Fuller’s reflections on the nature of her love for Anna Barker and her visit with Barker in late October 1842. Sheds light on Fuller’s circle of friends: a circle that was disrupted after Samuel Ward’s engagement to Anna Barker (see Crain 2001, Strauch 1968, and Tilton 1987 in Friendship). Helpful editorial introduction and extensive annotations.

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  • Hudspeth, Robert N. “Margaret Fuller’s 1839 Journal: Trip to Bristol.” Harvard Library Bulletin 27 (1979): 445–470.

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    Records Fuller’s visit with Mary Soley DeWolfe and William Bradford DeWolfe in Bristol, Rhode Island, at a period of stress in her interpersonal relationships. This journal was written just after Fuller’s publication of her translations of Eckermann’s Conversations with Goethe (see Fuller 1839 in Publications). Helpful editorial introduction and extensive annotations.

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  • Myerson, Joel. “Margaret Fuller’s 1842 Journal: At Concord with the Emerson’s.” Harvard Library Bulletin 21.3 (1973): 320–340.

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    Description of a visit with the Emersons, which records Lydian Emerson’s tearful resentment of Fuller’s friendship with her husband and Fuller’s reflections on her Conversations (and her relationship) with Emerson. An essential source of information on the Fuller-Emerson friendship, with helpful editorial annotations.

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  • Rostenberg, Leona. “Margaret Fuller’s Roman Diary.” Journal of Modern History 12 (1940): 209–220.

    DOI: 10.1086/236458Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The text of Fuller’s diary titled “Rome, 1849,” containing observations of the political developments in early 1849 when Rome declared itself a republic.

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Correspondence

The Letters of Margaret Fuller is an invaluable resource for information on Fuller’s life and her literary achievements. Hudspeth’s edition is a landmark in Fuller scholarship and has enabled the historical recovery of Fuller; her exchanges with James Freeman Clarke, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and William Henry Channing are of particular importance to the history of Transcendentalism, and her letters from Italy are of great importance for understanding of the final phase of her career.

  • Fuller, Margaret. The Letters of Margaret Fuller. Vol. 1, 1817–38. Edited by Robert N. Hudspeth. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983a.

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    First volume of a comprehensive and authoritatively edited and annotated six-volume edition, this initiated the editorial project that is the most valuable resource for the study of Fuller. Hudspeth’s “Introduction” (pp. 25–56) is the best brief summation of Fuller’s life and thought, and his annotations to the individual letters are a valuable historical resource. Fuller’s arrestingly powerful letters are arguably her greatest literary works.

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  • Fuller, Margaret. The Letters of Margaret Fuller. Vol. 2, 1839–41. Edited by Robert N. Hudspeth. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983b.

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    Second volume of a comprehensive and authoritatively edited and annotated six-volume edition, which covers the period in which Fuller published her first book-length work and began her work as the editor of the Dial, a periodical of the Transcendentalist movement.

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  • Fuller, Margaret. The Letters of Margaret Fuller. Vol. 3, 1842–44. Edited by Robert N. Hudspeth. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1984.

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    Third volume of a comprehensive and authoritatively edited and annotated six-volume edition, which covers the period in which Fuller wrote important essays on Goethe and on women’s rights for the Dial, and published the travel book Summer on the Lakes.

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  • Fuller, Margaret. The Letters of Margaret Fuller. Vol. 4, 1845–47. Edited by Robert N. Hudspeth. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1987.

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    Fourth volume of a comprehensive and authoritatively edited and annotated six-volume edition, which covers the period in which Fuller published Woman in the Nineteenth Century, her most important work, moved to New York to begin writing for the New-York Tribune, and traveled to Great Britain, France, and Italy to write dispatches for the Tribune.

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  • Fuller, Margaret. The Letters of Margaret Fuller. Vol. 5, 1848–49. Edited by Robert N. Hudspeth. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988.

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    Fifth volume of a comprehensive and authoritatively edited and annotated six-volume edition, which covers Fuller’s life in Italy, the birth of her son and her marriage, and her involvement with the Italian revolution.

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  • Fuller, Margaret. The Letters of Margaret Fuller. Vol. 6, 1850 and undated. Edited by Robert N. Hudspeth. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994.

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    Sixth volume of a comprehensive and authoritatively edited and annotated six-volume edition, which covers Fuller’s return to the United States and her death and also gathers earlier letters not included in the first volumes of the edition. This volume also contains a comprehensive index for the entire six-volume edition.

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Conversations

The public “conversations” for women that Fuller launched in 1839 were one of her most innovative and influential cultural reform projects. Fuller revised the well-established format of the New England lecture, employed so successfully by her friend Emerson, by making dialogue its goal. More importantly, she restricted its participants to women, stressing their need for a venue for public expression. For an illuminating description of Fuller’s goals and accomplishments in the “conversations,” see Capper 1992, pp. 252–306 in Biographies. Buell 1973 discusses the “conversations” as one of the emerging new genres of Transcendentalism. Dall 1972 is an account of one of Fuller’s 1841 “conversations” written in 1895 by a participant, Caroline Healey Dall. Myerson 1978 describes the historical events that led Dall to write the book so long after the actual conversation had taken place. Simmons 1994 provides Elizabeth Palmer Peabody’s record of twelve Fuller “conversations” in 1839–1840, one of the most important records we have of them. Ritchie 2001 discusses Fuller’s notes on a series of four smaller “conversations” held in 1839, which preceded the larger events that Fuller presided over afterward.

  • Buell, Lawrence. “From Conversation to Essay.” In Literary Transcendentalism: Style and Vision in the American Renaissance. By Lawrence Buell, 77–101. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1973.

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    Buell discusses Fuller and Bronson Alcott as practitioners of public conversations, noting their impact on the development of Transcendentalist literary experimentation.

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  • Dall, Caroline Healey, ed. Margaret and Her Friends. New York: Arno, 1972.

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    Account of Fuller’s public “Conversation” of 1 March 1841, published over half a century later in 1895 by Dall, who had attended, kept notes, and made an abstract of the proceedings the day after. One of the few records we have on the nature of Fuller’s “conversations.”

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  • Myerson, Joel. “Mrs. Dall Edits Miss Fuller: The Story of Margaret and Her Friends.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 72 (1978): 187–200.

    DOI: 10.1086/pbsa.72.2.24302274Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Details the circumstances that brought Dall’s account of one of Fuller’s public “conversations” (See Dall 1972) into print. Provides an informative contextual account of Fuller’s approach to the “conversations,” and Dall’s literary career.

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  • Ritchie, Amanda. “Margaret Fuller’s First Conversation Series: A Discovery in the Archives.” Legacy 18 (June 2001): 216–231.

    DOI: 10.1353/leg.2001.0032Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Transcript of Fuller’s notes on four conversational meetings on Goethe held in 1839, which became prototypes for the series of “conversations” that she led from 1839–1844. Important source for both the study of Fuller’s “conversations” and her study of Goethe.

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  • Simmons, Nancy Craig. “Margaret Fuller’s Boston Conversations: The 1839–1840 Series.” In Studies in the American Renaissance 1994. Edited by Joel Myerson, 195–226. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994.

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    Important description by Elizabeth Palmer Peabody of a series of twelve of Fuller’s public “Conversations” in 1839–1840, with an informative introduction and a descriptive list of the participants. A key resource for the study of the “conversations.”

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Teaching

After the death of her father in 1835, Fuller worked as a teacher at Bronson Alcott’s Temple School in Boston, and in the Greene Street School in Providence, Rhode Island. While she was successful as a teacher, she resigned her position in Providence in order to return to Boston and concentrate more fully on her literary projects. Accounts written by Fuller’s students provide insights into her practice as a teacher. Fergenson 1991 provides the most extensive account of Fuller’s teaching. Shuffleton 1985 has information on the nature of Fuller’s teaching duties at Greene Street School, and that portrait of the school is supplemented by the journal presented in Shealey 1996 and Kopacz 1996, a journal that contains records of some comments by Fuller. Ganter and Sarij 2007 presents a journal illustrating the esteem in which Fuller was held by one of her students.

  • Fergenson, Laraine R. “Margaret Fuller as a Teacher in Providence: The School Journal of Ann Brown.” In Studies in the American Renaissance 1991. Edited by Joel Myerson, 59–118. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991.

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    One of the longest and most detailed of the surviving journals by Fuller’s students at the Greene Street School, with entries from 1837–1838. Informative introduction and annotations.

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  • Ganter, Granville, and Hani Sarij. “‘May We Put Forth Our Leaves.’ Rhetoric in the School Journal of Mary Ware Allen, Student of Margaret Fuller, 1837–38.” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 117 (2007): 61–142.

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    The editors term Allen’s the “most articulate” of the journals of Fuller’s students and note her “sympathetic portrayal” of Fuller. Informative introduction and annotations.

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  • Kopacz, Paula. “The School Journal of Hannah (Anna) Gale.” In Studies in the American Renaissance 1996. Edited by Joel Myerson, 41–65. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996.

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    The 1837–1838 school journal of one of Fuller’s students at the Greene Street School, with information on readings, visitors, class activities, and comments by Fuller. Informative introduction and annotations.

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  • Shealey, Daniel. “Margaret Fuller and Her ‘Maiden’: Evelina Metcalf’s 1838 School Journal.” In Studies in the American Renaissance 1996. Edited by Joel Myerson, 41–65. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996.

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    Descriptions of lessons and activities in the Greene Street School in 1838 by one of Fuller’s students, including reports of comments by Fuller. Informative introduction and annotations.

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  • Shuffleton, Frank. “Margaret Fuller at the Greene Street School: The Journal of Evelina Metcalf.” In Studies in the American Renaissance 1985. Edited by Joel Myerson, 29–46. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1985.

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    Comments on Fuller’s teaching in 1837 by one of her students. The informative introduction provides details on Fuller’s daily routine as a teacher, and the editor includes useful annotations.

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Reception

Fuller’s historical reputation has two major dimensions. She was an important inspiration and influence on the early stages of the women’s rights movement in the United States, and she was a central figure in the Transcendentalist movement, one of the first key literary and cultural movements in the United States. Capper 2015 charts the phases of Fuller’s developing reputation. Fuller’s role as a leading American voice for women’s rights is discussed in Cole 1998, Bean 1998, and Kelley 2013. The attempt to shape her legacy into more conventional norms is discussed in Baker 2000, which describes the flawed editing of her works by her brother, and Chevigny 1976, which discusses the problematic first biography of Fuller. Myerson 2008 is a useful compilation of portraits and assessments by Fuller’s contemporaries. See also Rowe 1993, Mitchell 1998, and Cook 2004 in Intertextual Associations and Influences for discussions of Fuller’s impact on later authors; and Cole 2000 in Woman in the Nineteenth Century for Fuller’s argument for women’s rights.

  • Baker, Dorothy Z. “Arthur Buckminster Fuller’s (Re) Vision of the Life and Work of Margaret Fuller.” In Margaret Fuller’s Cultural Critique: Her Age and Legacy. Edited by Fritz Fleischmann, 251–264. New York: Peter Lang, 2000.

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    Fuller’s brother became editor of her works after her death, producing a series of heavily edited volumes aimed to present his sister as an advocate of conventional social values. Provides a detailed account of his editorial practices in the 1860 volume Life Without and Life Within.

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  • Bean, Judith Mattson. “‘A Presence Among Us’: Fuller’s Place in Nineteenth-Century Oral Culture.” ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 44.1–2 (1998): 79–123.

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    Stresses Fuller’s contributions to a tradition of female spoken discourse in the United States, noting the importance of her public Conversations in Boston, and of her example in a growing network of women’s rights organizations, reading clubs, and discussion groups in the later 19th century.

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  • Capper, Charles. “Margaret Fuller in Time.” Nineteenth-Century Prose 42.2 (2015): 17–42.

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    Richly informative analysis of Fuller’s changing reputation and her ascension to fame in the later 20th century. Capper notes the outpouring of biographical work in the decades after Fuller’s death in 1850, but explains her disappearance during the early-20th-century modernist period. Her reputation was reestablished by during the Second Wave feminist movement of the 1970s, which was bolstered by the scholarly recognition of her Romanticism and close links to the New England Transcendentalist movement.

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  • Chevigny, Bell Gale. “The Long Arm of Censorship: Mythmaking in Margaret Fuller’s Time and Our Own.” Signs 2.2 (1976): 450–460.

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    Important explanation of the limitations of the first biography of Fuller, the 1852 Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (see Ossoli 1852 in Biographies). The editors, close male friends of Fuller, protectively tried to portray her as a less radical figure than she was, often repressing potentially controversial elements of her writing.

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  • Cole, Phyllis. “The Nineteenth-Century Women’s Rights Movement and the Canonization of Margaret Fuller.” ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 44.1–2 (1998): 1–33.

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    Illuminating account of Fuller’s canonization as a feminist saint based on extensive research in women’s rights periodicals, the Una and Woman’s Journal, and the publications of leading women intellectuals such as Caroline Healey Dall, Julia Ward Howe, Ednah Dow Cheney, Mary Livermore, and Lucinda Chandler.

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  • Kelley, Mary. “‘The Measure of My Foot-Print’: Margaret Fuller’s Unfinished Revolution.” In Margaret Fuller and Her Circles. Edited by Brigitte Bailey, Katheryn P. Viens, and Conrad Edick Wright, 229–243, 296–298. Durham, UK: University of New Hampshire Press, 2013.

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    Survey of Fuller’s career as a leader in women’s education, a teacher and public conversationalist, a pioneering journalist, and a social reformer. Framed by an assessment of what has and has not been accomplished in the contemporary women’s movement.

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  • Myerson, Joel, ed. Fuller in Her Own Time. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2008.

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    Valuable compilation of contemporary accounts and descriptions of Fuller drawn from 19th-century letters, journals, and memoirs. Myerson provides illuminating introductions and annotations for each selection. The volume contains a perceptive introductory essay on Fuller’s career and her impact on her friends and acquaintances and a detailed chronology.

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Criticism

Critical analysis of Fuller’s work has been overshadowed by biographical studies. Fuller’s life itself is a great historical text, full of dramatic turns, triumphant achievements, and great tragedy. Her enactment of a vanguard role in the advancement of feminism has also made her life a prime subject. Most critical analysis has focused on her travel narrative Summer on the Lakes and Woman in the Nineteenth Century, a foundational delineation of the case for women’s rights. Her work as a translator, her perspicuity as a critic, and her experimental narratives in the early 1840s, especially the “Autobiographical Romance,” are gaining importance.

Theory and Practice of Criticism

Fuller began as a writer of literary reviews and critiques, and her criticism in the Dial and the New-York Tribune shows her wide reading and critical acumen. Fink 1999 explains the importance of these two magazines in her critical work. For illuminating discussions of the groundwork of her criticism, see von Frank 1985 on her theory of the nature of art, and Hudspeth 1989 and Ellison 1990 on her view of criticism as a theory of reading. Douglas 1977 (cited under New-York Tribune Dispatches from Europe) and Ellison 1990 contextualize Fuller’s work in Romanticism, and von Frank 1985 and Taylor 2010 emphasize her struggle against New England provincialism. Marshall 2012 (cited under Goethe and German Culture) describes Fuller as a critic of music as well as of literature.

  • Ellison, Julie. Delicate Subjects: Romanticism, Gender, and the Ethics of Understanding. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990.

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    Describes Fuller’s effort to formulate a Romantic ethics of reading and understanding that is grounded in sympathy and mutuality. Elucidates the semi-autobiographical figures Mariana and Miranda who play important roles in Summer on the Lakes and Woman in the Nineteenth Century.

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  • Fink, Steven. “Margaret Fuller: The Evolution of a Woman of Letters.” In Reciprocal Influences: Literary Production, Distribution, and Consumption in America. Edited by Steven Fink and Susan S. Williams, 55–74. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1999.

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    Analyzes Fuller’s efforts to work out a productive relationship with her audience in a period of rapid change in the literary marketplace. Fink views her editorship of the Dial as crucial in her aesthetic development, and her position at the Tribune a major breakthrough in her role as a reform author.

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  • Hudspeth, Robert N. “‘A Higher Standard of Thought and Action’: Margaret Fuller and the Idea of Criticism.” In American Unitarianism, 1805–1865. Edited by Conrad Edick Wright, 145–160. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society and Northeastern University Press, 1989.

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    Key essay on Fuller’s critical principles. From this study we learn that Fuller was less interested in judging literary texts than in demonstrating how to read with greater benefit. She saw reading as a central element of Transcendentalist self-culture and used its principles to defend Goethe from critical assaults on his morality.

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  • Taylor, Andrew. Thinking America: New England Intellectuals and the Varieties of American Identity. Durham, UK: University of New Hampshire Press, 2010.

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    Insightful account (pp. 88–125) of Fuller’s development of a cosmopolitan criticism grounded in dialogue and exchange. Notes Fuller’s interest in the discovery of textual and intellectual affinities that emerge from multifarious sources. Her transnational perspective is sharpened in Italy, where she recognized American provincialism more clearly and more fully embraced cultural pluralism.

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  • Von Frank, Albert J. The Sacred Game: Provincialism and Frontier Consciousness in American Literature, 1630–1860. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

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    Persuasive analysis (pp. 114–135) of how Fuller’s sense of provincialism produced an engagement with the arts as a way of battling her socially limited situation and emphasizing the importance of the imagination. Her critical principle of seeking the innate law governing the work of art arose from her thirst for an organic or intuitive criticism associated with European culture.

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Intellectual Evolution

Fuller’s career is marked by change, driven by her intense curiosity and her openness to new books, friends, and ideas. The most significant turns were occasioned by her taking the editorship of the Dial in 1840, where she worked closely with Emerson; her decision to write for the New-York Tribune in 1844, where she enlarged her friendship with reformer William Henry Channing and worked closely with editor Horace Greeley; and her trip to Europe in 1846, where she met the Italian nationalist Giuseppe Mazzini and married Giovanni Ossoli. For the fullest account of Fuller’s evolution see Capper 1992 and Capper 2007 in Biographies. Chevigny 1977 and Chevigny 1986 are important readings of two phases of her development, her intellectual dialogue with Emerson and her experience in revolutionary Italy. Belasco 2003 and Robinson 2012 explain the evolution of her Transcendentalist philosophy in social and political directions, and Tuchinsky 2004 (cited under Progressive Social Reform) links this change to her developing conception of the role of the author and public intellectual. Hudspeth 2007 and Hudspeth 2013 (see New-York Tribune Articles) trace her evolving thought on two key problems, modern heroism and emerging urban culture, while Scacchi 2007 traces her developing concept of the maternal. Capper 2007 suggests that Fuller is best regarded as a thinker oriented to European culture, who moves toward a deeper understanding of American democracy when she travels to Europe.

  • Belasco, Susan. “‘The Animating Influences of Discord’: Margaret Fuller in 1844.” Legacy 20.1–2 (2003): 76–93.

    DOI: 10.1353/leg.2003.0037Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The year 1844 was a crucial year of transition for Fuller, bringing both crises and achievements in her friendships and professional life. Belasco shows the significance of Fuller’s correspondence with Emerson in this period, and also notes the intensifying concern with antislavery and other political issues among the Transcendentalists.

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  • Capper, Charles. “Getting from Here to There: Margaret Fuller’s American Transnational Odyssey.” In Margaret Fuller: Transatlantic Crossings in a Revolutionary Age. Edited by Charles Capper and Cristina Giorcelli, 3–26. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2007.

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    Thought-provoking reversal of the standard reading of Fuller’s development; maintains that Fuller began her intellectual career in the “European-centered” (p. 4) context that she could not sustain, and ultimately achieved a “transnational American cultural vision” (p. 4) that was nevertheless politically “uncertain.”

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  • Chevigny, Bell Gale. “Growing Out of New England: The Emergence of Margaret Fuller’s Radicalism.” Women’s Studies 5.1 (1977): 65–100.

    DOI: 10.1080/00497878.1977.9978433Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Insightful account of the process by which Fuller absorbed and then expanded the ideas of Transcendentalism, with a perceptive analysis of her relationship with Emerson, and a persuasive explanation of the importance of Fuller’s public Conversations in her evolution. A key essay on Fuller’s intellectual development.

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  • Chevigny, Bell Gale. “To the Edges of Ideology: Margaret Fuller’s Centrifugal Evolution.” American Quarterly 38.2 (1986): 173–201.

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    Describes Fuller’s developing political ideology as a break from Transcendentalism that reaches its most radical development in her involvement with the 1848 revolution in Rome. Chevigny argues that Fuller’s radicalism was obscured after her death, especially in the biography written by her Transcendentalist friends (see Ossoli 1852 in Biographies).

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  • Hudspeth, Robert N. “Margaret Fuller and the Ideal of Heroism.” In Margaret Fuller: Transatlantic Crossings in a Revolutionary Age. Edited by Charles Capper and Cristina Giorcelli, 45–65. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2007.

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    Traces Fuller’s idea of heroism from her early interest in ancient Rome, through her fascination with Goethe’s sense of the “Daimonic” as an essential element of modern heroism. Fuller’s meeting Giuseppe Mazzini in London, her growing friendship with him, and her witness to his leadership in the Roman revolution made him the fullest embodiment of the heroic ideal for her.

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  • Robinson, David M. “Margaret Fuller, Self-Culture, and Associationism.” In Margaret Fuller and Her Circles. Edited by Brigitte Bailey, Katheryn P. Viens, and Conrad Edick Wright, 77–99, 260–265. Durham, UK: University of New Hampshire Press, 2012.

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    Traces Fuller’s intellectual evolution from the New England Unitarian ethos of self-culture to the communal theories of associationism connected with the social philosophy of Charles Fourier. Discusses the importance of Fuller’s 1840 “Autobiographical Romance” and characterizes Summer on the Lakes as a work that registers Fuller’s growing disillusion with American culture.

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  • Scacchi, Anna. “Margaret Fuller’s Search for the Maternal.” In Margaret Fuller: Transatlantic Crossings in a Revolutionary Age. Edited by Charles Capper and Cristina Giorcelli, 66–96. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2007.

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    Perceptive discussion of Fuller’s lifelong search for a maternal figure. Discusses her early maternal roles in educating her younger siblings and as a teacher, and of the fulfillment and inner conflict brought on by her becoming a mother during the political turmoil in Rome in the late 1840s.

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Goethe and German Culture

Fuller developed a deep interest in Goethe early in her study of German, and she hoped for several years to write a biography of him. She offered a spirited and perceptive defense of his work against the religious and moralistic strictures of New England cultural guardians, a key part of her critical achievement. Bauschinger 1998 provides a helpful account of Fuller’s Goethe-related projects and is quite informative on her planned Goethe biography and her German translations in the Dial and New-York Tribune. Braun 1910, Vogel 1955, and Pochmann 1957 are earlier but still valuable assessments; Braun focuses specifically on Fuller’s Goethe, while Vogel and Pochmann describe her Goethe work as a central part of her larger Transcendentalist engagement with German literature and philosophy. Fry 2001 explains the importance of both Goethe and Brentano von-Arnim on Fuller’s feminism, and Schöpp 2007 describes the influence of Goethe’s concept of the “Daimonic” on Fuller. Saloman 1993 and Marshall 2012 trace Fuller’s deep response to Beethoven as the great artist of the age.

  • Bauschinger, Sigrid. “Germanico: Margaret Fuller.” In The Trumpet of Reform: German Literature in Nineteenth-Century New England. Translated by Thomas S. Hansen, 71–136. Columbia, SC: Camden House, 1998.

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    Informative assessment of Fuller’s growing mastery of German literature. Describes Fuller’s plans for, and eventual abandonment of, a biography of Goethe and traces her consequent work as a translator, including her work in the Dial and the New-York Tribune.

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  • Braun, Frederick Augustus. Margaret Fuller and Goethe. New York: Henry Holt, 1910.

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    Useful account of Goethe’s shaping impact on Fuller, including the development of her inner life and religious views, and her defense of him against his critics. Braun includes Fuller’s important statement “A Credo” (see “Margaret Fuller’s Religious Creed,” pp. 247–257), from the manuscript in the Boston Public Library.

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  • Fry, Ingrid E. “Elective Androgyny: Bettine Brentano von-Arnim and Margaret Fuller’s Reception of Goethe.” Goethe Yearbook 10 (2001): 246–262.

    DOI: 10.1353/gyr.2011.0053Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Compares Fuller’s interest in Goethe with that of Brentano von-Arnim, both of whom found Goethe’s principle of growth or Bildung reflected in his female characters. For Fuller, these characters represented the possibility of women’s pursuit of self-culture.

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  • Marshall, Megan. “Margaret Fuller on Music’s ‘Everlasting Yes’: A Romantic Critic in the Romantic Era.” In Margaret Fuller and Her Circles. Edited by Brigitte Bailey, Katheryn P. Viens, and Conrad Edick Wright, 148–160, 277–279. Durham, UK: University of New Hampshire Press, 2012.

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    Describes the intense aesthetic and spiritual responses in Fuller’s musical criticism, stressing the profound impact of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Marshall also explains the importance of musical symbols in Fuller’s works, describing harmony as a guiding concept in Woman in the Nineteenth Century.

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  • Pochmann, Henry A. “Margaret Fuller.” In German Culture in America: Philosophical and Literary Influences, 1600–1900. By Henry A. Pochmann, 440–447. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1957.

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    A chapter is devoted to Fuller in this comprehensive study of the impact of German intellectual culture in early America. Contends that Goethe’s version of self-culture, not Emerson’s, was the basis for Fuller’s feminism: freeing her from New England restrictions and arming her against hostile criticism.

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  • Saloman, Ora Frishberg. “Margaret Fuller on Beethoven in America, 1839–1846.” Journal of Musicology 10.1 (1993): 89–105.

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    Traces Fuller’s response and advocacy of Beethoven’s music and describes her affinities and differences with the musical sensibility of her Transcendentalist friend and pioneering American music critic John Sullivan Dwight. Saloman notes that Fuller’s initial responses to Beethoven were influenced by her study of Goethe.

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  • Schöpp, Joseph C. “Playing the Eclectic: Margaret Fuller’s Creative Appropriation of Goethe.” In Margaret Fuller: Transatlantic Crossings in a Revolutionary Age. Edited by Charles Capper and Cristina Giorcelli, 27–44. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2007.

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    Enlightening explanation of Fuller’s response to Goethe as a leader in transcultural interpretation and an advocate of continual self-fashioning. Places particular emphasis on her recognition of Goethe’s belief in the instinctual or “Daimonic” element of human experience, a force that carried with it the prospect of cultural transformation.

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  • Vogel, Stanley M. German Literary Influences on the American Transcendentalists. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1955.

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    Systematic account of the reception of German literature by the Transcendentalists. Vogel categorizes Fuller, along with James Freeman Clarke, as one of the “critics” of German literature. Vogel provides an account of Fuller’s correspondence with Clarke on Goethe and other German authors and discusses Fuller’s defense of Goethe’s controversial novel Elective Affinities.

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Translations

Fuller’s command of the German language and modern German authors gave her an important role among the Transcendentalists. Her linguistic expertise fostered a liberality of mind that was helpful in her struggle against both the religious and gender-related barriers that she faced in her literary and feminist aspirations. Zwarg 1995 in Gender, Feminism, and Women’s Rights views Fuller’s translation through the lens of modern literary and feminist theory, noting her conception of translation as a paradigm of the mutual exchange central to feminism. Delphendahl 1994 and Lenckos 2007 analyze the role of her translations in Fuller’s theory of gender and women’s rights. Boggs 2004 contrasts Fuller’s conception of translation with Emerson’s, and English 2001 discusses Fuller’s aspiration for dialogue with the reader in her translation.

  • Boggs, Colleen Glenny. “Margaret Fuller’s American Translation.” American Literature 76.1 (2004): 31–58.

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    Instructive discussion of Fuller’s effort to express national difference through translation, in opposition to Emerson’s expectation that translation should demonstrate national resemblance. Fuller regarded translation as dialogic in nature and thus potentially transformative in challenging fixed patterns of perception.

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  • Delphendahl, Renate. “Margaret Fuller: Interpreter and Translator of German Literature.” In Margaret Fuller: Visionary of the New Age. Edited by Marie Mitchell Olesen Urbanski, 54–100. Orono, ME: Northern Lights, 1994.

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    Description of Fuller’s work as a translator and critic of German literature, which emphasizes her linguistic craft and the importance of translation as Fuller’s means of entry into the closed male domain of intellectual exchange.

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  • English, Karen A. “‘Genuine Transcripts of Private Experience’: Margaret Fuller and Translation.” American Transcendental Quarterly 15.2 (2001): 131–147.

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    Discusses Fuller’s theory and practice of translation in both her early German literary translations and her later Italian translations of political speeches and official documents. English argues that Fuller’s practice anticipates modern theories of translation and attempts to draw readers personally into the experience underlying the author’s text.

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  • Lenckos, Elisabeth. “‘Stimulus and Cheer’: Margaret Fuller’s ‘Translations’ from Eckermann’s Conversations with Goethe to Bettina von Arnim’s Günderode.” In Translators, Interpreters, Mediators: Women Writers 1700–1900. Edited by Gillian E. Dow, 191–207. New York: Peter Lang, 2007.

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    Perceptive analysis of Fuller’s intellectual strategies as a translator. Fuller chose to translate texts centering on educational dialogue, which were ultimately linked to the achievement of female intellectual independence, and its support through dialogue. Some of Goethe’s female characters modeled this intellectual independence.

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Summer on the Lakes

Growing critical interest in travel writing has brought much recent attention to this work, one that also takes up the oppression of the American Indians and the reality of the frontier experience. The sections “The Seeress of Prevorst” and “Mariana” have also drawn interest as expressions of Fuller’s developing feminism. For a detailed description of Fuller’s Western journey and the significance of her account of it, see Capper 2007 in Biographies. Belasco’s cogent introduction to Fuller 1991a in Publications explains the book’s significance in Fuller’s unfolding literary career. Baker 2006 reads the book as a critique of American imperialist assumptions, and Robinson 2012 in Intellectual Evolution terms it a sign of Fuller’s growing disillusion with US democracy. Burbick 1993, Rosowski 1999, and Adams 2009 focus on its feminist themes, making it a precursor to Woman in the Nineteenth Century, and Greven 2012 in Gay/Lesbian Studies and Queer Theory considers the “Mariana” episode as a portrayal of female same-sex desire. For the book as a travel narrative, see Smith 1991, Stowe 1994, Russo 2007, and Roberson 2011 in Travel Studies.

  • Adams, Katherine. “Tarnished Icons, Shining Lives: Fuller’s Publication of Privacy.” In Owning Up: Privacy, Property and Belonging in U. S. Women’s Life Writing. By Katherine Adams, 31–70. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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    Devotes a chapter of a study of women’s struggle for belonging in American society to Fuller’s semi-autobiographical figure of Mariana, who appears in Summer on the Lakes, and whose search for recognition is also a theme in Fuller’s “Autobiographical Romance” and Woman in the Nineteenth Century.

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  • Baker, Anne. “Views from the Edge of Empire.” In Heartless Immensity: Literature, Culture, and Geography in Antebellum America. By Anne Baker, 81–101. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2006.

    DOI: 10.3998/mpub.189323Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes and Melville’s Typee as books that contest the attitude of dominance in the increasingly imperial 19th-century United States.

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  • Burbick, Joan. “Under the Sign of Gender: Margaret Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes.” In Woman and the Journey: The Female Travel Experience. Edited by Bonnie Frederick and Susan H. McLeod, 67–83. Pullman: Washington State University Press, 1993.

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    While class assumptions persist in Fuller’s depiction of gender issues, this essay contends that Fuller’s experience in the West challenges and unsettles these assumptions, making Summer on the Lakes a transitional work in the analysis of the class basis of early feminism.

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  • Rosowski, Susan J. Birthing a Nation: Gender, Creativity, and the West in American Literature. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.

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    Traces Fuller’s changing attitude toward the West in Summer on the Lakes, emphasizing her growing recognition of the barriers to inclusion faced by women. Asserts that Fuller increasingly spoke as a woman to a female audience in the book, relying on conversational techniques she had developed in her public Conversations for women.

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Woman in the Nineteenth Century

Fuller’s most influential work began as an essay in the 1843 Dial, which she revised and expanded for book publication. It is an important document in the history of women’s rights, and a pivotal work in Transcendentalism, indicating the movement’s new orientation toward social reform. For a helpful selection of critical studies, see Reynolds’s Norton Critical Edition (Fuller 1997 in Publications). For the developmental backgrounds of the book see Robinson 1982 in Transcendentalism, which describes its Unitarian and Transcendentalist roots, and Reynolds 1995, which explains its Dial origins. Wood 1993 (see Gay/Lesbian Studies and Queer Theory), Cole 2000, and Cole 2013 (cited under Gender, Feminism, and Women’s Rights) situate it within the developing discourse on gender and women’s rights. Kolodny 1994 and Gustafson 1995 analyze its conversational foundations.

  • Cole, Phyllis. “Stanton, Fuller, and the Grammar of Romanticism.” New England Quarterly 73.4 (2000): 533–559.

    DOI: 10.2307/366581Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Traces the influence of Fuller’s public Conversations and Woman in the Nineteenth Century on Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s speaking and organizational efforts on behalf of women’s rights. Cole emphasizes Stanton’s allegiance to Fuller’s doctrine of women’s potential for self-development and autonomy.

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  • Gustafson, Sandra M. “Choosing a Medium: Margaret Fuller and the Forms of Sentiment.” American Quarterly 47.1 (1995): 34–65.

    DOI: 10.2307/2713324Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Emphasizes Fuller’s fresh experimentation with sentimental literary and oratorical forms. Fuller employs an alternating series of voices, allusions, and moods to generate a feminine idiom, using sudden shifts to her advantage to challenge convention.

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  • Kolodny, Annette. “Inventing a Feminist Discourse: Rhetoric and Resistance in Margaret Fuller’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century.” New Literary History 25.2 (1994): 355–382.

    DOI: 10.2307/469453Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explains the book’s unconventional structure as an experiment in a new feminist discourse relying on multiple voices to create an indirect style that avoids direct persuasion and mirrors the diversity of conversation.

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  • Reynolds, Larry J. “From Dial Essay to New York Book: The Making of Woman in the Nineteenth Century.” In Periodical Literature in Nineteenth-Century America. Edited by Kenneth M. Price and Susan Belasco Smith, 17–34. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995.

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    Key essay showing that “The Great Lawsuit” grew out of conversations and the exchange of portfolios among Fuller’s friends in the late 1830s. The writing of Woman in the Nineteenth Century was an expansion of that essay for a larger audience.

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New-York Tribune Articles

Fuller’s move to New York in 1844 to work for Horace Greeley at the New-York Tribune was a significant step, providing her with a stable income, a large readership, and exposure to a new and challenging cultural experience. See Fuller 2000 in Publications for a complete edition of Fuller’s New York articles, with an informative introduction and annotations. Hudspeth 2013 describes the powerful and positive impact of Fuller’s move to New York, and Mitchell 1995 provides helpful contextual information about Fuller’s role at the newspaper. Kopacz 1991 makes a good case for the growth of Fuller’s social awareness during her work for the Tribune and characterizes this period as one in which she matured as a professional writer. Robinson 2006 discusses Fuller’s work as a reform journalist in New York, reporting on the problems of public institutions such as prisons and asylums and noting the progress made in the treatment of patients suffering from mental illness. Steele 2006 emphasizes Fuller’s awareness of and compassion for those with disabilities, placing her response in a larger consideration of her theory of bodily purity. Steele 2015 contends that Fuller’s literary awareness moved her toward sentimental reform as she encountered the city, and Steele 2013 discusses Fuller and Lydia Maria Child as examples of sentimental reformers, noting their work as an unrecognized aspect of the Transcendentalist movement.

  • Hudspeth, Robert N. “Margaret Fuller and Urban Life.” In Margaret Fuller and Her Circles. Edited by Brigitte Bailey, Katheryn P. Viens, and Conrad Edick Wright, 179–205, 283–287. Durham, UK: University of New Hampshire Press, 2013.

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    Persuasive depiction of Fuller’s love of (and need for) the stimulation of city life. Fuller’s Tribune work helped urbanize her and enable to educate and motivate her New York readership. Shows that Rome, however, became her greatest teacher when she saw its oppression and took her place as a citizen fighting for freedom.

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  • Kopacz, Paula. “Feminist at the Tribune: Margaret Fuller as Professional Writer.” In Studies in the American Renaissance 1991. Edited by Joel Myerson, 119–139. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991.

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    Describes Fuller’s growing professionalism and developing social awareness in her Tribune writings, and emphasizes their importance in assessing her achievement.

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  • Mitchell, Catherine C. Margaret Fuller’s New York Journalism: A Biographical Essay and Key Writings. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1995.

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    Reconstructs the milieu of the New-York Tribune and reminds us of Fuller’s underappreciated role in its early development and of the impact of journalistic work on Fuller’s development and reputation. Includes a large selection of Fuller’s Tribune articles from 1844–1846.

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  • Robinson, David M. “Margaret Fuller, New York, and the Politics of Transcendentalism.” ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 52.4 (2006): 271–299.

    DOI: 10.1353/esq.2006.0002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Transcendentalism’s evolution toward political awareness in the 1840s is embodied in Fuller’s Tribune writings. She visited prisons and asylums to build awareness of unjust conditions and potential avenues of reform. Fuller’s description of Pliny Earle’s compassionate approaches to the treatment of mental illness is a valuable example of enlightened social justice.

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  • Steele, Jeffrey. “Purifying America: Purity and Disability in Margaret Fuller’s New York Reform Writing.” ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 52.4 (2006): 271–299.

    DOI: 10.1353/esq.2006.0004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Fuller’s naïve view of bodily purity was tested when she moved to New York and faced urban conditions of poverty, degradation, disability, and illness. Influenced also by her experience of her brother’s disability and her own impaired physical condition, she developed a more encompassing sense of purity.

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  • Steele, Jeffery. “Sympathy and Prophecy: The Two Faces of Social Justice in Fuller’s New York Writing.” In Margaret Fuller and Her Circles. Edited by Brigitte Bailey, Katheryn P. Viens, and Conrad Edick Wright, 161–178, 279–283. Durham, UK: University of New Hampshire Press, 2013.

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    Describes the shift from individual morality to social reformation revealed in Fuller’s New York journalism. Links Fuller to Lydia Maria Child, who saw the reform of urban conditions as the key to social justice. Fuller’s use of sentiment to describe injustice exemplified a “sentimental Transcendentalism” emerging in the 1840s.

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  • Steele, Jeffrey. “Reconfiguring ‘public attention’: Margaret Fuller in New York City.” Nineteenth-Century Prose 42.2 (2015): 125–154.

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    Describes Fuller’s use of her skills as a literary critic to observe and analyze the new visual landscape of the city, and the growing sentimentalist perspective of her writings as she confronted urban poverty and injustice.

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New-York Tribune Dispatches from Europe

Fuller continued to send occasional dispatches to the Tribune during her 1846–1850 trip to Europe. As she became more deeply involved in the Italian revolutionary movement, she reported its dramatic events to American readers, becoming a prominent conduit of information on one of the most significant of the European uprisings in the 1848 year of revolution. See Fuller 1991b in Publications for a complete edition of Fuller’s European dispatches, with an informative introduction and annotations. Reynolds 1988 analyzes Fuller as one of several important American authors influenced by the European revolutions of 1848. Douglas 1977 views Fuller’s articles from Italy as her finest works, mainly because of their economy and strong sense of the historical. Bailey 2002 discusses how Fuller’s observation of the formation of a new republic in Rome was conditioned by her own sense of the American republic and the larger idea of a modern nationhood. Reynolds 2004 describes Fuller’s idealistic view of the Roman revolution, which stressed its high aims and principles but also recognized the toll in suffering that it required. Guida 2007 also notes Fuller’s idealized view of the revolution, noting the limitations of her information. Gemme 2005 criticizes Fuller’s account of the Roman revolution for its “Americanness,” a failure to see the revolt in strictly Italian terms. Eckel 2007 links Fuller’s Tribune dispatches to her earlier public Conversations and to her journalism in New York.

  • Bailey, Brigitte. “Fuller, Hawthorne, and Imagining Urban Spaces in Rome.” In Roman Holidays: American Writers and Artists in Nineteenth-Century Italy. Edited by Robert K. Martin and Leland S. Person, 175–190. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2002.

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    Links Fuller’s dispatches from Rome to the idea of “the modern nation-state” (p. 176), which she conceptualizes through her American reading public and also the nationalist revolt in Rome. Compares Fuller’s sense of Rome as an urban space with Hawthorne’s representation of it in The Marble Faun.

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  • Douglas, Ann. The Feminization of American Culture. New York: Knopf, 1977.

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    Emphasizes Fuller’s thirst for direct experience and her preference for the historical over the imaginative. Believes that Fuller began to find the level of experience and commitment that she sought in journalism and that her reports from Italy (her greatest work) have a directness and factuality not found in her earlier writings.

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  • Eckel, Leslie E. “Margaret Fuller’s Conversational Journalism: New York, London, Rome.” Arizona Quarterly 63.2 (2007): 27–50.

    DOI: 10.1353/arq.2007.0009Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Connects Fuller’s efforts to produce a conversational journalism to her earlier public Conversations for women and her desire to deepen the transnational dialogue between the United States and Europe. Emphasizes the importance of Giuseppe Mazzini and Adam Mickiewicz, fervent patriots with cosmopolitan visions, as influences on Fuller.

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  • Gemme, Paola. Domesticating Foreign Struggles: The Italian Risorgimento and Antebellum American Identity. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2005.

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    Describes the impact of the ideology of American exceptionalism on Fuller’s response to the Italian Risorgimento, arguing that she does not treat revolutionary Italy on its own terms but rather as a prophetic jeremiad against American political failures.

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  • Guida, Francesco. “Realism, Idealism, and Passion in Margaret Fuller’s Response to Italy.” In Margaret Fuller: Transatlantic Crossings in a Revolutionary Age. Edited by Charles Capper and Cristina Giorcelli, 156–171. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2007.

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    Explores Fuller’s sometimes perceptive and sometimes idealistically inaccurate explanations of the political events in revolutionary Rome. Fuller responded intensely to the aesthetic experience of the city itself but drew on a limited and shrinking source of information about the shifting politics of the revolution.

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  • Reynolds, Larry J. European Revolutions and the American Literary Renaissance. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988.

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    A groundbreaking work that elucidated the impact of the 1848 European revolutions on the most important American authors. Emphasizes the contrasting reactions of Fuller and Emerson to these events, noting the increasing passion and stridency of Fuller’s support for the Roman revolution in her New-York Tribune dispatches. Judges those writings as her most accomplished literary works.

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  • Reynolds, Larry J. “Subjective Vision, Romantic History, and the Return of the ‘Real’: The Case of Margaret Fuller and the Roman Republic.” South Central Review 21.1 (2004): 1–17.

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    Argues that Fuller viewed the Roman revolution of 1848 through the precepts of idealism—noble thoughts generating noble deeds—but also wrote movingly of the suffering that resulted from the violence, qualifying the noble ideas she had embraced.

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Topics and Intellectual Contexts

The range of issues that Fuller addressed in her writings and correspondence, her continuing growth as a thinker, and the varied and dramatic life that she lived has all generated a rich and diverse scholarly discussion in several important directions. Her work and her life were innovative, and a sense of her modernity has intensified in recent discussions of her work. Her relationship with Transcendentalism remains an essential approach to understanding here, but it has been supplemented with extensive analysis of her views on gender and feminism, her position in the reform movements of her day (including the antislavery cause) and her accessibility as a subject in queer studies. Her struggle with religious belief, her interest in the occult, and her openness to the emerging science of the day are important spheres of discussion, each of which intermeshes with the others. Her travels, and her inclination to make her travels the subject of her writing, have placed her as an important figure in the emerging interdisciplinary field of travel studies. And, of critical importance, her experience in Italy and her place as a significant transatlantic intellectual, are drawing much important recent commentary.

Transcendentalism

The Transcendentalist movement began as a dissenting segment of New England Unitarianism and quickly expanded into a loose collection of aspiring thinkers interested in philosophical idealism, literary experimentation, and political reform. Fuller was a central figure in the movement, providing a strong presence as a literary critic and translator, and channeling Transcendentalist ideas toward the question of women’s rights. Fuller’s feminist adaptation of the Emersonian concept of self-culture is explained in Robinson 1982 and Crouse 2005. Zwarg 1995 in Gender, Feminism, and Women’s Rights explains the significance of the Fuller-Emerson dialogue in the development of Fuller’s role as a theorist of modern feminism, while Bean 1994 and Cole 1999 note the divide between Fuller and Emerson on questions of women’s rights. Histories of the Transcendentalist movement and Fuller’s place in it are available in Schulz 1997, which treats Fuller as one of the movement’s three key figures; Gura 2007, which emphasizes the egalitarian values of Fuller’s public Conversations for women and her Woman in the Nineteenth Century; and Packer 2007, which emphasizes the significance of Fuller’s work for the Dial and the New-York Tribune.

  • Bean, Judith Mattson. “Texts from Conversation: Margaret Fuller’s Influence on Emerson.” In Studies in the American Renaissance 1994. Edited by Joel Myerson, 227–244. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994.

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    Description of three phases in the dialogue between Fuller and Emerson, emphasizing Fuller’s impact on several Emerson essays. Argues that Emerson’s admiration for her thinking peaked in 1843, after which he reacted somewhat coolly to her developing feminist views.

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  • Cole, Phyllis. “Woman Questions: Emerson, Fuller, and New England Reform.” In Transient and Permanent: The Transcendentalist Movement and Its Contexts. Edited by Charles Capper and Conrad Edick Wright, 408–446. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society and Northeastern University Press, 1999.

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    Fuller and Emerson shared an interest in female genius as the basis for a larger series of Conversations on women’s rights and progressive social reform. While Fuller’s feminist advocacy increased, this shows that Emerson remained tolerant but not deeply engaged in supporting women’s rights until Caroline Healey Dall later persuaded him to add his voice.

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  • Crouse, Jamie S. “‘If They Have a Moral Power’: Margaret Fuller, Transcendentalism, and the Question of Women’s Moral Nature.” American Transcendental Quarterly 19.4 (2005): 259–279.

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    Maintains that Fuller’s argument for women’s rights was grounded in the Transcendentalist doctrine of self-culture. Explains that she departed from other Transcendentalists by rejecting essentialist conceptions of women’s superior moral nature and developing a more modern theory of socially produced gender norms.

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  • Gura, Phillip. American Transcendentalism: A History. New York: Hill and Wang, 2007.

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    Important history of Transcendentalism as a reform movement that upheld egalitarian ideals and a more democratic direction of the United States. Places Fuller’s Conversations for women, her “epochal book” Woman in the Nineteenth Century, and her reform-oriented essays for the New-York Tribune into an account of the movement.

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  • Packer, Barbara L. The Transcendentalists. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2007.

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    Important history of Transcendentalism as a movement evolving from literary and religious roots toward political engagement. Emphasizes the importance of Fuller’s efforts to establish critical standards as editor of the Dial, and connects Woman in the Nineteenth Century with her work for the New-York Tribune as a sign of the political orientation of the Transcendentalists in the 1840s.

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  • Robinson, David M. “Margaret Fuller and the Transcendental Ethos: Woman in the Nineteenth Century.” Publications of the Modern Language Association 97.1 (1982): 83–98.

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    Traces the origins of Fuller’s feminism to the Unitarian religious conception of self-culture, which she absorbed from William Ellery Channing, and in more radical versions, from Goethe and Emerson. Fuller transformed the idea of a quest for women’s self-development into a demand for women’s self-expression and legal rights, thus politicizing self-culture as a principle of social reform.

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  • Robinson, David M. “The Movement’s Medium: Fuller, Emerson, and the Dial.” Revue Française d’Études Américaines 3.140 (2014): 24–36.

    DOI: 10.3917/rfea.140.0024Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discussion of the goals of Fuller and Emerson in founding the Dial in recognition that “Transcendentalism” had emerged as a literary and social movement. The essay emphasizes the opportunity that the journal offered Fuller to publish her work, including experimental forms of fiction which offer new insights into Fuller’s character and values.

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  • Schulz, Dieter. Amerikanischer Transzendentalismus: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller. Darmstadt, Germany: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1997.

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    Analysis of Transcendentalist thinking that positions Fuller as one of three leading voices of the movement, along with Emerson and Thoreau. Sets out two essential principles of Transcendentalism as building or self-development (“Bauen”) and vision or seeing (“Sehen”), principles that carry both personal and social implications. Text in German.

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Religion, Mysticism, and the Occult

Fuller experienced moments of deep spirituality, but remained unconventionally religious. Like most of the Transcendentalists, she was heavily influenced by the Unitarian theologian William Ellery Channing, who described the religious life as an evolving effort to realize a “likeness to God.” Fuller describes a moment of deep religious illumination in the 1830s, and in the later 1830s and 1840s became interested in various forms of mystical spirituality including Mesmerism. See Steele 2001 in General Overviews, and Steele 1989 for important analyses of the convergence of Fuller’s spirituality and her quest for an empowered feminist self. Mills 2006 includes Fuller in its account of the impact of Mesmerism on prominent American authors, and Lott 1999 discusses the veiled female figure as an important symbol in Mesmerism and other mystical traditions. Beam 2012 describes Fuller’s effort to construct a feminist identity through a pantheistic vision influenced by Mesmerism, Emerson’s Oversoul, and other spiritualistic concepts. Lott 2002 traces Fuller’s biblical studies in the early 1830s. Since Mesmerism has connections with 19th-century theories of science and healing, see Science and Medicine.

  • Beam, Dorri. “Fuller, Feminism, Pantheism.” In Margaret Fuller and Her Circles. Edited by Brigitte Bailey, Katheryn P. Viens, and Conrad Edick Wright, 52–76, 256–260. Durham, UK: University of New Hampshire Press, 2012.

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    Discerning analysis of the Transcendentalist Oversoul and the Mesmeric trance state as avenues to conceptualizing femininity as a pantheistic source of power. Links Fuller with Elizabeth Oakes Smith and Mary Clemmer, fiction writers whose depiction of the soul was an idealistically grounded concept of feminine metamorphic energy.

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  • Lott, Deshae. “Preaching Mysticism: Margaret Fuller and the Veiled Lady.” Studia Mystica 20 (1999): 57–112.

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    Explores the veil as a symbol of mystical insight in Fuller’s work, tracing its implications in Christianity, Mesmerism, Egyptian mythology and other sources, as well as connecting it with Fuller’s place in 19th-century women’s spirituality.

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  • Lott, Deshae. “On the Margins and in the Margins: Margaret Fuller and the Testaments.” Resources for American Literary Study 28 (2002): 83–109.

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    A discussion and transcription of Fuller’s marginal notes on the Old Testament made between 1833 and 1835, a period in which she struggled to clarify her religious outlook.

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  • Mills, Bruce. Poe, Fuller, and the Mesmeric Arts: Transition States in the American Renaissance. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2006.

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    Explains Fuller’s interest in Mesmerism as part of a cultural reconception of the dimensions of human knowledge, including discussions of Edgar Allan Poe, Lydia Maria Child, and Walt Whitman. Provides extensive information on Fuller’s reading in Mesmerism, and links it to her interest in states of intellectual and physical transition which were both illuminating and healing.

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  • Steele, Jeffrey. “‘A Tale of Mizraim’: A Forgotten Story by Margaret Fuller.” New England Quarterly 62.1 (1989): 82–104.

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    The text of a lost 1841 story by Fuller, with an accompanying analysis. Notes the connections of the story with several other strands of Fuller’s writing in the early 1840s, notably the mystical and myth-infused Dial stories, “The Magnolia of Lake Pontchartrain” and “Leila.”

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Science and Medicine

Fuller was not herself inclined to scientific work or thought, but she took note of emerging scientific ideas of her age, particularly electricity and magnetism, that could offer new philosophical perspectives on the mind/body connection. Davis 2000 provides an analysis of Fuller’s interest in this problem, and Manson 2006, Hurst 2010, and Blumenthal 2015 offer details on her interest in Mesmerism, magnetism, and electricity as forms of spiritual and bodily power. These essays addressing Mesmerism in this section should be read in conjunction with other discussions of Fuller’s interests in mysticism: Steele 2001 in General Overviews, and Mills 2006 and Beam 2012 in Religion, Mysticism, and the Occult. Fuller’s attention to Goethe’s scientific work on color and visual perception is described in Haronian 1998, and Saltz 2010 notes her response to the new technology of photography.

  • Blumenthal, Rachel A. “Margaret Fuller’s Medical Transcendentalism.” ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 61.4 (2015): 553–595.

    DOI: 10.1353/esq.2015.0021Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discussion of Fuller’s recognition of the physiological grounding of emerging 19th-century psychology. Fuller’s medical thinking was grounded in theories of magnetism, electricity, and mesmerism of the period, and there were close links between Fuller’s feminism and her conception of electricity and the nervous system.

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  • Davis, Cynthia J. Bodily and Narrative Forms: The Influence of Medicine on American Literature, 1845–1915. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000.

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    Exploration of the impact of emerging views of medicine on 19th-century American literature, which includes a discussion of Fuller’s effort to formulate a theory of gender, and to reformulate the body/soul dichotomy. Davis describes Fuller’s migraine headaches as a source of both intense suffering and eventual transcendence, suggesting her deeply held conviction that the body and soul are inseparable.

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  • Haronian, Mary-Jo. “Margaret Fuller’s Visions.” ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 44.1–2 (1998): 35–59.

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    Analyzes Fuller’s reading of Goethe’s Theory of Color, which taught her to recognize how the observer influences the process of observation. Fuller’s awareness of this principle influenced her descriptions of western places, events, and social interactions in Summer on the Lakes.

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  • Hurst, C. Michael. “Bodies in Transition: Transcendental Feminism in Margaret Fuller’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century.” Arizona Quarterly 66.4 (2010): 1–32.

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    A well-informed analysis of Michael Faraday’s theory of interconnected matter organized by fields of energy as the basis for a philosophy of electricity that helped Fuller envision a unified theory of mind and body. Electricity was crucial in her reformulation of gender roles and her claim for women’s power.

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  • Manson, Deborah. “‘The Trance of the Ecstatica’: Margaret Fuller, Animal Magnetism, and the Transcendent Female Body.” Literature and Medicine 25.2 (2006): 298–324.

    DOI: 10.1353/lm.2007.0020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Important analysis of Fuller’s interest in Mesmerism as a means of holistic healing. Fuller’s painful spinal misalignment and persistent headaches led to her seeking Mesmeric or magnetic treatments that provided relief. Her interest in Mesmerism merged with her interest in mystical states and informed a new sense of women’s empowerment evident in her feminist writings.

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  • Saltz, Laura. “The Magnetism of a Photograph: Daguerreotypy and Margaret Fuller’s Conceptions of Gender and Sexuality.” ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 56.2 (2010): 107–134.

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    Examines Fuller’s reaction to a daguerreotype image of her friend Anna Loring, and the network of emerging conceptions of magnetism, electricity, light, and photography that contextualize her response. Shows how these new technologies and scientific concepts were shaping Fuller’s theories of gender, sexuality, and women’s power.

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Progressive Social Reform

Fuller is most prominent historically as a crusader for women’s rights, but this was one of several important reform movements of her day. Garvey 2001 places her support for women’s rights in the context of the political turn of Transcendentalism in the early 1840s, and Tuchinsky 2004 connects Fuller’s developing politics with her growing understanding of the public responsibility of intellectuals to the perfection of democracy. Von Frank 2013 demonstrates the kinship of Fuller’s feminism and her antislavery position, and Avallone 1997 explains the connection between Fuller’s feminism and her concern for the condition of the American Indian. Fuller’s growing politicization during her European travels is discussed in Bailey 2012, which notes her growing concern with reform issues during her visit to Great Britain. Phillips 2009 shows the impact of Adam Mickiewicz on both her feminism and her openness to utopian socialism, and Fleischmann 2015 analyzes Fuller’s political position within the rise of 19th-century socialism.

  • Avallone, Charlene. “The Red Roots of White Feminism in Margaret Fuller’s Writings.” In Doing Feminism: Teaching and Research in the Academy. Edited by Mary Anderson, Lisa Fine, Kathleen Geissler, and Joyce R. Ladenson, 135–164. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1997.

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    Connects the development of Fuller’s feminism to her interest in Native American women and their examples of collective action. Avallone suggests Lydia Maria Child as a key influence on Fuller’s knowledge of and stance toward Native American culture.

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  • Bailey, Brigitte. “Margaret Fuller’s New-York Tribune Dispatches from Great Britain: Modern Geography and the Print Culture of Reform.” In Transatlantic Women: Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers and Great Britain. Edited by Beth L. Lueck, Brigitte Bailey, and Lucinda L. Damon-Bach, 49–70. Durham, UK: University of New Hampshire Press, 2012.

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    Describes the focus on modern social reform that characterized Fuller’s three-month tour of Britain and her Tribune reports. She visited areas related to industrial expansion and made every effort to visit editors, publishers, and journalists associated with social reform efforts.

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  • Fleischmann, Fritz. “Margaret Fuller’s Socialism.” Nineteenth-Century Prose 42.2 (2015): 181–210.

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    Detailed analysis of Fuller’s political stance among the emerging versions of socialism in the mid-19th century. Fleischmann makes excellent use of Fuller’s New York articles in the Tribune and her later letters and dispatches from Europe to show that inclusiveness and mutuality were her primary political values. She is best described as a militant “utopian socialist” who retained “hope” of the kind later described by the social theorist Ernst Bloch.

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  • Garvey, T. Gregory. “Margaret Fuller’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century and the Rhetoric of Social Reform in the 1840s.” ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 47.2 (2001): 113–133.

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    Connects Fuller’s treatise on women’s rights with the emerging discourse on social reform in the early 1840s, noting her role in directing Transcendentalist energies toward the realm of politics.

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  • Phillips, Ursula. “Apocalyptic Feminism: Adam Mickiewicz and Margaret Fuller.” Slavonic and East European Review 87.1 (2009): 1–38.

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    Well-informed analysis of the relationship between Fuller and the Polish poet and patriot Mickiewicz, whom Fuller met in France. Convincingly shows how Mickiewicz’s theory of the sacredness and power of women influenced Fuller’s deepening feminist ideas and attuned her to utopian socialism in France and Italy. An important essay on Fuller’s European experience.

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  • Tuchinsky, Adam-Max. “‘Her Cause Against Herself’: Margaret Fuller, Emersonian Democracy, and the Nineteenth-Century Public Intellectual.” American Nineteenth-Century History 5.1 (2004): 66–99.

    DOI: 10.1080/1466465042000222213Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Illuminating account of Fuller’s growing understanding of the public responsibilities of the engaged intellectual through her engagement with the Dial and the New-York Tribune, where she embraced egalitarian reform efforts. An important explanation of the importance of Transcendentalism to American democratic theory and practice.

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  • Von Frank, Albert J. “Margaret Fuller and Antislavery: ‘A Cause Identical.’” In Margaret Fuller and Her Circles. Edited by Brigitte Bailey, Katheryn P. Viens, and Conrad Edick Wright, 128–147, 271–277. Durham, UK: University of New Hampshire Press, 2013.

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    Historically informed and philosophically insightful treatment of Fuller and antislavery. Fuller’s cautious endorsement of antislavery principles, and antipathy to its rhetoric, gave way to the recognition that feminism and abolitionism were kindred causes in the mid-1840s. Revolutionary Italy gave her new perspective on the United States and brought her to a full embrace of abolitionism in 1848.

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Friendship

Fuller was at the center of the Transcendentalist efforts to revitalize friendship through more sincerity, openness, and closeness. Her relationship with Emerson, intense though ultimately incomplete, is one of the most significant literary friendships in the 19th century. That relationship is discussed in detail in Capper 1992 and Capper 2007 in Biographies, Zwarg 1995 in Gender, Feminism, and Women’s Rights, and Myerson 1973 (cited under Manuscript Journals). Steele 1999 compares the Fuller-Emerson friendship with that of Emerson and Thoreau. The circle of five friends that Fuller formed in the late 1830s with Emerson, Caroline Sturgis, Samuel Gray Ward, and Anna Barker had a powerful impact on all concerned, and its breakup due to Barker’s engagement to Ward was a severe emotional blow to Fuller. These events are analyzed in Strauch 1968, which links them with several of Emerson’s poems; Crain 2001, which links them with Emerson’s essay “Friendship”; Tilton 1987, which explains Fuller’s misunderstanding of Ward; and Hoppe 2015, which connects Fuller’s coterie with her aesthetic values. Lawrence 2011 illustrates the importance of Fuller’s friendship with Sturgis, and Dedmond 1988 provides an edition of Sturgis’s surviving letters to Fuller. Packer 2000 describes the importance of Fuller’s friendship with James Freeman Clarke, an important dialogue in the Transcendentalist movement.

  • Crain, Caleb. American Sympathy: Men, Friendship, and Literature in the New Nation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001.

    DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300083323.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Insightful account (pp. 177–237) of Fuller’s efforts to bring Emerson into her circle of friendship with Caroline Sturgis, Anna Barker, and Samuel Gray Ward. Shows that the short-lived intensity and eventual collapse of this circle had a powerful impact on both Fuller and Emerson, and influenced Emerson’s essay “Friendship.”

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  • Dedmond, Francis B. “The Letters of Caroline Sturgis to Margaret Fuller.” In Studies in the American Renaissance 1988. Edited by Joel Myerson, 201–251. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1988.

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    Eighteen extant letters from Sturgis to Fuller, written from 1841 through 1846, are presented with an informative introduction and extensive annotation. Although an incomplete record of their correspondence, since many letters did not survive, remains an important resource for the understanding of this crucial friendship.

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  • Hoppe, Jason. “‘So much soul here I do not need a book’: Idealization and the Aesthetics of Margaret Fuller’s Coterie, 1839–42.” ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 61.3 (2015): 362–409.

    DOI: 10.1353/esq.2015.0012Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A deeply researched and perceptive analysis of the four friends (Emerson, Samuel Ward, Anna Barker, and Caroline Sturgis) that Fuller brought together in 1839 as a literary and artistic coterie devoted to deep friendship and interpersonal communication. Hoppe links the group to Fuller’s aesthetics, showing that she conceived the group as her artistic creation in which the individuals were bound to play the roles which she had envisioned.

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  • Lawrence, Kathleen. “Soul Sisters and the Sister Arts: Margaret Fuller, Caroline Sturgis, and Their Private World of Love and Art.” ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 57.1–2 (2011): 79–104.

    DOI: 10.1353/esq.2011.0020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Important account of Fuller’s friendship with Caroline Sturgis centering on their intense emotional and erotic encounters in 1844, which strengthened Fuller at a crucial turning point in her life and career. Their relationship was also marked by the exchange of poems and drawings, exemplifying the interconnecting strands of friendship and aesthetic experience vital to Transcendentalism.

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  • Packer, Barbara. “Dangerous Acquaintances: The Correspondence of Margaret Fuller and James Freeman Clarke.” ELH 67.3 (2000): 801–818.

    DOI: 10.1353/elh.2000.0026Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Perceptive study of the correspondence between Fuller and Clarke and of the nature of their mutually influential friendship. Despite their shared generosity and regard, conventional gender roles presented difficult but not insurmountable barriers to their relationship. Observes the stylistic quality of Fuller’s letters to Clarke and the importance of his affirmation of her literary aspirations.

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  • Steele, Jeffrey. “Transcendental Friendship: Emerson, Fuller, and Thoreau.” In Cambridge Companion to Emerson. Edited by Joel Porte and Saundra Morris, 121–139. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

    DOI: 10.1017/CCOL052149611XSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses Emerson’s idealized and somewhat austere view of friendship, as well as the role of Fuller and Thoreau in modifying his views. Provides a useful assessment of the seriousness with which the Transcendentalists explored friendship, and shows Fuller’s efforts to enhance the mutuality of her relationship with Emerson.

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  • Strauch, Carl F. “‘Hatred’s Swift Repulsions’: Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Others.” Studies in Romanticism 7 (1968): 65–103.

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    Study of Emerson’s correspondence with Fuller and Sturgis and its impact on his poetry, with an account of his seeming rebuff of Fuller’s romantic advances. This version of the friendship should be compared with that of later critics, notably Zwarg 1995 in Gender, Feminism, and Women’s Rights and Capper 1992 in Biographies.

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  • Tilton, Eleanor. “The True Romance of Anna Hazard Barker and Samuel Gray Ward.” In Studies in the American Renaissance 1987. Edited by Joel Myerson, 53–72. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1987.

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    Using unpublished Ward family correspondence, establishes that Ward’s courtship of Barker was lengthy, and that he had no romantic designs on Fuller. Casts a new light on Fuller’s crisis in the aftermath of the Ward-Barker engagement.

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Gender, Feminism, and Women’s Rights

Fuller’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century placed her at the forefront of American advocates for women’s rights. Her historical importance lies in the momentum that her ideas gave to the women’s movement, and the depth of her analysis of what we now call gender. Zwarg 1995 discusses Fuller’s anticipation of modern theories of feminism and gender. For the immediate predecessors and contemporaries among whom Fuller developed her ideas, see Conrad 1976 on the 19th-century American women influenced by Romanticism. Tonkovich 1997 compares Fuller with another 19th-century American woman author: Catherine Beecher. Kelley 2008 is on the early institutions that supported the education of women. Wach 2005 is on the influence of Mary Wollstonecraft, and Cole 2013 looks at the influence of Wollstonecraft and Sarah Grimké. Robinson 1982 in Transcendentalism describes Fuller’s adaptation of the ideology of self-culture to support women’s rights. Beam 2010 notes Fuller’s contribution to a literature of penetrating emotion to express women’s experience. Matteson 2013 describes Fuller’s changing views about female chastity.

  • Beam, Dorri. Style, Gender, and Fantasy in Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writing. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511780059Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Important revisionist study of the idea of the gendered soul and the emotional intensity of linguistic expression in the work of Fuller and other 19th-century women authors. Reveals heretofore unrecognized convergences of Transcendentalism and sentimentalism in women’s writing.

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  • Cole, Phyllis. “Fuller’s Lawsuit and Feminist History.” In Margaret Fuller and Her Circles. Edited by Brigitte Bailey, Katheryn P. Viens, and Conrad Edick Wright, 11–31, 248–254. Durham, UK: University of New Hampshire Press, 2013.

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    Identifies Mary Wollstonecraft and Sarah Grimké as formative influences on Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Sees Wollstonecraft as Fuller’s guide to a feminist adaptation of the Romantic conception of the aspiring soul, and Grimké as her guide to women’s legal entitlement to equality.

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  • Conrad, Susan Phinney. Perish the Thought: Intellectual Women in Romantic America, 1830–1860. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976.

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    Cogent introduction to Fuller as an “interpreter of romanticism” (pp. 45–92). Places her among a group of emerging female intellectuals in the American antebellum period and presents Fuller’s life and achievement within the framework of Romanticism in Europe and the United States.

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  • Kelley, Mary. Learning to Stand and Speak: Women, Education, and Public Life in America’s Republic. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008.

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    Narrative of the rise of women intellectuals in America, with a description of Fuller’s public Conversations as an outgrowth of women’s reading circles and an analysis of Woman in the Nineteenth Century as an innovative statement on women’s rights, grounded in Fuller’s commitment to women’s history as an emancipating strategy.

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  • Matteson, John. “‘Woes. . . of Which We Know Nothing’: Fuller and the Problem of Feminine Virtue.” In Margaret Fuller and Her Circles. Edited by Brigitte Bailey, Katheryn P. Viens, and Conrad Edick Wright, 32–51, 254–256. Durham, UK: University of New Hampshire Press, 2013.

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    Well-informed discussion of Fuller’s thinking about chastity as an element of female purity. Notes the profound impact of her 1844 visits with imprisoned women. Their experiences led Fuller to recognize the power of social circumstances in the judgment of character and made an important impact on Woman in the Nineteenth Century.

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  • Tonkovich, Nicole. “Her Father’s Best Boy: Catherine Beecher and Margaret Fuller.” In Domesticity with a Difference: The Nonfiction of Catherine Beecher, Sarah J. Hale, Fanny Fern, and Margaret Fuller. By Nicole Tonkovich, 3–25. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1997.

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    In a chapter comparing Fuller with Catherine Beecher, the author notes the similarities of their early family experience and emphasizes their shared concerns over the economic plight of single women and the need to reform institutions such as family, school, and community that developed women’s sense of their roles and capabilities.

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  • Wach, Howard M. “A Boston Vindication: Margaret Fuller and Caroline Dall Read Mary Wollstonecraft.” Massachusetts Historical Review 7 (2005): 3–35.

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    Although they portrayed her as a flawed and victimized woman, both Fuller and Caroline Healey Dall embraced Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman despite the Victorian-era taboo on her defiance of conventional codes of female sexual behavior.

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  • Zwarg, Christina. Feminist Conversations: Fuller, Emerson, and the Play of Reading. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995.

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    Illuminating study of Fuller’s development of protomodern feminism from her mutually productive dialogues with Emerson, as well as her exploration of the French utopian theorist Charles Fourier. Finds that this extended conversation brought Fuller to an advanced understanding of gender and a challenging theory of active reading and dialogue.

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Gay/Lesbian Studies and Queer Theory

Fuller’s depiction of the self as comprising both masculine and feminine aspects in Woman in the Nineteenth Century suggests her innovative conception of gender, which not only aided her own quest for self-understanding but also provided grounding for her advocacy of women’s rights. Her ideas and her life experience have also posed important questions about her sexuality and her views on gay and lesbian experience. Card 1995 discusses Fuller as one of several prominent 18th-, 19th-, and early-20th-century women authors whose writings and experiences shed light on lesbian ethics. Capper 1992 in Biographies notes Fuller’s attraction to Anna Barker and her journal comment: “It is so true that a woman may be in love with a woman and a man with a man,” but doubts that her attraction expressed “a conscious wish for homosexual experience” (p. 281). Murray 2008 in Biographies includes a discussion of Fuller’s interest in the life and works of George Sand (pp. 145–50), who “boldly broke with traditional thought by dressing as a man, taking lovers like a man, and writing about love between women” (p. 145). Crain 2001 in Friendship discusses the same-sex sympathies and attractions among Fuller’s circle of close friends in the late 1830s, and Lawrence 2011 in Friendship discusses Fuller’s intense friendship with Caroline Sturgis, referring to material in Fuller’s journals on the erotic nature of the relationship. Martin and Edwards 2015 considers Fuller’s Günderode in the context of female same-sex desire, and Wood 1993 links Fuller’s narrative style and use of persona with a stance that resists heterosexuality as a norm. Greven 2012 reads Summer in the Lakes as a work that discloses Fuller’s recognition of same-sex attraction and its implications for gender theory. Loeffelholz 2000 calls attention to two Fuller essays that have relevance to readings of Fuller grounded in queer theory.

  • Card, Claudia. Lesbian Choices. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995.

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    In chapter on “Lesbian Ethics” (pp. 58–78), provides important historical context for analyzing Fuller’s sexual identity, discussing her with Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Emma Goldman, and Virginia Woolf as key women intellectuals and authors who were “aware of lesbian possibilities, had generally positive attitudes toward them, and found them interesting and occasionally worth defending” (p. 65). This chapter is part of a larger narrative in which Card traces “how I learned to speak with my own voice as a lesbian feminist philosopher with a certain set of histories” (p. 1).

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  • Greven, David. “New Girls and Bandit Brides: Female Narcissism and Lesbian Desire in Margaret Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes.” Legacy 29.1 (2012): 37–61.

    DOI: 10.5250/legacy.29.1.0037Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focuses on the figure of Mariana as an important indicator that Summer on the Lakes “is a crucial text for the question of same-sex desire in Fuller’s work” (p. 38). Fuller’s depiction of Mariana as “an intransigent, nonconformist, but also persecuted adolescent girl” (p. 42) suggests “the experience of those who violated the standard and enforced norms of gendered behavior” (p. 42). The narcissistic elements of Mariana’s personality also point to connections “between female narcissism and female same-sex desire” (p. 49).

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  • Loeffelholz, Mary. “Essential, Portable, Mythical Margaret Fuller.” In Challenging Boundaries: Gender and Periodization. Edited by Joyce W. Warren and Margaret Dickie, 159–184. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2000.

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    Discussion of how changes in the understanding of the chronological periods of literary history might influence the critical reputation of Fuller. Cites Fuller’s essays “Bettine Brentano and Her Friend Günderode” and “A Dialogue” as texts potentially disruptive to settled views of Fuller’s sexuality and perception of gender. “A Dialogue,” in particular, “uncannily anticipates later nineteenth-and twentieth-century tactics of queer reading” (p. 177).

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  • Martin, Robert K., and Justin T. Edwards. “Concord Companions: Margaret Fuller, Friendship, and Desire.” Canadian Review of American Studies 45.1 (2015): 83–100.

    DOI: 10.3138/cras.2015.S05Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analysis of Fuller’s translation of Elizabeth von Arnim’s Die Günderode in the context of works by Emerson and Thoreau on friendship, to describe “the early to mid-nineteenth-century continuum between female friendship and same-sex desire” (p. 83). The authors suggest that Fuller may have seen Arnim’s text as an example of female same-sex desire, and also note her interest in George Sand as an exemplary “woman of passion” (p. 96).

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  • Wood, Mary E. “‘With Ready Eye’: Margaret Fuller and Lesbianism in Nineteenth-Century American Literature.” American Literature 65.1 (1993): 1–18.

    DOI: 10.2307/2928077Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines Woman in the Nineteenth Century as a text written against conventional forms of narrative that reinforce heterosexual norms. Argues that Fuller employs a changing narrative persona and shifting perspectives to open possibilities for alternative conceptions of gender and sexuality.

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Italy and the Roman Revolution of 1848

Fuller’s life in Italy, where she became a mother, a wife, a transatlantic reporter, and a revolutionary, has become the most significant front in Fuller criticism. This work has been enabled by Reynolds and Belasco’s complete edition of her dispatches from Europe in Fuller 1991b, cited under Publications, the completion of Hudspeth’s edition of her correspondence (see under Correspondence), and the publication of the second volume of Capper’s comprehensive biography (see Capper 2007 in Biographies). Dubois 2003 provides an insightful and well-crafted overview of Fuller’s Italian experience, and Chevigny 2007 shows how Italy helped fulfill Fuller’s search for mutuality and community. Von Mehren 2005 discusses the evidence of Fuller’s 1848 marriage to Giovanni Ossoli. Tuchinsky 2013 provides an account of Fuller’s political perspective on the Roman revolution of 1848, and Reynolds 2011 shows how Fuller’s support of the armed struggle for Italian nationhood influenced American authors and their view of the Civil War. Dimock 2009 notes Fuller’s historical sympathy in assessing the events of her Italian experience.

  • Chevigny, Bell Gale. “Mutual Interpretation: Margaret Fuller’s Journeys in Italy.” In Margaret Fuller: Transatlantic Crossings in a Revolutionary Age. Edited by Charles Capper and Cristina Giorcelli, 99–113. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2007.

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    Describes Fuller’s increasing interest in reciprocal interpretation and understanding, a process in which recognition of others and self-understanding are interwoven. Shows how Fuller’s experiences in Italy best fulfilled this ideal, making her both Italian and more completely American.

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  • Dimock, Wai Chee. Through Other Continents: American Literature across Deep Time. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009.

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    Study of the chronological awareness in American literature that considers Fuller’s reference to the Egyptian Goddess Isis in Woman in the Nineteenth Century as a sign of her recognition of the ultimate power of human fallibility when seen through the lens of sympathetic historical memory. Fuller uses that same sensibility when she confronts what she believes will be the productive failure of the brief Roman republic of 1848.

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  • Dubois, Ellen. “Margaret Fuller in Italy.” Women’s Writing 10.2 (2003): 287–305.

    DOI: 10.1080/09699080300200273Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Perceptive analysis of Fuller’s experience in Italy, with useful insight into the importance of Fuller’s friendships with Giuseppe Mazzini, George Sand, and Adam Mickiewicz. Views her marriage to Giovanni Ossoli and the birth of their son as important steps in her continuing emotional maturation.

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  • Reynolds, Larry J. Righteous Violence: Revolution, Slavery, and the American Renaissance. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2011.

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    Argues that Fuller’s support of violent means to respond to the oppression of Italy became influential in the growing willingness of American antislavery advocates to accept violence as a path to the end of slavery. Cites Mazzini as an important political influence on Fuller.

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  • Tuchinsky, Adam-Max. “‘More anon’: American Socialism and Margaret Fuller’s 1848.” In Margaret Fuller and Her Circles. Edited by Brigitte Bailey, Katheryn P. Viens, and Conrad Edick Wright, 100–127, 265–271. Durham, UK: University of New Hampshire Press, 2013.

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    Important revisionist essay on Fuller’s political philosophy. Describes Fuller as “radical republican” and “liberal socialist.” Her socialism was “ameliorative” rather than revolutionary, or grounded in class struggle. She viewed the Roman revolution as a democratic nationalist uprising and expressed a growing anticlericalism. She made no dramatic break from the religiously tinged Associationism of William Henry Channing and other reform-minded Transcendentalists.

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  • Von Mehren, Joan. “Margaret Fuller, the Marchese Giovanni Ossoli, and the Marriage Question: Considering the Research of Dr. Roberto Colzi.” Resources for American Literary Study 30 (2005): 104–143.

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    Summation of the extensive archival work of Roberto Colzi on the question of Fuller’s marriage in Italy. Evidence suggests that Fuller and Giovanni Ossoli were married in the spring of 1848.

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Travel Studies

Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes and her personal letters and New-York Tribune dispatches from Europe are important contributions to 19th-century travel writing. Stowe 1994 places both works within that context in an important study of travel and 19th-century American culture. Smith 1991 notes the impact of British travel narratives in Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes, and Roberson 2011 notes Fuller’s portrayal of Native Americans in that work. Russo 2007 places Fuller’s reaction to Italy in a larger context of New England travelers to Italy, and Kolk 2005 describes Fuller’s development of voice in her letters and essays on European travels. See also Summer on the Lakes and New-York Tribune Dispatches from Europe.

  • Kolk, Heidi. “Tropes of Suffering and Postures of Authority in Margaret Fuller’s European Travel Letters.” Biography 28.3 (2005): 377–413.

    DOI: 10.1353/bio.2005.0064Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Fuller’s development of a resistant persona in her travel writing, whose against-the-grain perspective challenges the conventional narration of the travelogue. Provides an extensive analysis of Fuller’s dispatches and private correspondence from Italy.

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  • Roberson, Susan L. Antebellum American Women Writers and the Road. New York: Routledge, 2011.

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    Shows how Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes records both her sympathy for Native American women and the revision of her romanticized view of them. Fuller fails, however, to give voice or identity to these women. Her depiction of their plight nevertheless questions patriarchal and imperialist power.

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  • Russo, John Paul. “The Unbroken Charm: Margaret Fuller, G. S. Hillard, and the American Tradition of Travel Writing on Italy.” In Margaret Fuller: Transatlantic Crossings in a Revolutionary Age. Edited by Charles Capper and Cristina Giorcelli, 124–155. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2007.

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    Informative discussion of the accounts of a succession of New England travelers in Italy, noting Hillard’s Six Months in Italy (1853) as a key text in this tradition. Contrasts Fuller’s whole-hearted conversion to Italy with the equivocal reaction of many New England visitors who were both impressed and put off by their Italian travels.

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  • Smith, Susan Belasco. “Summer on the Lakes: Margaret Fuller and the British.” Resources for American Literary Study 17 (1991): 191–207.

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    Describes the contrast between British realism and American idealism in travel writing and Fuller’s attempts to strike a balance between the British focus on actual social conditions and the more romantic American focus on the potential of democratic life.

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  • Stowe, William W. Going Abroad: European Travel in Nineteenth-Century American Culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994.

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    Considers Summer on the Lakes and Fuller’s dispatches from Europe in the framework of 19th-century travel writing. The polyvocality of the genre provided Fuller with a flexible medium for cultural observation in the American West. In Europe, Fuller was able to adapt the form to express her growing commitment to the revolution in Rome.

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Intertextual Associations and Influences

Fuller’s absorption of the work of her literary contemporaries, and her presence in the work of contemporary and later authors has generated a number of excellent critical studies. Avallone 2013 and Avallone 2015 together offer a discerning discussion of George Sand’s influence on Fuller, while Blanchard 1987 and Cook 2004 show the importance of Germaine de Staël. For an outstanding discussion of Hawthorne’s complex reaction to Fuller see Mitchell 1998. Cook 2004 discusses Fuller as a model for Hawthorne’s Hester Prynne. Rowe 1993 and Giorcelli 2007 discuss James’s somewhat troubling representations of Fuller in his fiction.

  • Avallone, Charlene. “Circles Around George Sand: Margaret Fuller and the Dynamics of Transnational Reception.” In Margaret Fuller and Her Circles. Edited by Brigitte Bailey, Katheryn P. Viens, and Conrad Edick Wright, 206–228, 287–296. Durham, UK: University of New Hampshire Press, 2013.

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    Richly informative account of Fuller’s gradual recognition of Sand, and of international communities of reading that shaped Sand’s 19th-century reception. Notes Fuller’s initial reservations about Sand and locates a shift in her attitude in 1845 as French socialism became more accepted in American intellectual circles. Fuller’s admiration remained heavily qualified even after she met Sand in France.

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  • Avallone, Charlene. “Margaret Fuller and ‘the best living prose writer,’ George Sand: A Revisionist Account.” Nineteenth-Century Prose 42.3 (2015): 93–124.

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    Emphasizes Fuller’s interest in Sand’s use of idealized characterization to express her inner life in fiction. Sand’s experimental works abandoned linear plots for fantastic dialogues that had an important influence of Fuller’s experimental Dial narratives such as “Leila.”

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  • Blanchard, Paula. “Corinne and the ‘Yankee Corinna’: Madame de Staël and Margaret Fuller.” In Woman as Mediatrix: Essays on Nineteenth-Century European Women Writers. Edited by Avriel H. Goldberger, 39–46. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1987.

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    Explains De Staël’s legacy to Fuller as the question of how a woman of intellect and talent can reconcile her need for freedom and self-expression with her economic and social dependence on a man. Notes Fuller’s character Miranda in Woman in the Nineteenth Century as an attempt to address this problem.

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  • Cook, Jonathan A. “‘One of the Most Gifted Women of the Age’: Zenobia, Margaret Fuller, and de Staël’s Corinne in The Blithedale Romance.” Prospects: An Annual of American Cultural Studies 28 (2004): 35–72.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0361233300001423Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Augments the case for Fuller as a model for Zenobia in Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance. Also modifies this reading by identifying the title character of de Staël’s Corrine as Hawthorne’s complementary model, and by tracing the likenesses among three powerful female personalities, Fuller, Zenobia, and Corinne.

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  • Giorcelli, Cristina. “A Humbug, A Bounder, and a Dabbler: Margaret Fuller, Cristina di Belgioioso, and Christina Casamassima.” In Margaret Fuller: Transatlantic Crossings in a Revolutionary Age. Edited by Charles Capper and Cristina Giorcelli, 195–220. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2007.

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    Discusses Fuller’s friendship with the cultured reformist Belgioioso in Rome and identifies Henry James’s character Christina Light as a demeaning portrait of both women.

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  • Mitchell, Thomas R. Hawthorne’s Fuller Mystery. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1998.

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    A controversy erupted after the 1884 publication of Julian Hawthorne’s Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife, which brought Nathaniel Hawthorne’s disparaging comments on Fuller to light. Uses this controversy as a starting point for an illuminating exploration of Fuller’s profound impact on Hawthorne, who both admired and distrusted her.

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  • Rowe, John Carlos. “Swept Away: Henry James, Margaret Fuller, and ‘The Last of the Valerii.’” In Readers in History: Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the Contexts of Response. Edited by James L. Machor, 32–53. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

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    Explores Henry James’s 1874 story “The Last of the Valerii” to explain James’s resistance to Fuller as the ghost of a long-forgotten Transcendentalism that he associates with his troubling memories of Emerson, Hawthorne, and his father, William James.

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