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Margaret Fuller

Transatlantic Crossings in a Revolutionary Age

Edited by Charles Capper and Cristina Giorcelli

Publication Year: 2007

Margaret Fuller (1810–1850), a pioneering gender theorist, transcendentalist, journalist, and literary critic, was one of the most well-known and highly regarded feminist intellectuals of nineteenth-century America. With her contemporaries Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, she was one of the predominant writers of the Transcendentalist movement, and she aligned herself in both her public and private life with the European revolutionary fervor of the 1840s. She traveled to Italy as a foreign correspondent for the New York Tribune to cover the nascent revolutions, pursuing the transnational ideal awakened in her youth by a classical education in European languages and a Romantic curiosity about other cultures, traditions, and identities.
    This volume is a collaboration of international scholars who, from varied fields and approaches, assess Fuller’s genius and character. Treating the last several years of Margaret Fuller’s short life, these essays offer a truly international discussion of Fuller’s unique cultural, political, and personal achievements. From the origins and articulations of Fuller’s cosmopolitanism to her examination of “the woman question,” and from her fascination with the European “other” to her candid perception of imperial America from abroad, they ponder what such an extraordinary woman meant to America, and also to Italy and Europe, during her lifetime and continuing to the present.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press


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pp. vii- ix

This collection of essays evolved out of an international conference, “Margaret Fuller: tra Europa e Stati Uniti d’America,” held November 20–22, 2000, at the American Academy in Rome. To mark the occasion as well as commemorate Fuller’s contribution to the Italian movement for independence...

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pp. xi-xviii

If Margaret Fuller’s bold traversing of social and cultural boundaries established her celebrity as the most famous American intellectual woman of her generation, none of her crossings contributed more to that fame than her simple act of traveling across the Atlantic. In its literal sense, of course...

I. Transnational Crossings

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1. Getting from Here to There: Margaret Fuller’s American Transnational Odyssey

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pp. 3-26

When I began my own odyssey of writing Margaret Fuller’s life, I knew my guiding historical question would necessarily be: how did a woman, who lived three-quarters of her life in the private sphere relegated to antebellum women, manage in a single decade to fashion herself into her generation’s...

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2. Playing the Eclectic: Margaret Fuller’s Creative Appropriation of Goethe

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pp. 27-44

“No author,” remarks Octavius Brooks Frothingham in the first significant study of American Transcendentalism, “occupied the cultivated New England mind as much as [Goethe] did...

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3. Margaret Fuller and the Ideal of Heroism

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pp. 45-65

To write an essay on heroism is probably rash, for there is perhaps only one other nineteenth-century cliché so grand and so amorphous, and that is “genius,” which uncomfortably tends to merge into “hero.” ...

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4. Margaret Fuller’s Search for the Maternal

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pp. 66-98

In recent years various scholars have lamented the fact that the life of Margaret Fuller continues to attract more attention than her works. Because of this undue focus, they remark, we still lack critical editions of fundamental texts, ...

II. Italy as Text and Context

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5. Mutual Interpretation: Margaret Fuller’s Journeys in Italy

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pp. 99-123

Had Fuller fulfilled her youthful dream, she would have accompanied Harriet Martineau to Europe in 1835 when she was twenty-five. But her father’s death on the eve of her trip caused a delay of eleven years, years of transformative experience both in Europe and in Fuller...

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6. The Unbroken Charm: Margaret Fuller, G. S. Hillard, and the American Tradition of Travel Writing on Italy

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pp. 124-155

The earliest American tradition of travel writing on Italy was actually a New England tradition, and it grew out of the fact that so many New Englanders followed one another to Italy in the first half of the nineteenth century, leaving a wealth of journals, letters, travelogues, ...

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7. Realism, Idealism, and Passion in Margaret Fuller’s Response to Italy

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pp. 156-171

Drawing upon Margaret Fuller’s private letters as well as her dispatches written for the New-York Daily Tribune , this essay critically examines her observations and judgments during her 1847–49 travels in Europe, with particular attention to the revolution in Italy. As she recorded her reactions to people and events...

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8. Righteous Violence: The Roman Republic and Margaret Fuller’s Revolutionary Example

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pp. 172-194

In her dispatches from Italy during 1848 and 1849, Margaret Fuller spoke as an American on behalf of what she called “my Italy” and celebrated the romantic heroism of the defenders of the Roman Republic. “The voice of this age,” she wrote after the republic fell, “shall yet proclaim the names of some of these Patriots...

III. European/American Others

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9. A Humbug, a Bounder, and a Dabbler: Margaret Fuller, Cristina di Belgioioso, and Christina Casamassima

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pp. 195-220

Even before leaving for Europe Margaret Fuller had already acquired a reputation as a woman and an intellectual with the potential to disturb the entire group of New England scholars and artists who knew her—James Russell Lowell, among others. ...

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10. Margaret Fuller on the Stage

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pp. 221-240

One, none, and a hundred thousand [women] is the protagonist of Susan Sontag’s play Alice in Bed , written in 1990, published in 1993, and widely performed at academically related theatrical institutions both across the United States—Cambridge, Chicago, Seattle, and New York City, among other...

Appendix: Documents in the State Archive of Rome

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pp. 241-250

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pp. 251-258

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pp. 259-264


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pp. 265-268


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pp. 269- 281

E-ISBN-13: 9780299223434
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299223403

Publication Year: 2007