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Margaret Fuller, prescient and present.

Margaret Fuller's Cultural Critique: Her Age and Legacy, ed. Fritz Fleischmann (New York: Peter Lang, 2000), 277 pp., $58.95.

"My Heart Is a Large Kingdom" Selected Letters of Margaret Fuller, ed. Robert N. Hudspeth (Cornell UP, 2001), xix + 336 pp., $29.95.

Sarah Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) asked a great deal of her friends, urging them to think rigorously and communicate with clarity and originality. Ready to acknowledge their strong points and provide emotional support, she sometimes pointed out their weaknesses or suggested attitudinal and behavioral changes to stimulate them to reach their highest potentials. She expected equal intellectual stimulation, candor, and encouragement from them. As a social critic, she exposed the patriarchal biases of organized religions, and she reproved America for exploiting slaves, prostitutes, and women in general. Challenging white Americans to live up to the democratic ideals they professed, she called on them to support the republican revolution in Italy ("This cause is OURS"). No less did Fuller hold herself to a high standard, for much was at stake: as she put it, "truth and knowledge are to be wooed and won." Her letters frequently express disappointment in her own perceived failures. Thrust into the roles of caretaker, provider, and educator for her family, she worked hard enough to become the translator, editor, literary critic, and cultural critic who produced a remarkable body of writing.

For more than sixteen decades, Fuller has made demands on her readers. She is now recognized as one of the great nineteenth-century writers of English prose. Yet the famously difficult style--discursive, discontinuous, polyvocal--of her major works, "The Great Lawsuit: Man versus Men, Woman versus Women" (Dial, July 1843), Summer on the Lakes, in 1843 (1844), and Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845), has long provoked bafflement or complaint, even among those dazzled by her intelligence, learning, and passion. In recent years, her style has called forth justification or rationalization on theoretical grounds, arguments that some scholars regard as special pleading. Convinced that Fuller indeed speaks to us, many academics are ready to be the active readers she asks for: willing and competent to interpret, imagine, feel, analyze, and synthesize. Reading the two books identified at the beginning of this essay set me on the path to becoming a Fuller scholar. Though still a neophyte, I hope to lead my readers toward an appreciation of her centrality to current literary and cultural studies. Along the way I note various comments on her prose style.

Fuller's recent elevation to canonized status occurred as scholars published new editions of her major works and reprinted less-known writings that had not been available, or available as Fuller wrote them, for many years. With uncommon care and fortitude, Robert N. Hudspeth edited a six-volume collection (1983-1994) of her letters. Judith Mattson Bean and Joel Myerson (the premier Fuller bibliographer) assembled a complete edition of her mid-1840s articles and reviews in the New-York Tribune; all 250 of these texts can be found in the CD ROM disk enclosed with their volume, Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New-York Tribune, 1844-1846 (2000), which prints over 80 essays. Fuller's articles written for the Tribune during her years abroad are collected in "These Sad But Glorious Days ": Dispatches from Europe, 1846-1850, (1991), ed. Larry J. Reynolds and Susan Belasco (then Smith). Many readers find these newly available works, stylistically more direct than her better-known books, more attractive and teachable. Selections appear in the major classroom anthologies.

Biographical and critical scholarship likewise have flourished, as Reynolds demonstrates in "Prospects for the Study of Margaret Fuller," Resources for American Literary Study 26.2 (2000)--an essential essay for Fuller scholars. Its 156-item list of works cited is also accessible at the Fuller Society website maintained by Reynolds at http://www-english.tamu.edu/fuller/. Reynolds, editor of the 1998 Norton Critical

Edition of Woman in the Nineteenth Century, edits the Margaret Fuller Society Newsletter. Another useful tool for researchers is the yearly chapter on Transcendentalism by David M. Robinson, himself a Fuller scholar, in American Literary Scholarship. According to Susan Belasco, writing in 2002, "nearly three dozen articles or chapters" on Fuller had been published since 1995 (Legacy 19.2: 256), the year of an academic conference at Babson College devoted exclusively to Fuller. In 2000, the American Academy in Rome hosted an international conference on Fuller and her European connections. Robinson reports on the papers in ALS (2000).

Fritz Fleischmann, who was instrumental in organizing the Fuller conference in 1995, has edited a valuable collection of critical essays, many of which were first presented at Babson. His "Introduction: Cultural Translation as Cultural Critique" provides an overview of current theory and scholarship pertaining or applicable to Fuller and identifies keynotes of recent studies. Her life marked by a struggle to live with irresolvable conflicts, Fuller avoided "alienation" by making constructive use of "her own epistemological instability." This struggle "produce[d] the many forms of her cultural critique--'a critique of existing practices and definitions'"--as well as "a questioning of its own means, the language of criticism." He calls her work "cultural translation" (emphasis added) because she "'translated,' mediated, negotiated between categories [and] perspectives," between modes of perception and expression. Translation, then, is an interpretive process. It became Fuller's mode of functioning and the basis for her cultural criticism; it shaped her dialogic style. Focusing on the metaphor of translation--which, he notes, is extensively explored in Christina Zwarg's ground-breaking book, Feminist Conversations: Fuller, Emerson, and the Play of Reading (1995)--Fleischmann observes that Zwarg's "model of Fuller's reading as 'translation' and vice versa is emerging as a new paradigm in Fuller studies." I examine the essays in Margaret Fuller's Cultural Critique in the order established by Fleischmarm, sometimes citing additional publications on the same subjects.

First is an article by Bell Gale Chevigny, pioneering author of The Woman and the Myth: Margaret Fuller's Life and Writings (1976; rev. and expanded 1994). '"Cheat Me [On] by No Illusion': Margaret Fuller's Cultural Critique and Its Legacies" articulates a claim explicit and implicit in many of the articles in this volume and in Fuller studies generally: that Fuller is timely because she anticipated current perspectives on persistent issues. Chevigny identifies seven "practices" that she employed "to nurture a more authentic culture": (1) insistence on self-knowledge, (2) an effort to "know" and "identify with" others, (3) a commitment to dialogue and conversation, (4) experimentation, even when it challenged precious illusions, (5) "mutual interpretation" in interactions with friends and the reading public, (6) acceptance of multiculturalism, and (7) a cosmopolitan view of the U.S.A. as "one among nations." Because these strategies and concepts have been adopted by many of today's thinkers, Fuller has at last become visible as "a world-class intellectual."

"What 'Speaks in Us': Margaret Fuller, Woman's Rights, and Human Nature" by Cynthia J. Davis asks, What did the nineteenth-century women's rights movement owe to Fuller? How might the movement have been different if Fuller had lived to lead it? Davis finds that as early as the Declaration of Sentiments composed after the women's convention at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, other American feminists were abandoning one of Fuller's most radical moves: her degendering of the female body and redefinition of woman as "soul." The Declaration, "written primarily by Fuller protegee Elizabeth Cady Stanton," reaffirmed essentialism, accepting "gendered categories" as "fixed and oppositional." Suffragists also ignored Fuller's stated observation that the white bourgeois definition of "Woman" excluded blacks. Fuller's position on women's rights "resists or sidesteps the traps of restrictive essentialism and disingenuous universalism that later and even today risk bogging down the feminist movement." This essay could profitably be assigned along with Fuller's Woman to help students understand the implications of basing women's rights on so-called natural rights.

Judith Strong Albert's "Refrains: Margaret Fuller's Presence between Centuries" traces the author's "past and present circles of influence," her "tangible and implied presence today." Albert demonstrates that Lydia Maria Child, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, and Caroline H. Dall--who learned from Fuller in personal interactions-went on to articulate issues that are addressed by such late-twentieth-century cultural critics as Alice Walker, Adrienne Rich, and Carolyn Heilbrun. Albert presents passages from Fuller's works alongside comparable excerpts from the writings of feminists born in the following century. Without undertaking to show that these twentieth-century thinkers were directly influenced by reading Fuller, she maintains that Fuller's work made others' critiques possible.

The purpose and themes of leading Child scholar Carolyn L. Karcher's informative essay are indicated in her title: "Margaret Fuller and Lydia Maria Child: Intersecting Careers, Reciprocal Influences." Karcher traces three phases in her subjects' relationship, noting, for instance, that Child participated in Fuller's Conversations and published three advance reviews of Woman. While writing "The Great Lawsuit," the essay that would be expanded into Woman, Fuller drew examples of distinguished women and of egalitarian marriages from biographies written by Child. Responding to Summer on the Lakes, the older woman felt confident enough of Fuller's respect and dedication to excellence to criticize her writing style as labored, "seem[ing] to be pumped, rather than to flow."

Judith Mattson Bean contributes "Margaret Fuller and Julia Ward Howe: A Woman-to-Woman Influence." After examining theories of influence between women writers, Bean argues that over time Howe's "dynamic relationship" with Fuller passed through several stages--from admiration to "selective identification" to the "resistance" reflected in her biography of her mentor, Margaret Fuller (1883). Bean closely analyzes the political, social, and personal contexts for the biography, "an intersubjective and dialogic text." Like Bean's "'A Presence Among Us': Margaret Fuller's Place in Nineteenth-Century Oratorical Culture," ESQ 44 (1998), this fine article furthers the ongoing project of tracing Fuller's role in enlarging possibilities for women. See also "The Nineteenth-Century Women's Rights Movement and the Canonization of Margaret Fuller" by Transcendentalism scholar Phyllis Cole, published, like Bean's article, in ESQ's March 1998 special issue devoted to Fuller. Cole's "Stanton, Fuller, and the Grammar of Romanticism," NEQ 73 (2000), turns another facet of her study of feminism after Fuller.

Men's lives and careers were also changed by interactions with Fuller. Her friends and correspondents included leading Transcendentalists, other romantic authors, reformers, and revolutionaries. Recent examinations of particular relationships include Zwarg's Feminist Conversations (Emerson); Jeffrey Steele's "The Limits of Political Sympathy: Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Woman's Rights" (in The Emerson Dilemma: Essays on Emerson and Reform [2001], ed. T. Gregory Garvey), which finds "Fuller's spectral presence" in Emerson's 1855 lecture to the women's rights convention in Boston; Barbara Packer's "Dangerous Acquaintances: The Correspondence of Margaret Fuller and James Freeman Clarke," ELH/67 (2000); and T. Walter Herbert's Dearest Beloved." The Hawthornes and the Making of the Middle-Class Family (1993).

In "'This Mutual Visionary Company': Nathaniel Hawthorne and Margaret Fuller," his contribution to Fleischmann's collection, Thomas R. Mitchell challenges the long-lived idea that Hawthorne always intensely disliked Fuller. Chiefly responsible for that belief is Julian Hawthorne, who published in Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife (1884) some of his father's disparaging private remarks about Fuller. Julian gleefully dismissed her as a "fraud," immediately damaging her reputation (and eventually injuring his father's). Drawing upon the elder Hawthorne's letters and journals, Mitchell argues that in the early 1840s, he and Fuller were close friends, that "Hawthorne's friendship with Fuller was the single most intimate adult relationship he ever experienced with a woman" other than his wife. By way of print, Fuller advised him how to bring his fiction to life. Mitchell asserts that Hawthorne "would attempt ... to exorcise Fuller's ghost" in portrayals of his fictional heroines Beatrice Rappacini, Hester, Zenobia, and Miriam. A compelling case for these claims is made in Mitchell's Hawthorne's Fuller Mystery (1998). Another treatment of this relationship that quotes from Fuller's private writings and four reviews of Hawthorne is David B. Kesterson, "Margaret Fuller on Hawthorne," in Hawthorne and Women: Engendering and Expanding the Hawthorne Tradition (1999), ed. John L. Idol and Melinda Ponder. More provocative is Scott Ash, "Rereading Antagonism as Sibling Rivalry: The Hawthorne/Fuller Dynamic," ATQ 9 (1995), which views the pair as "siblings" in cultural criticism--Fuller growing further into radicalism, unsettling Hawthorne and many other readers.

Mary-Jo Haronian's "Margaret Fuller, Perceiving Science" is the first of a grouping of essays on Fuller's cultural contexts and audiences. She rejected early-nineteenth-century science's "claim of superiority ... over other modes of perception" (science professed to see "new things" and, by virtue of its objectivity, "to perceive all things more clearly"). Yet, Haronian contends, science is an omnipresent "strain" in Fuller's work; therefore, today's readers need to be informed about nineteenthcentury science as well as cognizant of Fuller's conviction that there are various means of approaching truth and her refusal to be "stopped by borders." Explicating Fuller's understanding of Gottfried Wilhelm Liebniz's Monadology, Haronian proposes that perception is Fuller's central concern and "the major structuring element of Woman in the Nineteenth Century," a work that has often been characterized as eclectic or denigrated as formless. This closely-argued, challenging essay concludes: "Science and subjectivity create a synergy that animates Fuller's writing at every level. It directs the seemingly erratic movements of her text, opens a universe of source material for her arguments, and allows her to challenge commonly held biases."

Jeffrey Steele's "Symbols of Transformation: Fuller's Psychological Languages" traces literary and cultural sources for the "new psychological language" that Fuller discovered in the early 1840s to explore and figure the inner life: the carbuncle, wind, and tomb, the goddess Leila, and the "pure," "divine" child. This language and symbolism, Steele remarks, have disconcerted many readers, from Emerson to students in your 1:00 class. Drawing upon texts by Fuller that many scholars have neglected, Steele brilliantly studies her mythmaking, social activism, especially on women's behalf, and impact on feminism in Transfiguring America: Myth, Ideology, and Mourning in Margaret Fuller's Writing (2001).

"'Unconnected Intelligence' and the Woman of Letters: Margaret Fuller's Darting (Dial)ogues" by Cheryl Fish analyzes the author's frequently expressed preference for speaking over writing in light of feminist theory. On the basis of "journal entries in and around 1840," Fish argues that Fuller--confident of her conversational powers, stimulated by dialogue, and feeling "trapped" by patriarchal conventions--"forg[ed] a practice of feminist deconslruction and reconstruction." Packed with ideas and citations of theorists along with Fuller scholars, this essay exemplifies the sophistication of late-twentieth-century studies of women's writing. Fish's commentary on Fuller's deployment of the letter as dialogue is likely to be meaningful not only to Fuller specialists but also to students of letters, an understudied genre. Such work on Fuller, greatly facilitated by Hudspeth's editing of her letters, is likely to be further stimulated by a projected collection of Fuller's correspondence with Emerson and Caroline Sturgis, to be edited by Hudspeth, Myerson, and Ronald A. Bosco.

Travel writing, a topic of considerable scholarly attention in the 1980s and 1990s, is the common focus of the next three essays. Michaela Bruckner Cooper's "Textual Wandering and Anxiety in Margaret Fuller's Summer on the Lakes" is recommended for readers alienated by its heterogeneous, discursive style. Cooper argues that the "textual wandering" in Summer (an account of Fuller's observations of, reflections on, and readings about the western frontier) is a deliberate "strategy": her self-conscious, self-questioning style enables Fuller to critique the upper Midwest, its native peoples, and Euro-American encroachment. Notes 2-5 acknowledge other scholars' varying arguments that Fuller's style is strategic and fundamentally unified--not inept, as assorted readers have suspected or charged. Cooper employs insights from studies of travel writing and of visual representation (filmmaking and nineteenth-century landscape painting) in order to elucidate Fuller's perception of Native Americans. According to Cooper, Fuller was unable consistently to avoid reinforcing colonial perspectives on Indians. On this issue see also Fleischmann, p. 9, and Susan Gilmore's essay. For another perspective on the style of Summer, see William W. Stowe, "Conventions and Voices in Fuller's Travel Writing," American Literature 63.2 (1991). Stowe establishes that eclecticism and multivocality are typical of antebellum travel writing and argues that in Summer and many of her articles for the New-York Tribune, Fuller worked successfully with the "polyphonic model of travel writing." Centering on the portrayal of Native American women, Gilmore's "Margaret Fuller 'Receiving' the 'Indians'" takes its title from a poem in Summer on the Lakes that also appeared in Rufus W. Griswold's Female Poets of America (1849): "Governor Everett Receiving the Indian Chiefs, November 1837." Gilmore examines other nineteenth-century authors' and visual artists' treatment of white ladies as exemplars of civilization and Indians as a vanishing "type." She finds that Fuller attempted to criticize both the suppression and the sentimentalizing of Indians. Influenced, however, by the narratives of the dominant culture (particularly "sentimental discourse serving colonial ends"), Fuller at times participated in the tourist's gaze and the colonialist's manner of seeing indigenous Americans. Another article concerned with the trope of the vanishing Indian is Annette Kolodny's "Margaret Fuller's First Depiction of Indians and the Limits on Social Protest: An Exercise in Women's Studies Pedagogy," Legacy 18.1 (2001).

Brigitte Bailey, too, takes an interdisciplinary approach as she explores how the observer sees and represents a different culture. Her illustrated contribution to Fleischmann's collection--"Representing Italy: Fuller, History Painting, and the Popular Press," like much of Fuller's writing for the New-York Tribune during the Roman revolution of 1848-49--rests on two premises: that representation is interpretation and that the aesthetic is political. Mid-nineteenth-century American genre painting and history painting "corresponded with the two forms of perception Americans exercised upon Italy." To genre painters, tourists, and most authors, Italy was feminine, picturesque, aesthetic, and static. Bailey posits that in her dispatches to New York, Fuller undertook to teach Americans to "shift from genre perspectives to something like the perspective of history painting." Fuller critiqued the "tourist/genre gaze" in order that readers might "see political change" in a society struggling toward nationhood. Her word-painting of crowd scenes is intended to help Americans perceive and respect Italians as human beings, not conventional types (peasant, lover) but as "citizens" and "protagonist[s] in the founding events of the Republic." Explicitly exhorting Americans to honor their own revolutionary heritage, she attempted to revive American idealism as well as to promote Italian nationhood. Bailey's more recent essay, "Fuller, Hawthorne, and Imagining Urban Spaces in Rome," which reads Fuller's Tribune dispatches alongside The Marble Faun, appears in Roman Holidays: American Artists and Writers in Nineteenth-Century Italy (2002), ed. Robert K. Martin and Leland S. Person. She argues that Hawthorne's view of Rome was that of a tourist or flaneur ("the detached consumer of spectacle"), whereas Fuller portrayed the city as "political space" and ardently advocated the building of a unified nation.

Essays by Dorothy Z. Baker and Jeffrey Steele analyze the posthumous presentation of Fuller's writings by her brother: two collections of essays, journal entries, and letters in addition to new editions of Summer and Woman. Baker demonstrates in "Arthur Buckminster Fuller's (Re)Vision of the Life and Work of Margaret Fuller" that Arthur carefully selected from her works and "aggressively" altered both style and content. Baker sees Arthur (1822-62), a Unitarian minister, as intent on redefining his independent sister as a True, nonfeminist, Woman. In consequence, several generations of readers knew her work as "amended" by a well-meaning editor uneasy with her radicalism. In another article, "Excising the Text, Exorcising the Author: Margaret Fuller's Summer on the Lakes, in 1843," Baker focuses on Arthur's abridgement of Fuller's travel book/autobiographical account/collection of poems and stories/translation-paraphrase of Justinus Kerner's The Seeress of Prevorst. This study appears in Sherry Lee Linkon's collection In Her Own Voice: Nineteenth-Century American Women Essayists (1997).

As editor of The Essential Margaret Fuller (1992), Jeffrey Steele printed nineteen of the author's poems; he contributed "Editing Margaret Fuller's Poetry" to Fleischmann's volume. Consulting fourteen manuscript versions of poems that Arthur Fuller printed in Life Without and Life Within (1859), Steele assesses the "fidelity of [Arthur's] editing" and concludes that he was as faithful as most editors of his time.

Silently asking Steele's permission, I elaborate on editorial faithfulness. John Greenleaf Whittier altered poems by Lucy Larcom while she was still alive to be pained by his unmalicious arrogance; at length she told him to stop. Thoreau refused to let Putnam's Magazine alter some of his essays and expressed outrage at the Atlantic Monthly's excision of a sentence from his account of a trip to the Maine woods. Dead authors, white or otherwise, could not defend themselves. Heavy hands were laid on Emily Dickinson's manuscripts; Austin Dickinson's may have wielded scissors. Writers of life-and-letters biographies, generally intent on portraying their subjects as exemplary persons and preserving their privacy, would misquote manuscripts or cut and paste them at will, sometimes proceeding to destroy the originals. Nineteenth-century editors' misrepresentations of Fuller have become particularly notorious. For an early, influential account of editorial intentions and interventions, read Chevigny, "The Long Arm of Censorship: Myth-Making in Margaret Fuller's Time and Our Own," Signs 2.2 (1976). Hudspeth's account of how Emerson, Clarke, and W.H. Channing put together the Fuller they erected in Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1852) is in Letters of Margaret Fuller, 1:59-65.

In Margaret Fuller's Cultural Critique Steele observes that Fuller's brother felt free, if not obliged, to make changes, some of them "substantive," in her poems. He affixed interpretative titles (hence limiting the works' meanings or obscuring their biographical import). He omitted lines and whole stanzas (thereby changing meaning as well as form). Steele argues that restored passages in certain poems written in 1844 "illuminate" " central symbols and myths" in Woman. Some poems seem to have been altered because they "disturbed [Arthur's] vision of his sister." Editing the work of a "brilliant visionary" who "transform[ed] suffering into creative insight, and ... mourning into spiritual ecstasy," he presented "a much tamer Margaret Fuller."

Clearly, then, it was Fuller's ideas and influence, not her writing style, that most disturbed her early editors and biographers. Many of them loved her and were anxious about her reputation as a self-proclaimed autonomous woman. The editors of the Memoirs asserted by their very title that she had married Giovanni Angelo Ossoli, father of her son. (Well, did she? Read Joan von Mehren, "Establishing the Facts on the Ossoli Family," Margaret Fuller Newsletter, 9:1-2 [2000].) Fuller's contemporaries knew she was not tame. Matthew Arnold approved her social activism yet called her a "partly brazen female." According to Orestes Brownson, she sounded like "a heathen priestess" in service of some unidentifiable deity. To her friend Elizabeth Barrett Browning, she was "one of the out & out Reds" in revolutionary Rome.

Today's readers are willing to accept, if not embrace, Fuller as a radical. But she still asks much of us, for to do her justice we must become familiar with her prodigious output, which is as challenging as ever--in part because it seems connected to everything. To be Fuller scholars, we must traverse a burgeoning and increasingly theorized field of secondary materials. That's why it took me two years to prepare this response to Fleischmann's collection of essays representative of recent work. The lack of an index is regrettable because Margaret Fuller's Cultural Critique can be used as a guidebook.

Although only Robert Hudspeth knows whether he loves Margaret Fuller, a shelf of volumes published by Cornell University Press bespeaks his commitment to editing her letters. He dedicates "My Heart Is a Large Kingdom" to his daughters, who "grew up with Margaret Fuller as a presence in our family." In the preface Hudspeth affirms that "her letters give us Fuller herself in ways her public writings cannot match." Acknowledging that 171 letters can only offer "yet another [editorial] version of Margaret Fuller," he states his intention "to present a comprehensive, balanced selection that meets Fuller on her own ground" and reflects the richness of her mind and experience.

He has succeeded in letting her reveal herself as a complex individual capable of the various voices in her public writings. These engaging letters trace her search for growth, achievement, and fulfillment commensurate with her education, abilities, hard work, and prerogatives as a human being --prerogatives limited by gender. As early as 1830, James Freeman Clarke recognized that "her powers immeasurably transcend[ed] her sphere." Certain themes recur: faith in talk as a means of learning, lack of financial security, determination to make a living by her pen, self-consciousness about her writing, concern about her health. "If I live" is reiterated in contexts where a conventional person might have said "the Lord willing." "If I were a man" receded as she gained confidence in her own resources.

Readers conditioned to expect abstruse philosophizing from a Transcendentalist or an undisciplined torrent of words from Fuller in particular will be struck by her clarity, warmth, irony, humor, and even concreteness. Her headaches and skin irritations turn "each touch and sound" into "scorpions and trumpets." She feels "silenced by" the bustling white folk in Chicago--"they are so all life and no thought." She urges an intellectual friend to "write, to bring [his] opinions into collision with those generally received." Declining to participate in Maria Weston Chapman's campaign for abolition, she writes, "As far as I know you seem to me quite wrong as to what is to be done for woman! ... But I should like to know your view and your grounds more clearly than I do." Fuller did not oppose abolitionism but considered it too narrow a cause.

The letters open windows into intense long-term relationships that required maintenance. In 1839 she told Caroline Sturgis that she wanted to receive letters but was too busy to write them regularly. "Though you are so much younger than I," she continued, "yet I have that degree of respect for your mind and character that I can look upon you as an equal friend. I also love you, and, probably, no other person you know could be so much to you as I, notwithstanding all my shortcomings." Interaction with Emerson, temperamentally cooler and ideologically less feminist than Fuller, was at times strained, yet they engaged in mutual education and support into her final years. She grieved deeply at the death of young Waldo Emerson in 1842. Writing Emerson just after the second anniversary of the child's passing, she confided, "I miss him when I think of you there [at home in Concord]; you seem to me lonely as if he filled to you a place which no other ever could in any degree." When Emerson wrote her in 1843 that a daughter had been born to their mutual friends Samuel and Anna Barker Ward, he stated, "Though no son, yet a sacred event." Fuller pulled up the father of Ellen and Edith Emerson: "Why is not the advent of a daughter as 'sacred' a fact as that of a son. I do believe, O Waldo, most unteachable of men, that you are at heart a sinner on this point. I intreat you to seek light in prayer upon it." She must have known that Emerson felt the lack of a son, which helps to explain why she corrected him with a humorous parody of clerical discourse.

The "Margaret Fuller" who is present in this selection of letters shows wide sympathies, courage, conviction of her own worth, the will to overcome self-pity, a capacity to administer stings, and hunger to give and receive love. The volume's final letter is addressed to Lewis Cass, Jr., American envoy to the Papal States in Rome. Shortly before embarking for New York, she urged, "[M]any important occasions are now likely to offer, for the American, (I wish I could write the Columbian) man to advocate, more, to represent the cause of Truth and Freedom, in the face of their foes." In that sentence, did she intend "man" to indicate "both man and woman," as specified at the beginning of Woman in the Nineteenth Century? As if by design, the editor allows a half-page of white space for contemplation.

Christina Zwarg points out that when Hudspeth began his editorial project, Fuller's papers were widely scattered, "tucked away," "often in disarray" (NEQ 75 [2002]: 145)--not reverently tended like Emerson's (RALS 14 [1984]: 174). He has made the fruits of his labors accessible by arranging the letters chronologically, with a brief introduction that contextualizes each of four sections, and by providing biographical sketches of persons who figure prominently in this correspondence. "My Heart ls a Large Kingdom" is lightly footnoted; detailed annotations and textual notes are available in the six-volume Letters.

One can only wish for more--more life for Fuller, greater knowledge about her and the issues that mattered to her, more truth and freedom everywhere. Fortunately, we know where to go for more letters, scrupulously edited printings of her works, and a great plenty of contributions to fuller scholarship.

Penn State Altoona
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Title Annotation:'Margaret Fuller's Cultural Critique: Her Age and Legacy' and '"My Heart Is a Large Kingdom": Selected Letters of Margaret Fuller'
Author:De Jong, Mary
Publication:Nineteenth-Century Prose
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 22, 2005
Words:4795
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