Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

This book grew out of the second Transatlantic Women conference in Florence, in June 2013, cosponsored by the Margaret Fuller Society, the Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society, and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Society, following a successful first conference in 2008 at the University of Oxford. Like those conferences, this book is truly a collaboration on an international scale, with contributing scholars from around the world—Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, and the United States. Like the transatlantic conversations that took place during the nineteenth century, both the conference and the book brought together scholars for exchanges about nineteenth-century women writers who traveled to Italy, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, and the Bahamas....

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Introduction | Women Conversing on Culture, Society, and Politics

Beth L. Lueck, Sirpa Salenius, & Nancy Lusignan Schultz

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pp. xiii-xxviii

On the evening of 16 May 1850, the British poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her husband, Robert Browning, hosted an intimate going-away party for their friend Margaret Fuller Ossoli and her family at Casa Guidi, their charming home in Piazza San Felice in Florence. The next day, the Ossoli family would board a ship for their ill-fated trip to New York. These leading expatriate women writers had much more in common than their deep intellectual interests in writing and politics. They were also mothers of toddler boys. Fuller Ossoli’s son, Angelo, had been born in September 1848, and Robert Wiedeman Barrett Browning, known as “Pen,” in March 1849, so the babies were just half a year apart in age. The women had...

Part 1 | Reports on the Risorgimento

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pp. 1-2

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1 | “My Readers Will Thank Me”: J.-C. L. Simonde de Sismondi, Civil Liberty, and Transatlantic Sympathy in Catharine Sedgwick’s Letters from Abroad to Kindred at Home (1841)

Lucinda L. Damon-Bach

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pp. 3-22

Near the end of volume 2 of her 1841 travel book, Letters from Abroad to Kindred at Home, Catharine Maria Sedgwick addresses her readers in a surprisingly lengthy three-and-a-quarter-page footnote, citing a recent publication by the Swiss economist and historian Jean-Charles Léonard Simonde de Sismondi.1 Of the 184 footnotes in her travelogue, it is by far the longest and begins, “Those of my readers who chance to be ignorant on the subject will thank me for translating a few extracts from M. Sismondi’s accurate account of the Tuscan peasant, instead of giving them the superficial observations of my own very limited opportunities” (2:301n). Sedgwick’s “few extracts” turn out to be 1,175 words, through which she introduces her readers...

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2 | Margaret Fuller’s Transatlantic Vistas: Newspapers and Nation Building

Sonia Di Loreto

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pp. 23-37

Before leaving the United States for her long-anticipated travel to Europe, Margaret Fuller discussed the crucial role of the periodical press in her 1846 essay “American Literature; Its Position in the Present Time, and Prospects for the Future” and argued that “the most important part of our literature, while the work of diffusion is still going on, lies in the journals which monthly, weekly, daily, send their messages to every corner of the great land, and form, at present, the only efficient instrument for the general education of the people” (2:137–38). Fuller was well aware of the multiple audiences that different kinds of writing address and always felt the need to educate the public more broadly; for this reason her attention to journalistic writing — as a writer, as a reader, and as a critic — never waned. Fuller in fact believed that...

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3 | Margaret Fuller and Giuseppe Mazzini: Between Faith and Fate

Gigliola Sacerdoti Mariani

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pp. 38-53

The articles Margaret Fuller wrote from Rome and Florence as a correspondent for the New-York Daily Tribune, covering and framing some of the e vents that shaped her life, provide valuable insights into her ideological beliefs. Fuller’s essays give a very precise picture of the complex sociopolitical network to which she belonged and of her transatlantic relationships, in which Giuseppe Mazzini was the most outstanding hero. These essays are related to a variety of sociohistorical conditions of production and, in particular, to the brief life of the Roman Republic, during which she witnessed the “sad but glorious days” she referred to in her dispatch dated 10 June 1849, published on 24 July....

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4 | Margaret Fuller’s Transatlantic Journey as a Model for Intercultural Development

Mariarosa Mettifogo

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pp. 54-72

The most defining moments in Margaret Fuller’s career coincided with two journeys that had profound repercussions for her life and ideology. An author firmly rooted in the culture of early-nineteenth-century New England, Fuller began moving away from her base after 1843, the year in which she published “The Great Lawsuit,” the embryonic version of her feminist manifesto, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845). This movement was ideological as much as geographical and brought her to the American frontier first, as recorded in her travel book, Summer on the Lakes (1844), and to Europe later, where she traveled as a foreign correspondent for the New-York Tribune (1846–50). Most important, it brought her to herself....

Part 2 | Transatlantic Exchanges with Italian Culture

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pp. 73-74

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5 | Margaret Fuller’s “Raphael’s Deposition from the Cross” and the Tribune Letters: The Mater Dolorosa’s Tripartite Rites of Passage

Joan R. Wry

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pp. 75-89

In 1844, when Emerson proclaimed that he was seeking “the great American poet,” many of the women writing and publishing poetry at the time would not have met his criteria. Emerson’s well-known essay “The Poet” defines an aesthetic not found in contemporary women’s poetry. Margaret Fuller had skillfully edited Emerson’s essay in 1841 and reviewed it in December 1844. While she had achieved both print success and public acclaim at this point in her career, she was not celebrated for her poetry — in spite of having written well over a hundred poems, now found in various editions and manuscript collections. As Jeffrey Steele notes in the opening line of one of his many essays on Fuller, “Margaret Fuller has not been remembered as a poet”...

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6 | Veins Full of Fire: Margaret Fuller’s Symbols of Social Transformation

Jeffrey Steele

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pp. 90-101

During her career, Margaret Fuller learned how to use profound symbolic structures to represent social change. Many of these symbolic forms dated back to the early years of her literary career, when she turned to classical mythology and European mysticism to construct a radical new language of selfhood. When she was faced with the social problems of New York City, Fuller adapted these imaginative structures, transposing them from the self to the nation. By the time Fuller left New York for Europe in 1846, she had developed a powerful and finely nuanced symbolic vocabulary that enabled her to imagine patterns of national change. While she was in Europe, Fuller’s encounters with Giuseppe Mazzini and Adam Mickiewicz linked her imaginative structures to a fervent revolutionary nationalism that she had previously...

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7 | Pulling Strings: The Transatlantic Influence of Marionettes on American Women Writers

Debra J. Rosenthal

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pp. 102-117

Nineteenth-century visual, literary, and performing arts moved back and forth across the Atlantic, most obviously with writing, lectures, painting, sculpture, music (opera), dance, and theater. Another art form that originated in Europe and gained great currency when it crossed the ocean to the United States was the puppet or marionette show. I am interested in how themes and images of marionette shows, which intricately interact with larger general social and aesthetic concerns, worked their way into American literature at the time. In turn, I will explore how the most popular American novel of the nineteenth century, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, influenced subsequent marionette shows so that a deep-rooted European tradition - marionette theater — became grafted onto an indigenous American theatrical tradition: blackface minstrelsy....

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8 | Among the Prophets: Harriet Beecher Stowe and George Eliot in Italy

Rita Bode

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pp. 118-135

Thomas Trollope — elder brother of the more famous Anthony — and his accomplished wife, Theodosia, regularly welcomed to their Florentine home a steady stream of Anglo-American visitors to Italy. In the spring of 1860, on separate occasions, the hospitable Villino Trollope played host to two seemingly disparate, if equally extraordinary nineteenth-century women writers: Harriet Beecher Stowe and George Eliot. In the context of the strong transatlantic epistolary relationship that Stowe and Eliot would begin to form nine years later, their Italian crossings seem a missed opportunity for a personal meeting, but at the same time they suggest another significant link in the range of compelling connections that bind them....

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9 | “A Country of Whose Language I Knew Not a Word”: Charlotte Perkins Gilman in and on Italy

Denise D. Knight

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pp. 136-154

In the months before her suicide on 17 August 1935, the American author and lecturer Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935) feared that after her death she would be forgotten. Ravaged by cancer that had reduced her once vigorous body to just a hundred pounds, Gilman was on a mission to reclaim her place in the American literary landscape. Her career had been on the slide since the early 1920s, a consequence, in large part, of the waning Progressive movement, which left her social theories out of step with the times. To her friend Alice Locke Park she confessed in 1928, “Lectures have fallen off a lot. Guess I’m a has-been” (Letters 272). Yet even as Gilman planned her suicide in the spring and summer of 1935, she sought to restore her legacy. When a debilitating case of shingles left her too weak to write, Gilman recruited a friend,...

Part 3 | Encounters with the Atlantic World

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pp. 155-156

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10 | Elizabeth Peabody, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, and the Transatlantic Homeopathic Politics of Reform

Cécile Roudeau

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pp. 157-176

During the mid-nineteenth century, what was thought of as an irregular practice of medicine found itself at the center of both everyday and philosophical discussions in the intellectual circles of Boston and Cambridge.1 This practice, homeopathy, had its roots in Germany, and it gained ground in the United States from the 1840s onward around figures of exile such as Constantine Hering and, of special interest here, members of the Wesselhoeft family: William; his younger brother, Robert; and Conrad, Robert’s son - all of whom were involved in establishing the alternative medicine in America.2 Homeopathy was anything but an obscure practice in those days; it galvanized many and left few indifferent.3 Among its American advocates...

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11 | Joseph Sturge, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the Free-Labor Movement

R. J. Ellis

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pp. 177-194

Those commentators who have examined the contact between Joseph Sturge and Calvin and Harriet Beecher Stowe during the Stowes’ visit to the United Kingdom in 1853 and specifically to Birmingham in May the same year generally consider that Sturge decisively influenced the Stowes to support the use of “free labor” (as it was commonly called at the time)1—that is to say, the idea that slave-labor produce, such as slave-produced cotton, should not be purchased and that instead cotton and cotton goods produced without slave labor should be purchased.2 But what, exactly, was the process by which Stowe had her “attention turned very seriously” to this movement to patronize only free-labor and avoid slave-labor products (Stowe, Letter)? How, in particular, did Joseph Sturge influence her?3...

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12 | Heaven and Manufacturing: Political Dissent in Elizabeth Stuart Phelps’s Foothold in Britain

Stephanie Palmer

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pp. 195-215

Elizabeth Stuart Phelps’s The Gates Ajar (1868) celebrates the power of individuals to console themselves after a bereavement. When Mary Cabot hears that her brother Roy, her only surviving family member, was killed on the battlefield in the American Civil War, she grows wild with grief. Her friends, neighbors, deacon, and minister offer only paltry comfort. In contrast, Mary’s aunt, Winifred Forceythe, encourages Mary to believe that heaven might be a place where people maintain their individuality and memories, where she might meet Roy in the future, and where Roy might be thinking about her until she arrives. Through long talks with Aunt Winifred and copious writing in her journal, Mary learns to feel better about her brother’s death and to reach out to the community.1...

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13 | Bahama Triangle: Europe, America, and the Bahamas in Hart’s Letters from the Bahama Islands, Written in 1823–4

Eizabeth T. Kenney

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pp. 216-233

In 1826, Jeannette Margaret McCurdy Hart (1794–1861) wrote from Saybrook, Connecticut, to her brother-in-law, the Reverend Samuel Farmar Jarvis, in Italy, “If I were in any part of Europe, I would devote myself seriously to my pen for any spot there almost furnishes subjects for the taste and imagination.” Three years earlier, in 1823, Hart herself had traveled to another interesting place, Nassau in the Bahamas. In 1827, four years after her Bahamas trip and one year after writing to Jarvis, Hart published, anonymously, a slender volume of literary fiction, Letters from the Bahama Islands, Written in 1823–4. Hart’s understanding of writing as an imaginative response to a particular “spot” informs this text, in which she transforms the letters and observations from her 1823 trip to the Bahamas through her “taste and imagination.”...

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14 | Crossing the White Atlantic as a Woman Artist

Shirley Samuels

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pp. 234-251

To study American women in a nineteenth-century transatlantic context, whether they are writers or artists, means to ask: What is the relation between reading women’s works from the nineteenth century and seeing them? To read women of the nineteenth century means at once to discover women as characters, to interpret how women writers addressed their audiences, and to explore the biographies of women whose lives are read because they are writers. To see women as creators or subjects of art in the nineteenth century is to find those who witness or act as spectators, those whose bodies are seen, and those who create bodies to be seen. Noting relations between the lives of writers and artists and the women they create will not preoccupy me as much as the difficulty of keeping track of the identities they perform....

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15 | Transatlantic Perspectives in the Fiction of E. D. E. N. Southworth: People and Places

Joyce W. Warren

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pp. 252-269

The majority of the more than forty novels written by E. D. E. N. Southworth (1819–99) are set in the United States, primarily in Maryland and Virginia. 1 Southworth, however, was not a provincial novelist. Characters from other countries often enter her novels, and all or part of several of her novels is set overseas. This important transatlantic facet of Southworth’s fiction has received little or no scholarly attention. Southworth portrayed “other” people and other places, and explored questions of ethnicity, class, religion, and culture in a large number of novels, including such works as...

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16 | “Spinsters for Ever!”: Girls Abroad in Louisa May Alcott’s Travelogues

Daniela Daniele

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pp. 270-286

Louisa May Alcott’s travelogues were based largely on her two one-year journeys to Europe. The first took place between 1865 and 1866, after the disappointing reception of her novel for adults,Moods (1864), which convinced her to leave Concord and serve the wealthy invalid Anna Weld as a duenna. The second was a pleasure trip five years later, which she took in order to escape celebrity spotters and the noise aroused by the unexpected success of Little Women (1868). During her first transatlantic trip, Alcott enjoyed her encounter with a Polish patriot who was fighting for national independence and who became a lifelong source of inspiration. During the second traveling experience, she was officially off duty and could enjoy the...

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17 | Edward Lear’s American “Sister”: The Nonsense Poetry of Laura E. Richards Reconsidered

Etti Gordon Ginzburg

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pp. 287-302

Most Americans may find it interesting to discover that the canonical British nonsense poet Edward Lear (1812–88) had an American counterpart, a woman who earned the sobriquet “American Poet Laureate of Nonsense for children” (Donahue 55). Today this woman is practically unknown, unless dimly remembered as the daughter of a woman poet and writer of intellectual magnitude who is still famous mainly for one enduring achievement: a celebrated verse. The women to whom I refer are Laura E. Richards (1850–1943) and her mother, Julia Ward Howe (1819–1910), author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Ironically, Richards’s starting point on her way back to public recognition is her status as the daughter of Julia Ward...

Contributors

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pp. 303-306

Index

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pp. 307-316