An editor, journalist, foreign correspondent, essayist, revolutionary, literary critic, and women's rights activist, Margaret Fuller lived a rich, but short life as one of the central figures in American transcendentalism. As a child she was pressed through a classical education, and by the time she was an adult she could hold her own in intellectual circles on either side of the Atlantic. She worked closely with Ralph Waldo Emerson, editing the transcendentalist journal, The Dial from 1840 to 1842. Her own writing focused on her travels, on transcendentalism, and on women's rights. The appeal of her collage of essay and social criticism, Summer on the Lakes in 1843 (1844), landed her a job at the New York Tribune that same year. She was eventually sent to Europe by the Tribune as a correspondent where she met and married Giovanni Ossoli, an Italian revolutionary. Together they took part in the 1849 revolution in Italy before heading back to the United States in 1850. However, the couple and their only son were drowned in a shipwreck off the coast of New York and never made it back to the United States. Much of her writing was lost with her in the shipwreck, but what remained was published by posthumously, including Memoirs of Margaret Fuller (1852), At Home and Abroad (1856), and Life Without and Life Within(1858).
I go to behold the wonders of art, and the temples of old religion. But I shall see no forms of beauty and majesty beyond what my country is capable of producing in myriad variety, if she has but the soul to will it.
Patrick Madden's New Book
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Quotidiana is an online anthology of "classical" essays, from antiquity to the early twentieth century. All essays and images are in the public domain. Commentaries are copyrighted, but may be used with proper attribution. Special thanks to the BYU College of Humanities and English Department for funding, and to Joey Franklin and Lara Burton, for tireless research assisting.