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In discussing Margaret Fuller's transition from an editor of the Dial to a columnist for the New-York Tribune, Larry Reynolds notes that the Transcendentalist journal "grew out of the coterie publishing practices" of Fuller and her friends, out of the "portfolios" of personal writings they shared. The "rich intertextuality" of their writings and of the ensuing issues of the Dial that Fuller edited gave way, Reynolds adds, to the less allusive language that she developed to address the broadly national "imagined audience" of the Tribune.1 This stylistic shift, as Fuller moved from a quarterly focused on "Literature, Philosophy, and Religion" (the Dial's subtitle) to a daily newspaper, accompanied a more complex change in Fuller's understanding of periodicals and their reading publics in the decade of the emergence of modern periodical print culture.

From the first issue of the Dial, Fuller is at work not only contributing to but also theorizing periodicals. In "A Short Essay on Critics" she mentions the popular "magazine," "journals," and "the daily paper," even as she is especially concerned to critique the quarterly "reviews," whose "partisan spirit" and "dictator[ial]" reviewers have "brought them into disrepute." However, her overview of "periodical writing" and criticism also argues that "their golden age cannot be quite passed. They afford too convenient a vehicle for the transmission of knowledge; they are too natural a feature of our time to have done all their work yet. Surely they may be redeemed from their abuses, they may be turned to their true uses."2

This essay will chart Fuller's evolving sense of the "true uses" of periodicals in the 1840s. Her Dial essay, unsurprisingly, defines the role of the critic writing for periodicals in Transcendentalist terms: the ideal critic is able to "enter into the nature" of a writer and "his work" and judge it by its aims but also "to put that aim in its place, and … estimate its relations … [because he] perceives the analogies of the universe, and how they are regulated by an absolute, invariable principle."3 But when Fuller arrived in New York as the "Star" critic of Horace Greeley's New-York Tribune, she entered into a quite different milieu, where daily newspapers (what Fuller calls "the paper wings of every day")4 and other urban print ephemera were surging in circulation and when the [End Page 89] city was embarking on the economic boom that, as David Scobey has shown, transformed it into the national commercial metropolis—and that helped to create this efflorescence of textual matter.5 David Henkin has argued that "city reading" was "promiscuous read[ing]"; by "inducing … countless and disjointed acts of browsing," the textual ephemera "of everyday city life cultivated reading subjects" who were modern, consumerist, and anonymous:6 in other words, a self at odds with the values of Fuller's ideal critic in the Dial.

In a much-quoted letter to James Freeman Clarke, Fuller defines her journalism at the Tribune as part of the "great work of mutual education"; however, in addition to her emphasis on its dialogic function, Fuller also describes her participation in newspaper work in New York as being "afloat in mid-stream," not exploring "the depths" but engaging broadly (in "the shallows") "all the signs of life."7 Reading Fuller's columns in the context of this urban textual world and in the "shallows" of modern life reveals her adaptation to the kinds of print culture that recorded and voiced this emergent world. As the Tribune's first-page critic, Fuller's job, in many ways, was to review the new flood of printed material at the advent of the era of the "industrial book," as the editors of the History of the Book in America call the period beginning in 1840.8 Given recent research into the history of periodicals in this era of their rapid growth, we can now see Fuller's position more clearly as someone hired both to mediate and to help produce this emergent world of modern print culture, and we can see how she situates herself rhetorically in the discourses of this world.

The Dial: "perceiv[ing] the analogies of the universe"

Reynolds' observation that the Dial embodied "coterie publishing practices" as well as Joel Myerson's documentation of its incubation in conversations of the Transcendentalist Club9 accord with recent studies that bring the "concept of the social network" to the study of nineteenth-century periodicals—indeed, as John Fagg et al. note, "scholarly accounts of antebellum periodical culture have long been implicitly concerned with social networks."10 The kind of network Fuller is navigating changes, of course, from the Dial to the Tribune, and this change is connected with her shifting sense of the "uses" of periodicals. Fagg et al. identify two ways of reading nineteenth-century periodicals as networks: as a "material object"—the juxtapositions and connections among the items in a single issue or a series of issues—and as the product of social and professional [End Page 90] connections, among, for example, writers, editors, and readers.11 The Dial represents the close mapping of one form of network upon the other; the intertextuality Reynolds observes emerges directly from the ties of friendship and conversation within the Transcendentalist circle.

The first issue reveals Fuller's arrangement of its contents to give her circle's discussions material shape. As scholars have pointed out, the opening essays come out of conversations between Fuller and her collaborator Ralph Waldo Emerson.12 Emerson's "The Editors to the Reader" claims that the "spirit of the time … appears not yet in new books so much as in the higher tone of criticism," which measures works against nature, and which should be "poetic, unpredictable." Next, Fuller's "Short Essay on Critics" similarly calls for critics to be "poetical" and "philosophical" and for criticism that, like nature, is "ever various, ever new." She then follows these two essays with Christopher Cranch's poem "To the Aurora Borealis," where the natural phenomenon is a "type" of the human heart "Reaching upwards" to the "Soul," and with an excerpt Emerson culled from his brother Charles' journal, where "Criticism of Homer is like criticism upon natural scenery" and Homer "is as prolific as the earth." Further pieces include George Ripley's long review of Orestes Brownson's writings, an author who represents the high ideal of the writer as one who responds to the "Universe"; William Henry Channing's first installment of his epistolary fiction of religious exploration "Ernest the Seeker"; and Theodore Parker's essay on "The Divine Presence in Nature and in the Soul," which parallels "divine inspiration"—the "direct … action of God upon man"—with the action of "divine energy" as it "flows" into the "matter" of nature.13 Fuller's editing replicates the threads of discussion in her group—on the function of criticism, the relation of art to nature and nature to the divine, and on the mutually generating activities of art and criticism. Just as Cranch's poem follows Fuller's call for a more poetic criticism and in turn is followed by Charles Emerson's "various" and "poetical" (to use Fuller's terms) critical thoughts on Homer, so do Washington Allston's paintings prompt Fuller's review—her "A Record of Impressions Produced by the Exhibition of Mr. Allston's Pictures in the Summer of 1839"—which in turn introduces and is followed by Samuel Ward's sonnet "To W. Allston's Picture, 'The Bride.'"

In a recent essay, Thomas Constantinesco argues for a more "sustained critical attention" to the Dial, whose "'internal dialogics'" result both "from the very nature of periodical publishing and from the Dial's own editorial history." In an illuminating reading of three pieces in the April 1841 issue—Theodore Parker's "Thoughts on Labor," Emerson's "Man [End Page 91] the Reformer," and Fuller's "Leila"—he notes their common concern with "rampant social and gender exploitation" and demonstrates that "reading periodically means reading dialogically, as the different pieces both converge and diverge to expose … not only their agreements and disagreements, but also their own internal paradoxes and silent contradictions."14 The intimate social and textual networks of the Dial (Emerson notes in the Dial's first paragraph "how often in many private circles the work was projected")15 call for more such readings. However, as Fuller moved to the Tribune she moved from the Dial's intimate circles to the broader networks that constituted daily and weekly newspapers. John Nerone has summarized the period's "news culture" as one that "emphasized ephemerality, collective anonymous production, and the collision of the reader's mind with the external world." Newspapers in the 1840s were increasingly urban and characterized by professional and political networks, such as editors' exchanges—through which editors clipped articles from other papers for their own—and the party-press system, whereby political parties dominated the newspaper industry.16 As Fagg et al. observe, paying attention to this broader type of network—the "institutional connections" that undergirded periodical production and consumption—sheds light on "the larger social structures" periodicals "helped to create and stabilize."17 Constantinesco's cross-readings of Parker's, Emerson's, and Fuller's Dial pieces tease out just how critical all three were of the dominant political (and therefore periodical) culture, linked as it was to an emergent global capitalism and its oppression of labor; he gives a persuasive reading of "Leila" as offering "an alternative and positive trope of circulation, in contrast with the deadly flow of capital described … by Emerson and Parker."18 This is an oppositional stance also struck by Emerson's and Fuller's opening essays in the first issue and by Fuller's editorial arrangement, which implicitly ranges (as the above examples indicate) the "unpredictable" and "various" forms of nature, poetry, and criticism over against the imprisoning strictures of the "conventions" which are "turning us to stone" and whose rigidities are reinforced by the repetitive and "partisan" judgments of quarterly reviews, repeated by the "daily paper."19

Fuller's pre-Tribune approach to modern urban forms of the "communications circuit"20 is exemplified in a piece she wrote for the first Dial issue Emerson edited (July 1842): "Entertainments of the past Winter." While reviewing various examples of performance art in Boston, Fuller pauses to write an analysis of a major antebellum New England form of public expression: the lecture. If New England "has a way of speaking peculiarly her own, it is the lecture. But the lecture … seems not to be-speak [End Page 92] any deep or permanent tendency." Instead, this public form emerges from what, in 1903, Georg Simmel, in "The Metropolis and Mental Life," would identify as the characteristics of metropolitan consciousness:21 in Fuller's terms, the "Intellectual curiosity and sharpness" that are the "natural traits" of an urban, anonymous, capitalist culture. "Lectures," says Fuller, "are the short business way taken by a business people to find out what there is to be known, but to know in such ways cannot be hoped." Most lectures address "the understanding," the quotidian form of perception ("what there is to be known") Emerson contrasted with transcendent Reason ("to know"); as Fuller says, "the understanding" is "a faculty already developed out of all proportion among this people." Fuller locates the audience for these lectures in typically urban places: "Let any one listen in an omnibus, or at a boarding house, to the conversation suggested by last night's lecture, see the composure with which the … most unfounded assertions are heard and assented to, and he will be well convinced how little the subject has occupied the minds of the smart and curious audience." Here Fuller describes, in effect, the readers—the increasingly urban public "immersed in the stream of things"—she will address in the Tribune. These lectures, she concludes dismissively, "answer well to what we see in the streets"—"it would be scarce worth while to begin to speak of them … [in] the Dial."22

The New-York Tribune: "a corps … of workmencirculating reports"

In accepting Greeley's offer of writing a regular first-page column in 1844, Fuller began to speak to "a business people," those on omnibuses and in boarding houses and on "the streets," that is, a public "immersed in the stream of things." As Adam Tuchinsky has explained, Greeley founded his newspaper in 1841 "in the midst of a communications revolution," the product of the rapid transformation of the U.S. economy to a market economy and of the equally rapid extension of transportation networks. These transformations enabled Greeley to create a paper for a national readership. Although, as Tuchinsky points out, the Tribune achieved its wide influence in part through a readership of transplanted New England farmers in the Midwest, this audience was becoming culturally and economically "urban," that is, "incorporated"; Midwest farmers were now tied into a national market through cash crops and into a national communications system through the railroad.23 Dana Brand argues that at this moment urban culture "is on the point of becoming [End Page 93] ubiquitous" and that the accompanying transformation of consciousness is the subject of works by such contemporaries of Fuller's as Nathaniel Hawthorne.24

Fuller's columns and language register an adaptation to newspaper conditions. In the double context of the urban social consequences of economic transformation and of the national audience she wished to reach, her language becomes more direct; as Charles Capper puts it, "she learned … how to write more sharply in a confined space."25 And she employs the rhetoric of three major discourses of reform: Protestant Christianity, sentimentalism, and what Tuchinsky calls the Tribune's social democratic liberalism. Jeffrey Steele notes Fuller's sudden immersion in Christian references; she saw "the need for a common language in her journalism" and connected with her audience "by evoking the foundational discourses of Christianity."26 He further notes that she fused this language with "a powerful vein of sentiment," in recognition of its efficacy in bridging social differences and prompting reform.27 Tuchinsky documents Greeley's Fourier-inflected socialism and argues that under Greeley's editorship the Tribune's "indictment of industrial capitalism" and Greeley's "socialist variant of free-labor ideology" had a lasting influence on nineteenth-century American understandings of the "labor question."28 Steele observes that Fuller drew on her fellow New England transplant to New York William Henry Channing's reformist "Christian Socialism" to fuse these perspectives, while Tuchinsky adds that Transcendentalists and socialists were both responding to the market revolution and that Fuller's columns were "imbued with the reform spirit of the paper and constituted its literary critique of the culture of the market."29 The development I want to explore here is one that is signaled by a range of metaphors that flag her (partial) shift from the vertical orientation of the Transcendental rhetoric in the Dial to the horizontal plane of urban periodical writing and a news culture. If we take seriously Fuller's language of the "shallows," in her letter to Clarke, of her new valuing of a flattening out of experience, her columns reveal not only a strategic adjustment to her audience but also an implicit analysis of the "uses" of such writing.

Tuchinsky remarks on Fuller's "strenuously hierarchical terms" in her "Short Essay on Critics" as a sign of the tension between the "Dial's elite aesthetic and radical cultural politics."30 Indeed, her essay, a rigorous attempt to define "the use of criticism in periodical writing," theorizes the critic in terms of a "universe" ordered by "a scale of infinite gradation, and below the very highest, every step is explanation down to the lowest"; "The maker is divine; the critic sees this divine, but brings it [End Page 94] down to humanity by the analytic process." As the "younger brother of genius," the literary and cultural critic mediates between the location of meaning in the "highest" strata ("Religion, in the two modulations of poetry and music") and the "lowest abysses of human nature"—or, at least, those readers of periodicals open to "appreciating beauty."31 While Fuller's Tribune columns do not abandon fully the valuation of individual, transcendent genius or the rhetoric of height and depth ("the depths," as in her letter to Clarke, also functions as a positive image), she increasingly deploys a language of lateral "diffusion" and of the collective generation of insight.

In her first months at the Tribune, she develops these terms in a series of reviews. In a review of J. Stanley Grimes' Etherology; Or The Philosophy of Mesmerism and Phrenology, Fuller notes some shortcomings in Grimes' work but places it in the context of a broader effort, "a corps … of workmen, furnished with various implements for the work. Some collect facts. … ; others propose theories…; a large number are engaged in circulating reports of these labors; a larger in attempting to prove them invalid…; all are of use in elucidating truth." In considering this collective model of pursuing "truth," she takes up and then discards the model of the "great" individual thinker: "We see, as yet, no writer great enough for the patient investigation … which the subject demands"—no "Shakespeare" and no "Newton." Instead, Fuller adds,

However, no such man is needed, and we believe that it is pure democracy to rejoice that, in this department as in others, it is no longer some one great genius that concentrates within himself the vital energy of his time. It is many together who do the work. The waters spring up in every direction, as little rills, each of which does its work.32

Similarly, in "English Writers Little Known Here. Milnes…Landor… Julius Hare," she divides the "office of Literature" into two parts. The first has "permanent value"; "It preserves through the ages the flowers of life which came to perfect bloom in minds of genius." The second, the "larger part," "is temporary" and offers the "means of interpreting contemporary minds to each other on a larger scale than actual conversation." Even as she retains an aesthetic hierarchy that privileges "genius," Fuller claims that "The common and daily purposes of literature are the most important."33

By the summer of 1845 Fuller's statements of the "democratic" production and consumption of knowledge are assured and take on the [End Page 95] rhetoric of prophetic manifestoes that characterizes her later Tribune coverage of the Italian Revolution.34 In a pair of reviews on British working-class literature, she remarks that "The genius of the time is … speaking through myriad mouths, but condescends chiefly to men of low estate. She is spelling a new and sublime spell; its first word we know is brotherhood … One thing is obvious; we must cease to worship princes even in genius."35 Steele has illuminated Fuller's grappling, in her earlier writing, with the "idolatry" of men internalized by women, in a "world … entranced with the spectacle of white male power";36 in New York Fuller rejects similar forms of idolatry based on class and, to some extent, on the cult of the genius. The "Spirit of the Age" is "working that revolution" that will abolish class difference:

Now the tables are turning. The inferences and impressions to be gained from the pursuits that have ranked highest are … exhausted. They have been written about, prated about, till they have had their day, and need to lie in the shadows and recruit their energies through silence. The mind of the time has detected the truth that … there is nothing, the least, effected in this universe, which does not somehow represent the whole … And, as a mark of this diffusion of the true, the poetic, the philosophic education, we greet the emergence more and more of poets from the Working Classes.37

These passages implicitly theorize the workings and the "uses" of the popular press. The often anonymous "corps … of workmen," the "many together who do the work," and the disaggregation of talent from "one great genius that concentrates within himself the vital energy of his time" to the "many" who fulfill the "common and daily purposes of literature" constitute, in effect, a definition of the popular press. The "true, the poetic, the philosophic education" is no longer, in a number of Fuller's comments, "diffuse[ed]" from the high, central point of the individual genius but is a lateral "diffusion," with many points of origin.

Fuller repeats these themes in her New Year's address to the "Public" in 1846. After rehearsing a litany of woes, such as the extension of slavery through the annexation of Texas and the potato famine in Ireland, she moves into the prophetic mode (ignoring her own assertion that "The time of prophets is over"). In spite of the failure of the U.S., especially, to live up to its egalitarian ideals, Fuller prophesies "a great time coming, … one of Democracy." She bases this faith on [End Page 96]

another sign of the times … that there are left on the earth none of the last dynasty of geniuses … The world is full of talent, but it flows downward to water the plain.—There are no towering lights, no Mont Blancs now. We cannot recall one great genius at this day living. The time of prophets is over, and the era they prophesied must be at hand; in its conduct a larger proportion of the human race shall take part than ever before.38

If "the genius of the time is … speaking through myriad mouths … [and] spelling" the newly "sublime" "word … [of] brotherhood," then the landscape is flat: "no Mont Blancs" (the frequent Romantic image of the sublime) but, instead, a democratic "plain." As she develops her analysis of "the time" and its mode of expression, Fuller temporarily moves away from the model of "representative men" or "heroes" Emerson and Thomas Carlyle followed, although she strategically returns to that model in her dispatches on the 1848 European revolutions. Fuller the Dial editor and contributor sees popular modes of expression (especially newspapers, but also other forms of publication) as her friends often do. Henry David Thoreau writes in his journal that he has not read the "last two Tribunes …I have no time to read newspapers," as they merely record "that thin stratum—in which the events which make the news transpire … but if you soar above or dive below that plain—you cannot remember or be reminded of them."39 However, as Fuller the newspaper columnist begins to argue for the broader democratic function of periodicals, she increasingly does so through a rhetoric of the "common," the anonymous, the "daily," and the "temporary"—attributes of the "many together" who "are engaged in circulating reports" on the flat plain of a news culture.

This levelling rhetoric is linked not only with Fuller's understanding of the function of the periodical press but also with her critique of its current practice. Like the U.S., periodicals have enormous but only partially realized democratic potential. In her September 1845 "Items of Foreign Gossip," where she summarizes and comments on articles from European papers, Fuller inserts a little essay on newspapers. After noting plans in Paris for two new papers, she states that "The Newspaper promises to become daily of more importance, and … to draw within itself the substance of all other literature of the day." The periodical press is moving toward "representing both" "high culture" and "the popular mind in its present life"; this development will peak in the U.S.: "America will excel them all, when the character of her People shall have ripened and her Journals propose to themselves, not merely a great temporary circulation, but a long life of honor and truth. They will then be … [End Page 97] [both] the servants of the People" and their "teachers." In this column, Fuller grapples most explicitly with the fact that the periodical press is embedded in—indeed, is a product of—the market, a commodity whose success is measured precisely by its achievement of "a great temporary circulation": "At present, French periodical literature, like our own, is degraded, partial and insincere, … in consequence of haste in writing prompted by the lust of gain." She notes the enormous resources, the "myriad mouths" of modern culture, its "immense fertility of talent"; "in Paris alone … [there are] ten thousand writers." If newspapers are absorbing "the substance of all other literature of the day," that is, if they are the representative expression of modernity, then how can they "be managed?"40 Or, more searchingly, how might they already be performing their work of the "diffusion" of the contributions of the many on democracy's plain as commodities within a market economy?

Fuller does not answer this question directly, but one way to observe how she begins to work at the problem is to see that her levelling rhetoric is also linked with the urban location of her work as a journalist. As does Paris, New York also swarms with periodical writers. Her move from Mont Blanc to the plain has suggestive parallels with urban theorist Michel de Certeau's movement from the top of the pre-2001 World Trade Center down into the streets of New York, in the opening of his influential chapter "Walking in the City." The view from the top of the World Trade Center is god-like; "lifted out of the city's grasp," the spectator becomes a "solar Eye," a "voyeur-god," whose giddy illusion of an all-encompassing vision (what de Certeau calls "the fiction of knowledge") actually constitutes a form of blindness, an inability to read the various meanings created by the "ordinary practitioners of the city [who] live 'down below'" and whose "paths" through the city "elude legibility." In dialogue with Michel Foucault's analysis of nineteenth-century forms of discipline, de Certeau argues that these everyday spatial practices "elude" and "resist" structures of power; he borrows from linguistic theory to describe individual movements as "speech acts," "appropriation[s]" of a dominant system for "surreptitious creativities."41 Unlike his emphasis on the self-protecting surreptitiousness or illegibility of the walkers in the streets, however, Fuller's interest is in the ways in which the literal and legible speech acts of the many add up to define the city—or, rather, "the times"—in spite of the larger forces, whether class structures or markets, that seek to define them.

In her essay "American Literature," in a book of essays published in 1846 at the end of her time in New York, Fuller consolidates much of her emerging analysis: [End Page 98]

The life of the intellect is becoming more and more determined to the weekly and daily papers, whose light leaves fly so rapidly and profusely over the land … The means which this organ affords of diffusing knowledge and sowing the seeds of thought where they may hardly fail of an infinite harvest, cannot be too highly prized … Minds of the first class are generally indisposed to this kind of writing; what must be done on the spur of the occasion and cast into the world so incomplete … cannot satisfy their judgment … But he who looks to the benefit of others, and sees with what rapidity … instruction and thought are assimilated by men, when they come thus … on the wings of the wind, may be content, as an unhonoured servant to the grand purposes of Destiny, to work in such a way at the Pantheon which the Ages shall complete, on which his name may not be inscribed, but which will breathe the life of his soul.

The last sentence in this passage may be Fuller's most complete summing up of the journalist's "vocation and duty." If the Dial's critic performed the work of "explanation" from the individual genius "down" to the reader, the journalist—still working for "the benefit of others"—conveys, by means of the "rapidity" afforded by the industrial and market revolutions, "instruction and thought" across the nation. Writing in virtual anonymity to a broadly scattered, culturally urban, and also anonymous readership, this "unhonoured servant" may not have "his name … inscribed" on the monument of the times but will effect "the grand purposes of Destiny" exactly through this anonymity and the modern form of the production and consumption of printed material. In discussing "the use of this great opportunity," Fuller quotes a poem by Cornelius Mathews, the New York periodical writer and editor and part of the Young America movement, who defines the journalist's mission as: "To know the instant and to speak it true."42 This great service of speaking "the instant" in the "incomplete" form of newspaper writing is far different from the work of the "comprehensive" critic, Fuller's highest kind of critic in her "Short Essay on Critics," whose judgment is complete, based on a grasp of the "absolute, invariable principle" that "regulate[s]" the "analogies of the universe," and who can "judge" both the work's details and the worth of its "aim."43 Instead, the ephemerality of both periodical writing itself and of the "light leaves" of the material newspaper, as an object, ensure the "infinite harvest" of diffused "seeds of thought."

In such a passage, Fuller maps the flow of news along the flow of capital, in effect, and suggests that the "life of the intellect" is not constricted or "degraded" by the motive of "gain" that triggers "haste in [End Page 99] writing" but rather that it is carried along by the current in spite of the profit motive. In other words, she imagines here, to return to Constantinesco's terms, a "positive …circulation" riding along on circuits opened up by the "deadly flow of capital," a theory of diffusion that parallels Greeley's practice as the publisher of a popular reform paper, which did indeed pursue a "great temporary circulation." This is a wider, inadvertent network, one that is out of the control of the personal, professional, or political networks that seem to dictate opinion,44 and even of the financial networks that profit from periodical publications. Elsewhere in her New York reporting Fuller analyzes and condemns the social effects—poverty, slavery, imperialism—of an unleashed "lust of gain." However, here her deliberate loosening of the news from its literal means of transportation through the metaphor "on the wings of the wind" implicitly argues that the larger institutions and infrastructures that underwrite "the weekly and daily papers" do not finally determine the nation's future nor that of its readers. This is an unexpected and (I think) moving declaration for Fuller to make at the end of her sojourn in New York—and perhaps, too, a declaration of faith in the worth of her own future work as the New-York Tribune's foreign correspondent.

Brigitte Bailey
University of New Hampshire
Brigitte Bailey

BRIGITTE BAILEY is Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire. Her research interests are 19th-century U.S. travel, urban, and transatlantic writing. She is the author of American Travel Literature, Gendered Aesthetics, and the Italian Tour, 1824-1862 (Edinburgh UP, 2018). She is co-editor, Transatlantic Women: Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers and Great Britain (with Beth Lueck and Lucinda Damon-Bach, 2012); and Margaret Fuller and Her Circles (with Katheryn Viens and Conrad Edick Wright, 2013)—both with UNHP. She is guest editor, issue on Margaret Fuller, Nineteenth-Century Prose (Fall 2015).


1. Larry J. Reynolds, "From Dial Essay to New York Book: The Making of Woman in the Nineteenth Century," in Periodical Literature in Nineteenth-Century America, ed. Kenneth M. Price and Susan Belasco Smith (Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1995), 20, 29.

This essay begins with an observation by Larry Reynolds because his work on Fuller's journalism, especially in European Revolutions and the American Literary Renaissance (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1988); and in the edition of her European dispatches he co-edited with Susan Belasco Smith ("These Sad but Glorious Days": Dispatches from Europe, 1846–1850 [New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991]), has so often inspired my own.

2. Margaret Fuller, "A Short Essay on Critics," in Selected Writings of the American Transcendentalists, 2nd ed., ed. George Hochfield (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004), 306–7.

3. Ibid., 305.

4. Margaret Fuller, Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New-York Tribune, 1844–1846, ed. Judith Mattson Bean and Joel Myerson (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), 15.

5. David M. Scobey, Empire City: The Making and Meaning of the New York City Landscape (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002).

6. David M. Henkin, City Reading: Written Words and Public Spaces in Antebellum New York (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), 12.

7. Margaret Fuller, "My Heart is a Large Kingdom": Selected Letters of Margaret Fuller, ed. Robert N. Hudspeth (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2001), 227.

8. Scott E. Casper, Jeffrey D. Groves, Stephen W. Nissenbaum, and Michael Winship, eds., A History of the Book in America, vol. 3, The Industrial Book, 1840–1880 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, in Association with the American Antiquarian Society, 2007).

9. Joel Myerson, The New England Transcendentalists and the Dial: A History of the Magazine and Its Contributors (London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1980), 19–36.

10. John Fagg, Matthew Pethers, and Robin Vandome, "Introduction: Networks and the Nineteenth-Century Periodical," American Periodicals: A Journal of History and Criticism 23.2 (2013): 101, 94.

11. Ibid., 101.

12. See Myerson, New England Transcendentalists and the Dial. The most sustained analysis of the broader "Fuller-Emerson conversation" is Christina Zwarg's Feminist Conversations: Fuller, Emerson, and the Play of Reading (Ithaca and London" Cornell University Press, 1995), 23.

13. The Dial: A Magazine for Literature, Philosophy, and Religion 1.1 (July 1840): 2–3, 7, 10, 12, 13, 23, 58–59. Thanks to the Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, for permission to quote.

14. Thomas Constantinesco, "The Dial and the Untimely 'Spirit of the Time,'" American Periodicals 28.1 (April 2018): 22, 24 (he takes the phrase "'internal dialogics'" from Ann Ardis, "Staging the Public Sphere: Magazine Dialogism and the Prosthetics of Authorship at the Turn of the Twentieth Century," in Transatlantic Print Cultures, 1880–1940, ed. Ardis and Patrick Collier [New York: MacMillan, 2008], 38), 30, 36.

15. Emerson, "The Editors to the Reader," Dial 1.1 (July 1840): 1.

16. John Nerone, "Newspapers and the Public Sphere," in Casper et al, A History of the Book in America, vol. 3., 231, 238, 232–33.

17. Fagg et al., "Introduction," 101.

18. Constantinesco, "The Dial and the Untimely 'Spirit of the Time,'" 32.

19. Emerson, "The Editors to the Reader," 1; Fuller, "Short Essay on Critics," 307.

20. Fagg et al., "Introduction," 95.

21. Georg Simmel, "The Metropolis and Mental Life," in The Sociology of Georg Simmel, trans. and ed. Kurt. H. Wolff (New York: The Free Press, 1950). Simmel famously argued that the "money economy" that defined the nineteenth-century city created the rational, objective psychology of urban inhabitants, i.e., the "predominance of intelligence in metropolitan man" (410–11).

22. Fuller, "Entertainments of the past Winter," Dial 3.1 (July 1842): 49–50.

23. Adam Tuchinsky, Horace Greeley's New-York Tribune: Civil War-Era Socialism and the Crisis of Free Labor (Ithaca and New York: Cornell University Press, 2009), 6–7. The term "incorporated" comes from Alan Trachtenberg's argument about U.S. urbanization later in the nineteenth century, The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age (New York: Hill and Wang, 1982); see his discussion of the ways in which "cities colonized their regions" (113–14). See also Charles Sellers, The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815–1846 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991) for a description of this process.

24. Dana Brand, The Spectator and the City in Nineteenth-Century America (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 123.

25. Charles Capper, Margaret Fuller: An American Life, vol.2, The Public Years (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 200.

26. Jeffrey Steele, Transfiguring America: Myth, Ideology, and Mourning in Margaret Fuller's Writings (Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 2001), 231–32.

27. Jeffrey Steele, "Sympathy and Prophecy: The Two Faces of Social Justice in Fuller's New York Writing," in Margaret Fuller and Her Circles, ed. Brigitte Bailey, Katheryn P. Viens, and Conrad Edick Wright (Durham, NH: University of New Hampshire Press, in Association with the Massachusetts Historical Society, 2013), 167.

28. Tuchinsky, Greeley's New-York Tribune, 15, 57, 1–2.

29. Steele, Transfiguring America, 231. Tuchinsky, Greeley's New-York Tribune, 79–80.

30. Tuchinsky, Greeley's New-York Tribune, 70.

31. Fuller, "Short Essay on Critics," 306, 305.

32. Fuller, Review of J. Stanley Grimes's Etherology; Or The Philosophy of Mesmerism and Phrenology, in Bean and Myerson, Margaret Fuller, Critic C100 (CD-ROM), 1–2. Fuller's image of one of literature's functions as "preserv[ing]" the works of genius increasingly sidelines those works; in review of Anna Jameson's Memoirs and Essays in July 1846, late in her time in New York, her language takes them further out of the mainstream of "the times": literature is "not merely an archive for the preservation of great thoughts, but a means of general communication between all classes of minds, and all grades of culture" (Bean and Myerson, Margaret Fuller, Critic, 476).

33. Fuller, "English Writers Little Known Here. Milnes … Landor … Julius Hare," in Bean and Myerson, Margaret Fuller, Critic, C107, 1–2.

34. See Larry J. Reynolds' discussion of Fuller's assumption of the persona of "liberty" in her later dispatches from Rome, in European Revolutions and the American Literary Renaissance, 74–76.

35. Fuller, Review of Caroline Norton, The Child of the Islands, and John Critchley Prince, Hours with the Muses, in Bean and Myerson, Margaret Fuller, Critic, 175.

36. Steele, Transfiguring America, 9.

37. Fuller, "Prince's Poems," in Bean and Myerson, Margaret Fuller, Critic, 195–96.

38. Fuller, "1st January, 1846," in Bean and Myerson, Margaret Fuller, Critic, 331–32.

39. Quoted in Jonathan Senchyne, "Print Culture," in Henry David Thoreau in Context, ed. James S. Finley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 115–16. I am reading Thoreau's comment a little differently from Senchyne here.

40. Fuller, "Items of Foreign Gossip," in Bean and Myerson, Margaret Fuller, Critic, C191, 3–4.

41. Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven Rendall (Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 1984), 92–93, 96–97.

42. Fuller, "American Literature: Its Position in the Present Time and Prospects for the Future," in Bean and Myerson, Margaret Fuller, Critic, CD-ROM, 17–18. For an overview of Mathews' association with Evert A. Duyckinck and the Young America movement, see Donald Yannella, "The Literary World," in American Literary Magazines: The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, ed. Edward E. Chielens, 224–30.

43. Fuller, "Short Essay on Critics," 304–5.

44. As Nerone says, newspapers were accused of "'manufacturing public opinion,'" a phrase that became widespread in commentary on the press (Nerone, "Newspapers and the Public Sphere," 234).

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