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"The animating influences of Discord": Margaret Fuller in 1844.

On 20 December 1844, readers of the New York Tribune, engaged by the usual miscellany of a newspaper--an article on prison reform by Lydia Maria Child, news of anti-slavery activities in Kentucky, and notices about lectures and amusements--would have also noticed two items, appearing side by side in columns on page two. In one column appears an indignant letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson protesting what he saw as the Tribune's inadequate coverage of Massachusetts Judge Samuel Hoar's expulsion from South Carolina. Hoar, an emissary sent by the Massachusetts government, had failed in his efforts to lobby the South Carolina legislature to stop the practice of imprisoning free black sailors aboard ships from Massachusetts and then selling them into slavery. Emerson and others from Massachusetts were incensed by Hoar's treatment in South Carolina and unhappy with the initial coverage in the Tribune. In the next column appears Margaret Fuller's enthusiastic review of the New York performance of "Niagara" by the popular Norwegian violinist and composer, Ole Bornemann Bull, then completing a tour of the United States. The juxtaposition of the two columns is a suggestive moment in the histories of the intellectual lives of both Emerson and Fuller and raises important questions about their emerging and differing interests in social reform. Emerson, the scholar writing from his home in Concord, was deeply committed to self-reliance and suspicious of reform movements. Here he publicly supports organized protest and offers a spirited defense of Hoar, whom he perceived as taking heroic action against a slave state. Fuller, in her new position as an editor for the New-York Tribune, was on the verge of embracing the social causes that would become her central concern in both New York and Europe. At this moment, however, she is deeply involved in writing a series of articles on literature and culture. What professional experiences of Fuller's in 1844 shaped the writing of this and other articles? What does her correspondence, especially with Emerson, reveal about her intellectual concerns during the year? In this essay, I argue that Fuller's primary preoccupation during this crucial year in her life was in defining the proper role of the scholar in a society in need of reform. In her journal, her letters to Emerson and others and eventually in her articles for the New-York Tribune, Fuller tests a variety of propositions and positions that pave the way for the sophisticated social critic she would eventually--but not immediately--become. A study of her journal, letters, and articles during this year also reveals new insights into the vexed question of when and how Fuller became interested in the most pressing reform issue of the day: abolition.


Scholars have increasingly regarded the year of 1844 as a transformative moment for Fuller, often seeing it as an annus mirabilis, a time of spiritual crisis and conversion, as well as a time of deep personal disappointment about the men in her life. (1) Jeffrey Steele, for example, sees the late spring of 1844 as a "crisis" for Fuller in terms of her life as a woman. That three of the important women in her life gave birth, he suggests, reminded her "of the personal expense of the unconventional lifestyle she had chosen for herself" (170). In addition, 1844 marked the end of the most intense years of the friendship between Fuller and Emerson; afterwards, she and Emerson would see one another less and exchange far fewer letters. At the same time, Fuller clearly gloried in many aspects of her life, especially in her freedom as she contemplated the difficulties of a number of the marriages of her friends and especially that of her sister. Fuller herself noted in her journal for 1844 that she felt this time of her life was "one of especial importance" (J 56). (2) In our efforts, however, to mark particular moments in Fuller's life as pivotal and especially to respond to the recent push to convert her swiftly from Transcendentalist to sophisticated social critic, scholars may be smoothing over the complexities and fluctuations of Fuller's intellectual development, especially during this important year. In addition, scholars may be focusing too narrowly on the notion of crisis in Fuller's life and missing the moments of joy, wit, and humor that also characterize Fuller's writing during this time. Fuller could be quite funny, but this is a side of Fuller that scholars seldom engage. Her friends recognized it; long-time friend, Elizabeth Hoar, especially prized Fuller's "wit" (Chevigny 89), and in his journal in 1843 Emerson commented on her conversation which "consists with a boundless fun & drollery, with light satire, & the most entertaining conversation in America" (JMN 8: 369). The year 1844 certainly included some painful moments for Fuller, but to dwell so exclusively on these is to miss the moments of delight and fun--both personal and professional--many of which are recorded in her correspondence during that year.

At the end of 1844, Fuller would take on what was to be her work as a journalist for the New York Tribune during the remaining six years of her life--first as a writer and literary editor with increasing attention to social issues and then as a foreign correspondent after she went to Europe in the summer of 1846. But the path to that later work was not a direct one; the year of 1844 was a time of significant engagement with a variety of intellectual issues as she contemplated her professional future. In her correspondence with Emerson throughout 1844, Fuller is clearly trying out ideas and testing propositions, often quite playfully. The two respond to one another in their letters but also, as the juxtaposition of their articles in the New York Tribune suggests, in their published writings. There are no straight lines of development here; both Fuller and Emerson move back and forth in their thinking about a range of issues, especially about the future of Transcendentalism. An overview of Fuller's activities during this year suggests some of the contexts for her shifting ideas and experimentation.

The year 1844 was a remarkably busy and varied year. (3) At the beginning of the year, she was deeply involved in completing Summer on the Lakes while living at her family's home in Cambridge, enmeshed in family concerns. For much of the spring, summer, and fall, Fuller was a traveler and visitor, spending time in Concord, the beaches near Boston, Brook Farm, New York City, and later in Fishkill Landing, north of the city, where she revised her essay "The Great Lawsuit" into Woman in the Nineteenth Century. (4) By 1 December 1844, Fuller was living in New York City and beginning her new position at the New-York Tribune. Despite her busy travel schedule, she completed two books during 1844 as well as a number of poems, short essays, and reviews; and she gave the last of her conversations for women in Boston in April. By any measure, 1844 was the most productive year of Fuller's professional life. In her correspondence and in her journal, she notes that she is reading a variety of texts from Confucius to Sappho to John Woolman's journal, writing prose and poetry, and attending an array of musical performances, lectures, and art exhibitions. She maintained a spirited correspondence with Emerson, who remained her most important and influential friend, and provided an audience for him in Concord, as he completed his Essays: Second Series and prepared his first major antislavery address, "Emancipation in the British West Indies."

Contextualizing Fuller's correspondence with Emerson in relation to her experiences during the year of 1844, important current events, her reading, her journal, as well as her private writings in letters to her several correspondents allows us to examine closely the many conflicting tensions Fuller felt as she contemplated new directions in her life and in her work. Like Emerson, Fuller was trying to determine for herself the proper role for the scholar in society. And, like Emerson, she was uncertain about the claims of social reform on the intellectual. As a woman of severely limited means, Fuller had fewer options and courses of action than the men she spent time with during 1844--Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Theodore Parker, and William Henry Channing. In addition, the women in her life--Caroline Sturgis, Anna Barker Ward, Elizabeth Hoar, Sarah Clarke, Sophia Hawthorne, and Lidian Emerson--all seemed somehow to have advantages that Fuller did not. Even her sister, Ellen, stuck in an unenviable marriage to Ellery Channing, nonetheless gave birth to a daughter on 23 May (Fuller's own birthday), naming her Margaret Fuller Channing. Fuller seemed destined to be perennially an aunt and older friend to the children of her relatives and friends and, at thirty-four, was conscious of her status as a single woman--a spinster. No doubt, she was facing a series of professional, financial, and personal challenges as she assessed her past and looked forward to the future.


For Fuller, her friends, and the nation, 1844 was a time of rapid change, promise for the future, and great uncertainty. Reform and expansion were the watchwords of the times. At the beginning of the year, Fuller attended a variety of events and lectures in Boston, including a Convention of the Friends of Social Reform, organized by her friend William Henry Channing and others and held during late December and early January. Emerson began the year with a busy schedule, lecturing nearly seventeen times in the winter and spring, including his own New England Series in Providence, Rhode Island, where he gave addresses on "The Origins and Genius of the New England People," "Trade, Manners, and Customs of New England,' and "Political and Social Causes Now Active" (Von Frank 186-87). On 7 February 1844, he gave a lecture in Boston, "The Young American," in which he noted the "rage of road building" with approval, pointing out that more rapid communication and travel would benefit the union (223). Indeed, communication and transportation networks grew enormously during 1844. In May, Samuel E B. Morse sent the first telegraph message from Washington, D.C., to Alfred Vail in Baltimore: "What hath God wrought?" In the next month, passenger rail service began between Boston and Concord. What had been a four-hour stagecoach trip could now be accomplished in an hour. And new developments in steam engines made it possible for the J. M. White to make the trip from New Orleans to St. Louis in three days, twenty-three hours. On the national level, it was an election year with high stakes for a nation increasingly divided over the issue of slavery and slave territories. Expansion was the dominant political mood, and when James K. Polk defeated Henry Clay for president the annexation of Texas was assured. Northerners were largely opposed to the annexation of Texas (which happened in 1845) because of the implications for the expansion of slavery, and many of the Transcendentalist circle joined the voices of protest. For example, Fuller's longtime friend, James Freeman Clarke, gave two lectures on his opposition to the annexation of Texas, one in Boston and the second at the Concord Lyceum on 13 March 1844.

As the nation seemed to be engaged in reform movements of all kinds and expanding in all directions, the Transcendentalists themselves were breaking up as a circle and following a whole range of new, pragmatic interests and activities. The trajectory of some of these would become the subject of Emerson's lecture, "New England Reformers," given at Amory Hall in Boston on 3 March 1844. Experiments in communal living were failing or changing. Fuller's friend Charles Lane and his son abandoned Fruitlands and joined a Shaker community on 8 January 1844. Bronson Alcott and his family also left Fruitlands and returned to Concord to live at Hillside, a house not far from the Emerson home. Brook Farm, the experimental community established in 1841 by Transcendentalists George and Sophia Ripley, was undergoing a major change in 1844 when it established its own journal and, under the direction of Albert Brisbane, reorganized as a phalanx along the lines of Fourierist principles. The change in structure led to the withdrawal of many supporters and the eventual end of the experiment in 1847. Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose limited interest in Transcendentalism had begun with his small financial investment in Brook Farm in 1841 and ended when he asked for his money back in 1842, was living in Concord, writing stories for which he was earning a growing literary reputation but little money.

Other Transcendentalists were similarly affected by the changing times. For Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, the end of the Dial as well as the last of Fuller's conversations in 1844, meant that her circulating library and book store at 15 West Street was greatly diminished in its role as a center for Transcendentalist activity. Orestes Brownson, long a stalwart of the Transcendental Club and suspicious of Fourierism, converted to Catholicism in 1844 and initiated his own periodical, Brownson's Quarterly Review. Henry David Thoreau was back in Concord working with his father manufacturing pencils after an unhappy year on Staten Island, where he worked for the William Emerson family and tried in vain to start his career as a writer by visiting publishers and periodical editors in New York City. As if his failed efforts to establish himself as a writer were not enough to dampen his spirits, Thoreau and a friend accidentally started a large woodland fire during a camping trip near Concord in late April, earning him a reputation for carelessness with his neighbors (Borst l05-06). Thoreau spent much of the summer on walking tours of the Berkshires and Catskills, and soon after that began to gather material for his A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, not published until five years later in 1849. (5)

As challenging as 1844 may have been for other members of the Transcendentalist circle, the year brought even more significant changes for Fuller on both the personal and professional levels. It was a time of complicated personal relationships. The Fuller family had suffered some significant losses through the years, especially the death of her father Timothy Fuller in 1835. In 1844, that loss was still a difficult one, both emotionally and financially. In her journal, Fuller records taking a meditative walk through the Fuller family plot at a church in Cambridge, in which she studies the graves of four members of her family buried there, including her father (J 57). The surviving members of Fuller's family were drifting apart. After Fuller's brother, Richard, took a job in a law firm, the family eventually decided to sell the Fuller house in Cambridge in the late summer. Fuller's mother went to live for a time with her own mother and Lloyd, the slow-witted youngest brother who had been living at Brook Farm under the protection of the Ripleys, was sent to a school that Fuller located in Andover. In the midst of the dislocations of her family, Fuller was assessing her friendships, both old and new, and inevitably contemplating her status as a single woman. Steele has suggested that Fuller was still struggling to get over her disappointment about Samuel Ward, to whom she had been deeply attached in the late 1830s (32). But his marriage to Anna Barker, a close friend of Fuller's, had taken place in 1840. Four years seems a long time to grieve over the final end of a relationship and, as Fuller perhaps reminded herself in her journal, "the past is past, only to be brought up for preceptor poetic suggestion" (J 56). In addition, after receiving a letter from Ward in June, she says rather emphatically in her journal, "A letter from S. Ward today, with a postscript from Anna, far from pleasing. S. is no longer my Rafaello: he has perhaps many years to pass in working out this side of his life. I do not care to know him while about it" (J 64 and note 39). The relationship with Ward--whom she had earlier nicknamed "Rafaello" in recognition of his favorite artist, Raphael--remained a disappointment, but Fuller was clearly moving on with her life.

More important in 1844 were her relationships with others, such as William Clarke and her former student and friend, Caroline Sturgis. Clarke, the younger brother of her old friends, Sarah and James Freeman Clarke, had traveled with Fuller during part of her journey to the Great Lakes in 1843. Martha L. Berg and Alice de V. Perry, the editors of Fuller's 1844 journal, have made a convincing case for Fuller's interest in Clarke and for yet another romantic disappointment, which probably happened in May (J 42-46). Certainly, Fuller records painful moments of loneliness. In June, she writes, "O I need some help. No I need a full a godlike embrace from some sufficient love" (J 71). On the other hand, other relationships seemed to be thriving, since Fuller records dozens of visits and conversations with friends and family members throughout the year. Her relationship with the independent-minded Caroline Sturgis, which had always been volatile, was on solid footing throughout 1844. Sturgis and Fuller had been close friends since the winter of 1836, when Sturgis participated in Fuller's first conversations for women. By 1844, Sturgis was living mostly in New York and was becoming less involved with her Boston friends than formerly. Her more cosmopolitan outlook appealed to Fuller, who was clearly eager for larger experiences. By early 1845, when Fuller was established in New York City, Sturgis kindly wrote Fuller during a visit to Boston that "I cannot tell you how demure Boston seems," as if to encourage her in the life her friend had chosen (232). Fuller and Sturgis spent time together during the summer of 1844 in Concord, and in the fall they shared rooms in a boarding house in Fishkill Landing while Fuller prepared Woman in the Nineteenth Century for publication.

Fuller's relationships with Emerson and others stabilized during this year. Her correspondence with Emerson, as well as her comments in her journal, reflect a growing sense of their differences as well as a peaceful sense of the benefits of their relationship. Fuller was also developing close relationships with others, such as William Henry Channing and those still associated with Brook Farm, who were increasingly at odds with Emerson over the issue of communitarianism. Fuller even spent a good bit of time with Thoreau during the summer at Concord, rowing on the Concord River with him and walking in the woods. She found herself in a complicated position with her friends--not only mediating among various figures, but also clarifying her own attitudes toward them.

The final issue of the Dial, which Emerson edited in April, revealed many of those tensions. That "generally eschewed periodical," as Fuller called it in a letter to Lydia Maria Child, was a major disappointment to many of the Transcendentalists, who had initially seen in it the possibility of a new literature for a new age (LMF 3: 183). Like so many periodicals of the 1840s, however, the Dial had insufficient capital and inadequate subscriptions to sustain its publication. Although the journal had a few loyal contributors and readers, the reviewers in other periodicals were frequently sarcastic about its undue earnestness. (6) The failure of the Dial was a frustration but also a relief to both Fuller and Emerson, who had put a great deal of time and energy into it with no financial gain. The last issue of the Dial, however, reveals something of the new and differing interests of the Transcendentalists. Emerson's "The Young American" was among the essays, and there were also two articles which signal the growing interest of Emerson and others in antislavery. Benjamin Peter Hunt, an American businessman living in Haiti and one of the Dial's foreign correspondents, had contributed a two-part travel essay, "A Voyage to Jamaica," to the journal in 1843 (Myerson 157). In the final April 1844 number, he published an essay, "Saturday and Sunday Among the Creoles: A Letter from the West Indies," in which he illustrated the positive outcomes of equal educational opportunities for black and white children. Drawing on his own personal experiences in Haiti, Hunt demonstrates that given the opportunity, black children are equal to white children in intelligence and ability--a theme developed by many abolitionists throughout the 1840s and 50s. The other antislavery piece was Thoreau's enthusiastic review of Nathaniel P. Roger's weekly periodical, Herald of Freedom, which was full of praise for Roger's antislavery agenda. These articles demonstrate the extent to which Emerson and the other contributors to the journal were moving away from the idealist conceptions that marked Transcendentalism into more pragmatic concerns about nation and society. (7)

Other articles in this last issue also addressed contemporary issues. In "Fourierism," Elizabeth Peabody raised concerns that the new phalanx at Brook Farm might pay less attention to Christian principles than she felt it should. Charles Lane's "Life in the Woods" takes up the popular question of whether "man" can truly experience a return to nature, a challenge that Thoreau would answer in 1854 with the publication of Walden; or Life in the Woods. Fuller's own final contribution for the Dial was "Dialogue," a witty conversation between two friends, Aglauron and Laurie, who have grown distant and who bear, at least, a slight resemblance in temperament to Fuller and Emerson. The two characters use the poems of Words-worth and Coleridge and the plays of Shakespeare to find some common ground for their strained friendship in the solace of literature. As Fuller has Aglauron say, "The poets, as usual, have thought out the subject for the age. And it is an age where the complex and subtle workings of its spirit make it not easy for the immortal band, the sacred band of equal friends, to be formed into phalanx, or march with equal step in any form" (460). Fuller's use of the charged term "phalanx" suggests her own concerns about organized reform. The dialogue is at odds with the social spirit of other contributions in this issue of the Dial and demonstrates Fuller's deep commitment to literature and culture at this time, as opposed to what she then viewed as the transient nature of social issues. The publications of Fuller and her friends in this final, uneasy number of the Dial reveal the tensions of the times between civilization and nature, individual rights and public policy, and art and social action.


As important as Fuller's published writings are in 1844, her correspondence, especially her exchanges with Emerson, reveal a great deal about Fuller's intellectual development and state of mind. Although Fuller's letters have been and continue to be an obvious source of useful information for biographers, many of the letters also constitute important texts in themselves and deserve careful study. Among others, David M. Robinson has argued for the importance of a close reading and analysis of Fuller's letters as well as her published works and new studies of the aesthetics of letter-writing in the nineteenth century such as that of William Merrill Decker have revealed new ways of evaluating letters as texts. Fuller wrote her letters, as did many of her correspondents, with the self-conscious sense that they were at once private and public documents. Interspersed between the bits of family news, humorous gossip about friends, the conduct of professional business, and outpourings of a wide range of deep emotions, many of the letters offer trenchant social commentary and thoughtful meditations on literature. Beyond the biographical interest, the letters ate significant as texts in themselves. For the important year of 1844, they suggest much about the intellectual tensions that Fuller felt about the course of her professional life.

Fuller's correspondence with Emerson constitutes an especially noteworthy record of the ideas and thoughts of two major figures in American literature. The facts of this vital friendship are well-known. After Fuller first met Emerson in Concord on 2 July 1836, when she arrived for a visit of three weeks, they began a relationship that lasted until Fuller's death on 19 July 1850. The number of letters written during the fourteen years of their friendship would make a fairly full volume. Of the approximately 2,500 extant letters of Emerson's written before Fuller died in 1850, 186 were sent to Fuller; of the over 1,100 extant letters of Fuller's, 80 were addressed to Emerson. The majority of the letters were exchanged between 1839 and 1844, the most intense years of their relationship. Many scholars have studied these letters and used them to establish important biographical details about both figures. More recently, at least in the case of Fuller, scholars have begun to move beyond the biographical details that the letters provide and work on an analysis of the letters themselves. (8)

Evaluating letters is a complicated business. First, there is simply the difficult problem of evaluating letters as a genre. Generally speaking, letters are designed to overcome absence; they are largely written for an audience of one, and they are usually designed to elicit a response from the addressee. In the mid-nineteenth century, letters were particularly important as family circles and communities became separated and broken by increasing urbanization, frequency of travel, and the number of people moving to distant locations for employment. Letters were often written for sharing with other family members or friends; there is both a private and a public dimension to many letters in the nineteenth century. In 1840, the post office was delivering 27,500,000 pieces of mail. By 1860, that figure would grow to nearly 162 million. Just as the computer introduced new products for consumers in the late twentieth century, the popularity of the letter created its own industry in the nineteenth century, with demands for stationery, writing instruments, and even furniture. A new genre of books developed which were called "letterwriters," designed to provide instructions and models for letters on a wide range of topics. Ronald J. Zboray has counted some sixty new editions in print from the period 1837 to 1857 (29). The middle of the nineteenth century was not just a golden age for the development of periodicals--it was also the golden age of the letter. (9)

Even more complicated is the evaluation of the letters of well-known literary figures such as Emerson and Fuller; it is sometimes difficult to escape the impact of celebrity and evaluate their correspondence. In other words, the weight of celebrity may in fact obscure other considerations. One such consideration is the general code of conversation and range of allusion that are now lost to us in the twenty-first century. Beyond that, there is also a private code. Emerson and Fuller spent a great deal of time in one another's company, and their letters often refer to previous conversations and, in some cases, surely functioned as extensions of those conversations. As with any close relationship, the letters reveal a private language of allusion, implication, and significance that contemporary readers simply cannot penetrate with any confidence of accuracy. In addition, scholars are accustomed to studying letters exchanged between famous men--like Emerson and Carlyle--or letters exchanged between a man and woman with a clearly understood relationship--like Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning.

Whatever the exact nature of the relationship between Fuller and Emerson, it does not fit any of the usual categories of relationships between a man and a woman in the nineteenth century. They were not relatives like Emerson and Mary Moody Emerson; they were not mentor and young "contributor" like Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Emily Dickinson, and they were not lovers, at least in any physical sense. They considered themselves friends, at the very moment when men and women, especially among the Transcendentalists, were experimenting with and writing about the nature of friendship in general. "Friend" was a charged word and not used casually in the correspondence of either. Emerson addressed Fuller as "Thou steadfast loving wise & dear friend" at the opening of his letter to her on 30 January 1844, in which he thanks her for her sympathy about the death of his son two years earlier (LRWE 235). In addition to being friends, they were professional writers with frequently differing aesthetic and philosophic agendas, and in their letters, both writers are clearly working out those differences, sometimes quite competitively.

Finally, a full evaluation of the letters exchanged between Fuller and Emerson also involves a consideration about reading the correspondence in relation to other correspondents, events, and activities. Their letters were not exchanged in a vacuum; both were in the habit of writing a large number of friends and relatives, often during a single, letter-writing session. The letters also reflect the books they were reading and studying, as well as what they were writing--other letters as well as poetry and prose. The letters reflect their moods, both bad and good. In a letter in July to Emerson, Fuller wrote rather snappishly that Concord lacked the "animating influences of Discord" that she found necessary for her own compositions (LMF 3: 213). Two days later, she wrote to her friend Jane Tuckerman about her "delightful time" in Concord and wrote an idyllic description of Hawthorne's home (LMF 3: 217). These various and varying influences--discordant and harmonious--at work on the correspondence between Fuller and Emerson ate a central part of a complete account of Fuller's intellectual preoccupations in 1844 leading to her new life as a journalist in New York.

By 1844, Fuller and Emerson had exchanged dozens of letters and had spent a good bit of time in one another's company. An interesting pattern emerges at this point in the record of their correspondence; although they respond to one another in their letters, those responses also find outlets in their public, published writings. For example, in Fuller's first extant letter to Emerson for this period, dated 28 January, she begins by offering some extraordinarily sympathetic words of comfort as she notes that it has been two years to the day that Emerson's son, Waldo, died: "I know you are not a 'marker of days' nor do in any way encourage those useless pains which waste the strength needed for our nobler purposes, yet it seems to me this season can never pass without opening anew the deep wound" (LMF 3: 175). She then asks for a draft of"Threnody," the elegy on which Emerson was then working and includes a poem that her brother, Richard, wrote, clearly thinking that Emerson will find some consolation in the lines. The first half of this letter is a comforting and moving meditation on loss.

In contrast, the second half of this lengthy letter contains a wickedly funny account of a mesmeric experiment, hosted by James Freeman and Sarah Clarke at their home in Boston. Fuller, long fascinated by mysticism and transcendent forms of communication, was deeply curious about the unorthodox theories of animal magnetism, mesmerism, and clairvoyance. (10) In "The Great Lawsuit," for example, she was especially interested in the notion that women have special, electrical powers and later developed this idea further in Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Although she was not in the audience for this "experiment" hosted by the Clarkes, she reports to Emerson that the "Buchanans" were there, undoubtedly Joseph Rodes Buchanan, a popular speaker on phrenology, animal magnetism, and "neurology," who had spoken at Amory Hall in early 1844 on "The Pursuit of Truth." (11) In the usual ritual of a mesmeric demonstration involving a male mesmerist and a female subject, Buchanan probably served as the mesmerist to Anna Quincy Thaxter Parsons, an active member of religious and reform groups in Boston, who, after being put under "Mesmeric influence," examined a series of letters written by famous people and interpreted them. (12) Under this hypnotic influence, Parsons then held the letters in her hands and closely examined them, commenting on character traits and other information about the writer and revealing what she deduced to the audience. Emerson must have been astonished to find that Buchanan and Parsons had one of his letters and rather taken aback by Fuller's teasing account of how the letter was interpreted. Fuller explains in her letter that Parsons judged the letter-writer to be "holy, true, and brave" but not perfect. When asked to name the fault, the mesmerized Parsons explained, "It is not fault, it is defect--it is underdevelopment; it puts me in mind of a circle with a dent in it" (LMF 3: 178-79). Fuller, who had long felt that Emerson did indeed have a defect in his personality--a remoteness that no one could penetrate---ends her account by calling Parsons "a very good and innocent girl." The not-so-innocent Fuller, knowing quite well that Emerson had no patience with such experiments, ends the letter with a postscript, politely inquiring about the date of Emerson's next lecture in Boston. Fuller's letter to Emerson is thus both a letter and an interpretation of letters, a detail that no doubt did not escape Emerson's notice.

In his response to Fuller on 30 January, Emerson pointedly does not comment on mesmeric experiments, his personality defects, or even dented circles. Instead, he concentrates almost entirely on Fuller's comments about Waldo and offers her a meditation on Ben Jonson's narrative of the death of his son (LRWE 239). In a postscript, he encloses a ticket for his 7 February lecture at the Mercantile Library Association, "The Young American." When Fuller received his letter on 2 February, she wrote a quick note to say that she would indeed attend his lecture on the 7th and also invites him to another mesmeric session, again at the home of the Clarkes. Emerson did not attend the reading and indeed, was traveling, and missed Fuller's note of the 2nd. In a brief note to Fuller on 16 February, he says at the end, "As for the metaphysics & ethics of the personal and mesmeric question you have put, I will not now enter so deep waters lest the mail leave my letter" (LRWE 241). (13)

Undaunted, Fuller would not let Emerson off the hook. On 14 February, she sent him a letter in the form of a dialogue between herself and Sarah Clarke, in which she has Sarah encourage Emerson to attend a mesmeric session with Parsons so that he can see her"real and uncommon powers" (LMF 3: 183). Emerson, no doubt feeling under siege on this particular topic, did have comments to make about the mesmeric experiments, but instead of putting them in a letter to Fuller, he incorporated his observations in "New England Reformers," a public lecture he gave at Amory Hall on 3 March 1844 and published later in the year as the final chapter in Essays: Second Series. At the beginning of this lecture, in which he offers a shifting critique of reform movements, Emerson lists mesmerism among the pseudosciences that have accompanied the "din and debate" of reform in New England in the last twenty-five years (149). Later in the lecture, he comments pointedly about the importance of each individual standing in relation to truth: "There is power over and behind us, and we are the channels of its communication" and further, "In like manner, let a man fall into the divine circuits, and he is enlarged. Obedience to his genius is the only liberating influence" (165,167). Emerson was distinctly distrustful of any potential attack on the innate power of the individual and saw mesmerism, animal magnetism, and other pseudosciences as efforts to undermine self-reliance.

There is no record that Fuller wrote to Emerson again to invite him to a mesmeric experiment at the home of the Clarkes or anywhere else, but her interest in a variety of pseudoscientific practices continued as before. She had written mystical contemplations for the Dial and her analysis of Justinius Kerner's The Seeress of Prevorst occupies her attention in the fifth chapter of Summer on the Lakes. During her first full year at the New-York Tribune, she gave a positive review to J. Stanley Grimes's Etherology; Or the Philosophy of Mesmerism and Phrenology (17 February 1845). It is worth noting that Fuller paid special attention in this review to the "prejudiced" who dismiss the potential of a new form of communication without waiting for full investigations. Living in the midst of Boston during the first half of 1844 and attending lectures, concerts, and events of many kinds, Fuller was experimenting and, for the first time in their relationship, seemed to relish teasing Emerson with the results.

While the conversation between Fuller and Emerson about mesmerism may have ended by the spring of 1844, other debates took its place. Those debates became more serious as Fuller contemplated her next professional more and struggled with what her role as a scholar was to be in the face of mounting activism on the part of her friends. By early spring, Fuller had completed Summer on the Lakes, which would be published, with the help of Emerson's negotiations with Little and Brown, on 25 May 1844. (14) Throughout the late spring and early summer, Fuller was involved in many cultural activities that would eventually become materials for her years as an editor for the Tribune. She was reading constantly; many of the books that she read or reread during this period would be subjects of reviews that she would write for the Tribune in 1845-46. (15) She read several novels of the French novelists Eugene Sue and George Sand, read Richard Henry Home's collection of social and literary essays, A New Spirit of the Age, and reread other books that she had studied before, such as Goethe's Wilhelm Meister and Philip Bailey's long poem, Festus, which had been the subject of one her reviews for the Dial (2 October 1841). In addition to her reading, she attended a number of concerts, including one by Ole Bornemann Bull, which Emerson would attend with Fuller's brother-in-law, Ellery Channing, on 30 May. Fuller was also seeing a good bit of art, going to galleries and museums to see paintings and engravings. In her journal, she records her thoughts on seeing Washington Allston's unfinished painting, Belshazzar's Feast, which was on exhibit at Corinthian Hall in Boston (J 61). Fuller had written a lengthy review of Allston's 1839 exhibition in Boston for the Dial and would later write a lengthy review of the exhibit of Belshazzar's Feast for the Tribune on 12 June 1846. Her immersion in reading and cultural activities during the spring of 1844 is important, since it explains, at least in part, why Fuller may have found herself resisting the reform activities of her friends, especially those of Emerson.

During the summer, Fuller and Emerson had a good bit of contact with one another as they both continued to work out their professional futures. Emerson was deeply engaged in completing Essays: Second Series, and the record of correspondence between Emerson and Fuller is almost exclusively about that topic. In June 1844, he wrote to Fuller that
   I am really trying to end my old endless chapters
   that they may decently appear in the world,
   but the stream of my thought too closely
   resembles our Concord River which is narrow
   & slow & shallow. Soon you are coming
   hither--did you not say so? and I shall try your
   good nature and aid my sense of proportion by
   reading to you. Yet fear not, perhaps I shall not
   read them. (LRWE 252-53)

If Fuller responded by letter, it has not survived; she arrived, however, in early July and did indeed listen to Emerson read his essays. While there are no surviving letters from Emerson to Fuller until the end of August, there are three surviving letters of Fuller to Emerson. The first is really more of a note, dated July 10; here she asks Emerson to look for her eyeglasses if he chances to walk in the woods near where she had been reading to him on the day before. What Fuller might have been reading to him is not clear; reading in the woods was evidently a favorite occupation for the growing circle of literary friends living in Concord. Possibly she read one of the poems that she had been recently writing or one of the many letters she was receiving from mutual friends such as Jane Francis Tuckerman or her brother Richard, who was then embroiled in an appeal to the Harvard faculty, protesting the fact that he had been given a non-speaking part at commencement, tantamount to a rebuff (J 78). She might also have read Emerson excerpts of books she was reading that summer, such as Tennyson's poetry or, even more interestingly, The Life of Countess Emily Plater, a book on the remarkable life of the Polish woman patriot who became a military leader (J 80). Whatever the text Fuller offered to Emerson on this occasion, the usual practice during this summer was that Fuller listened to Emerson read to her. But those occasions were less frequent than during her earlier visits to Concord. Fuller, who was staying first with the Hawthornes and then with her sister, saw less of Emerson than she had in the past. The Emerson household had a new baby in it, and, in addition, Emerson was greatly preoccupied with his own writing.

In Fuller's other surviving letters, dated 13 July and 20 July, however, there is much more explicit commentary on their reading and thinking. On 13 July, Fuller writes about having read some or part of Emerson's Essays: Second Series and, in an often quoted passage, says,
   You are intellect, I am life. My flowers and
   stones however shabby interest me, because
   they stand for a great deal to me, and would I
   feel, have a hieroglyphical interest for those of
   like nature. Were I a Greek and an artist I would
   polish my marbles as you do, as it is. I shall be
   content whenever I am in a state of unimpeded
   energy and can sing at the top of my voice, I
   don't care what. Whatever is truly felt has some
   precious meaning. (LMF 3: 209)

Later in the same letter, she observes almost as an afterthought, "The Egyptians embodied the Sphynx as in body a lion, in countenance of calm human virgin beauty. It was reserved for the Greek to endow her with wings" (LMF 3: 210). In earlier letters and in her journal, Fuller frequently referred to Emerson as a Greek, as the cool Apollo and not the passionate Dionysus of "unimpeded energy"; this was dearly a way of teasing him. By portraying Emerson as a "Greek," Fuller draws the distinction between their personalities that she has come to know and appreciate. She had rehearsed this distinction in an earlier journal entry on 10 July, in a comment on his reading of an essay that would be published as "Experience": "How beautiful, and full and grand. But oh, how cold. Nothing but Truth in the Universe, no love, and no various realities." And later, "But lure me not again too near thee, fair Greek, I must keep steadily in mind what you really are" (J 82-83).

Christina Zwarg has commented in detail on these passages in order to analyze the advice that Fuller is implicitly offering on Emerson's Essays, the extent of her influence on this volume as a whole, and indeed Emerson's difficulties in choosing a final essay for his collection and what role Fuller may have played in that selection (130-35). (16) While Fuller wrote to Emerson on 13 July that she found the essays she had been reading "great results, sculptured out into such clear beauty" (LMF 3: 209), in her journal two days later, she observed,
   Then went to pass the day at Mr. E's. He read
   aloud great parts of 'The Poet' & 'Manners.'
   So fine a tissue full of splendid things, yet a few
   burning simple words would better please.
   More fine than searching, kept coming into my
   mind, though the remarks are profound each by
   itself. That account of the Poet as he who sees
   the Metamorphosis, the flowing, is admirable so
   are the two definitions of art. (J 86)

Fuller was clearly uneasy about Emerson's essays and would later clarify those reservations in her review of them for the Tribune on 7 December 1844. At this moment in the summer, however, she is clearly working out her objections and using them to illuminate her own thinking. While she praises the "account of the Poet," Fuller remains uncertain about Emerson's lack of natural energy and passion, for her an important source of the poet's power. Emerson's personality flaw was remoteness, suggested by Parson's mesmeric assessment of a dented circle. Fuller, who was that summer writing numerous poems and forging her own notions of creativity and vocation, found herself struggling with the pull of commitments to idealism and reform, in the midst of Emerson's almost relentless readings of his essays to her. In her letter to Emerson of 20 July, clearly a response to his difficulties in finishing the Essays and in writing his antislavery address, Fuller teases him, mostly in the form of a long, witty poem. (17) Chiding him that he seeks his inspiration from within himself, as Jove with his "masculine obligations of all-sufficinyness" which induced "the Minerva-bearing headache;' Fuller takes the role of a muse who scolds the would-be poet--Emerson, "I must away / Where the day / With many-colored ray / But now an aspect gave / To the worlds, more fair / Than they show in this cave, / Shut from the living air; / Don't lure me here again with your sweet smile" (LMF 3: 216). Fuller, writing on a rainy day in Concord, was formulating the criticism of Transcendentalism that she would eventually articulate in the life she lived in New York and Europe.

At the same time, it is important to note that Fuller spent much of her time in Concord that summer with the Hawthornes, as a guest at the Old Manse. If Emerson was struggling in his own thinking, Hawthorne's attitudes about both Transcendentalism and organized reform were quite unambiguous. Even though it would be eight years before he would publish The Blithedale Romance, with its sharp critique of communitarism and other Transcendentalist notions, Hawhorne's position was already clear. In early 1844, he had published "Earth's Holocaust" in Graham's Magazine, an allegorical account of reformers who become so carried away with their efforts to rid the world of imperfection that they burn everything, including books, in a huge, all-consuming bonfire. As the summer wore on in Concord, Fuller herself remained deeply ambivalent about reform; she wrote poems, went boating with Hawthorne, and wrote friends about her deep enjoyment of her time. (18) When she returned to Cambridge in early August, she wrote Caroline Sturgis, "Life opens again before me, longer avenues, darker caves, adorned with richer crystals!" (LMF 3: 219). She records in her journal that she is reading Sappho's poems and Spinoza's Ethica (J 110). By late August, her attention is on revising "The Great Lawsuit" into Woman in the Nineteenth Century.


While rights and opportunities for women were much on Fuller's mind in the fall of 1844, the antislavery movement was far from her thoughts. In contrast, Len Gougeon has amply demonstrated Emerson's struggle throughout 1844 with his involvement in the abolition movement (Virtue's Hero 41-85; "Emerson's Abolition Conversion" 170-182.). In March Emerson invited James Freeman Clarke to lecture on "The Annexation of Texas" at the Concord Lyceum. Of course, annexation of Texas meant an immediate extension of slavery, and abolitionists were vocal in arguing against the admission of a new slave state. On 1 August, Emerson himself delivered a major antislavery address, "Emancipation in the British West Indies," at the Concord Court House, with Fuller in the audience. Fuller knew all about the address and clearly heard or read large parts of the oration before 1 August. If Fuller wrote to Emerson after the oration, the letter has not survived, and she mentions it only once, in her teasing letter of 20 July. Her lukewarm interest in his latest lecture (as opposed to her interest in his Essays) is also revealed by entries in her journal. On 25 July, Fuller wrote in her journal that "Waldo came in at night. He seemed happy, had had a good day & got afloat in his oration. May it prove an Oraison." Immediately after this comment, Fuller writes about her wish to try writing a short, narrative poem and then about the plight of the Irish immigrants working on the railroad in Concord. This entry suggests Fuller's ambivalence about Emerson's lecture; she wishes it to be an "oraison," a prayer, but does not express much enthusiasm for his current project. Perhaps Fuller was uncertain about Emerson's role in the antislavery movement or perhaps she was preoccupied by more pressing local concerns. Her only comments about African Americans at all during this time have to do with the black servant employed by her sister. Fuller mentions her in a letter to Jane Tuckerman on 22 July: "I have an excellent sable 'help' who shows her teeth with good-humored acquiescence in my every wish; Ellen's house is very still and prettily arranged" (LMF 3: 217). This comment echoes an entry in her journal on 20 July: "Everything in the house so sweet, clean and orderly<.> Africa delights to attend on me" (J 90). At this point, Fuller was not engaged in antislavery. She had equated the position of women with that of slaves in "The Great Lawsuit" and commented positively on the "champions of the enslaved African" in Woman in the Nineteenth Century to demonstrate the effectiveness of women in society generally (255), but it was not until she began her work for the Tribune that she became interested in antislavery as a movement in itself. During this summer in Concord, Fuller does not, after all, even register her sister's maid as an individual, a person with a name.

However, on the evening of 1 August, she recorded in her journal her reaction to Emerson's first major antislavery lecture: "But Waldo's oration, O that was great heroic, calm, sweet, fair. All aspects melted and rendered into one, an archetypal face of the affair. So beautifully spoken too! Better than he ever spoke before: it was true happiness to hear him; tears came to my eyes. The old story of how the blacks received their emancipation: it seemed as if I had never heard before: he gave it such expression." She also observed that she "felt excited to new life and a noble emulation by Waldo this day" and that "he is hard to know, the subtle Greek!" (J 107-08). Here the cool Greek of Fuller's earlier acquaintance is transformed into a passionate orator of astonishing rhetorical skill. He is a "subtle" Greek, characterized by his sly, cunning strategies, as "subtle" was generally defined in the nineteenth century. Fuller may well have felt, as she sat in the audience for Emerson's powerful performance, that she did not, after all, know the man who was speaking. Certainly her enthusiasm for Emerson's latest lecture seems to have grown only after she heard his formal presentation.

Emerson struggled throughout the fall with the issue of his own involvement in abolition and the end of Essays: Second Series. After considerable thought, he selected "New England Reformers" over his Emancipation day address as the final chapter in Essays, thus choosing a much more conservative path for his book. But later, in December, another event further stirred Emerson's antislavery sentiments. His friend Samuel Hoar was expelled from South Carolina for investigating the seizing in Southern ports of black sailors on Massachusetts ships. Emerson responded by writing a letter in support of Hoar for the New-York Tribune and also by attending meetings about the incident during the winter. In the meantime, Fuller was back in Cambridge helping with the sale of the Fuller family home, working on Woman in the Nineteenth Century, as well as making arrangements for her new job at the Tribune.

Despite the choice Emerson made for the ending of Essays: Second Series, his interest in antislavery intensified during 1844. It is much harder to trace the path of Fuller's interest; she initially believed with Emerson and Thoreau that reform began with individuals. (19) She was distrustful of abolition as a movement, criticized Harriet Martineau for dwelling on slavery in Society in America in 1837, and politely but firmly declined Maria Weston Chapman's suggestion in 1840 that she include a discussion of abolition in her Boston Conversations. Unlike Lidian Emerson and Thoreau's sister and mother, Fuller was noticeably not involved with the antislavery women of Concord who pressed Emerson to give his 1 August address (Petrulionis 388). Nonetheless, by the mid-1840s so many of Fuller's close friends were involved in antislavery activities, including James Freeman Clarke, her feelings clearly began to change. Certainly Emerson's August 1 lecture made a significant impression on her. In any case, Fuller had been quite struck by the plight of Indians in North America during her trip to the Midwest, and she was gradually becoming interested in other social causes, ranging from the situation of Irish immigrants to prison reform--all topics that would become central to her professional writing in New York.

During the early fall, Fuller was mostly in Boston, briefly at Brook Farm, then in Fishkill. She did not write Emerson again until November, after she received the copy he sent her of Essays: Second Series, which was published on 19 October. She probably waited to write him so she could tell him that she had finished her own project, Woman in the Nineteenth Century. These were brief exchanges; at this point in the history of the relationship between Fuller and Emerson, private letters become less important and considerably less frequent. Instead, Fuller seems to be engaged in answering old letters and earlier exchanges--this time through the articles she wrote for the Tribune. Again, the pattern of private exchange and public response emerges. In a brief note to him on December 3, she observed,
   I do not feel like writing, either;--my "views"
   as they say in N.E. are too unsettled. In two of
   three weeks, I shall know which way the East
   lies from this spot, then, then, dear companion,
   and light of my thoughts, you shall hear from

   Margaret (LMF 3: 252)

Whether she felt like writing or not, her "views" appeared four days later in her first article in her new position as literary editor for the New-York Tribune--her review of Emerson's Essays: Second Series, published on 7 December 1844. Chiding an American public for being too engrossed in "bringing out the material resources of the land," Fuller applauds Emerson for his ability to represent "the claims of individual culture in a nation which tends to lay such stress on artificial organization and external results." She calls him a "father of the country" (1). At the same time, her review reveals the uneasiness she had felt in the summer of 1844:
   [I]n no one essay is the main stress so obvious
   as to produce on the mind the harmonious
   effect of a noble river or a tree in full leaf. Single
   passages and sentences engage our attention too
   much in proportion. These essays, it has been
   justly said, tire like a string of mosaics or a house
   built of medals. We miss what we expect in the
   work of the great poet, or the great philosopher,
   the liberal air of all the zones: the glow, uniform
   yet various in tint, which is given to a body by
   free circulation of the heart's blood from the
   hour of birth. Here is, undoubtedly, the man of
   ideas, but we want the ideal man also; want the
   heart and genius of human life to interpret it,
   and here our satisfaction is not so perfect. We
   doubt this friend raised himself too early to the
   perpendicular and did not lie along the ground
   long enough to hear the secret whispers of our
   parent life. (1)

To be sure, Fuller is suggesting here that Emerson has lived too much in the scholar's study and not enough in the world, perhaps even in a world where the "secret whispers of our parent life" might be found through the services of a mesmerist. This review is sometimes read as Fuller's final commentary on Emerson and the end of her association with Transcendentalism. But the context of their correspondence blurs such a sharp break; Fuller was still working out for herself what her role was to be. She was far from ready to turn her back on a number of Transcendentalist questions, and a major one was how reform is to be achieved in society.

Although her review is ambiguous, Fuller seems almost to have returned to an earlier position in her affirmation of an Emersonian view of reform and her concentration on the values of self-cultivation expressed in the essays. Indeed, rather than take up the social commentary that would mark her later Tribune essays, her first published articles were on literature and culture- the poems of William Hosmer, Christopher Cranch, a commentary on Goethe's life, and a review of the recent performance of Ole Bull. Fuller's first full month as the literary editor for the Tribune seems closer in tone and spirit to her first months as an editor of the Dial. As she had remarked in a letter to Samuel G. Ward on 29 December 1844 that the readers "want to know about our affairs and our future. I shall illustrate from the past, and European life, but shall not dwell much upon them" (LMF 3: 256).

Returning now to the 20 December 1844 issue of the New-York Tribune, where Fuller and Emerson were published side by side, a fascinating moment in the professional lives of Emerson and Fuller emerges. Emerson's piece is written in the form of a letter, staunchly supporting his friend, Hoar, for his actions in South Carolina on behalf of free black sailors from Massachusetts. Fuller's piece is a review of Ole Bull, the Norwegian composer and violinist, who was deeply influenced by Pagannini's style of playing. Bull developed a new way of holding the violin as well as making modifications to traditional violins and was well-known for his theatrical performances; Fuller saw him play several times during his first tour of the United States in 1843-44, as did Emerson. When he heard Bull in Boston on 30 May, he wrote to Fuller about his experience, "I was very glad to hear the wonderful violinist; quite as glad to see his person & manners, of which I had heard little or nothing" (LRWE 252). In his journal, he called Ole Bull "a dignifying, civilizing influence" (JMN 9: 98). Bull's compositions--"In Memory of Washington," "The Solitude of the Prairies," and "Niagara"--were designed to appeal to American audiences, and in her review, Fuller chides the audience for their lack of enthusiasm, suggesting that they knew little about how to appreciate his work. Like Emerson, Fuller writes to defend. Emerson defended an activist and Fuller defended an artist.

The irony is obvious: here is Fuller, publicly working on developing American culture and taste, and here is Emerson, publicly supporting organized protest. Did they read one another's works as responses to their individual concerns about the role of the scholar in society? Two weeks later, on 7 January 1845, Fuller published her first article for the Tribune that addressed the antislavery movement: a review of The Liberty Bell for 1845. Although Fuller called Wendell Phillips "one of the most eloquent leaders of the party" she was lukewarm about the "talent" of the writers, though she praised "their usual clearness and full possession of their ground" (2). She was especially enthusiastic about the quality of the works written by former slaves, observing that the essays were "the most unanswerable arguments in favor of the capacities of the African race" (2). On the same day that Fuller's review appeared, Emerson was giving a lecture in Dorchester, Massachusetts, on his new topic of research, "Napoleon" who would become one of his six Representative Men, published shortly before Fuller's death in 1850. The most intense part of their letter-writing might be over, but in terms of responding to one another, Emerson and Fuller may have simply moved on to another form as they continued to work out for themselves what their professional roles were to be. (20)


(1.) For an overview of the commentary on 1844, see Reynolds, "Prospects for the Study of Margaret Fuller" 142-43.

(2.) The following abbreviations, cited parenthetically throughout the text, refer to the letters and journals of Fuller and Emerson:
   J "'The Impulses of Human Nature': Margaret
   Fuller's Journal from June through October
   1844." Citation by page number.

   LMF The Letters of Margaret Fuller. Citation by
   page number.

   JMN The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks
   of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Citation by volume
   and page number.

   LRWE The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
   Citation by page number.

(3.) For biographical details of this period see Von Mehren 117-99; LMF 3: 168-258; J 38-51.

(4.) For a detailed discussion of Fuller's transformation of this essay into a book, see Reynolds, "From Dial Essay."

(5.) Thoreau was probably inspired by Fuller's Summer on the Lakes.

(6.) Myerson 96; see also Fink, "Margaret Fuller" 60-66.

(7.) For one account of the end of the Dial and the implications for Emerson and Thoreau, see Fink, Prophet in the Marketplace 127-28.

(8.) For example, Christina Zwarg has written extensively about the ways in which the letters between the two show an elaboration of feminist thinking that surfaces in the works of both. Throughout her book, Feminist Conversations, Zwarg reveals the extent to which Emerson was influenced by Fuller and rice versa; she frequently uses their correspondence to demonstrate the effects of their written exchanges on one another. For other studies, see Bean, Berkson, and Urbanski. See also Packer's study of Fuller's correspondence with James Freeman Clarke.

(9.) See also Decker, especially 104-40.

(10.) For a detailed study of Fuller's interest in a variety of nontraditional practices and beliefs, see Lott.

(11.) LMF 3:180. See Johnson 245-46 for a discussion of Buchanan's lecture at Amory Hall.

(12.) For a discussion of mesmerism and its practitioners, see Robert C. Fuller 16-47.

(13.) In a brief note to Sarah Freeman Clarke on 19 February, Emerson wrote, "Margaret Fuller tells me that you question my right to see your friend on account of some skepticism alleged or confessed. If I have expressed any opinion on this subject, it was on general grounds; I have heard too little of the experiments at your house, to entitle me to make any judgement" (LRWE 7, 588-89).

(14.) For details of the publication of Summer on the Lakes, see my Introduction xi-xii.

(15.) For discussions of Fuller's career in New York, see Bean and Myerson, Catherine C. Mitchell, and Kopacz.

(16.) For a summary of criticism and a further discussion of Emerson's choice of a final essay, see Gougeon, "Emerson's Abolition Conversion" 182-88.

(17.) For another reading of this letter, see Steele 198-99.

(18.) For an account of the relationship between Fuller and Hawthorne in the early 1840s, see Thomas R. Mitchell.

(19.) For accounts of Fuller's interest in antislavery, see Kearns and Karcher.

(20.) This essay began as a presentation at a Ralph Waldo Emerson Society session of the American Literature Association meeting, May 1999, Baltimore, Maryland. I am grateful for the comments of William Decker, Robert Richardson, David Robinson, and Sarah Wider. I am especially grateful to Linck Johnson for his thoughtful suggestions on a draft of this essay.


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Author:Belasco, Susan
Publication:Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers
Date:Jan 1, 2003
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