Fuller, Margaret

Fuller, Margaret,

1810–50, American writer, lecturer, and public intellectual, b. Cambridgeport (now part of Cambridge), Mass. She was one of the most influential personalities in the American literary circles of her day. A precocious child, she was forced by her father, a Massachusetts congressman, through an education that impaired her health but nonetheless gave her a broad knowledge of literature and languages. A stimulating talker, she conducted (1839–44) a series of conversation classes for society women in Boston on social, literary, historical, and philosophical topics. She was an ardent feminist, and her book Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845) treated feminism in its economic, intellectual, political, and sexual aspects. A leader of transcendentalismtranscendentalism
[Lat.,=overpassing], in literature, philosophical and literary movement that flourished in New England from about 1836 to 1860. It originated among a small group of intellectuals who were reacting against the orthodoxy of Calvinism and the rationalism of the
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, she edited its premier journal, the Dial, for its first three years (1840–43). Although she has been identified as Zenobia in Hawthorne's Blithedale Romance, she was never in sympathy with the Brook FarmBrook Farm,
1841–47, an experimental farm at West Roxbury, Mass., based on cooperative living. Founded by George Ripley, a Unitarian minister, the farm was initially financed by a joint-stock company with 24 shares of stock at $500 per share.
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 experiment upon which the book is based. More recognizable is James Russell Lowell's caricature of her as Miranda in the Fable for Critics. Horace GreeleyGreeley, Horace,
1811–72, American newspaper editor, founder of the New York Tribune, b. Amherst, N.H. Early Life

His irregular schooling, ending at 15, was followed by a four-year apprenticeship (1826–30) on a country weekly at East Poultney, Vt.
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, attracted by her writings, including Summer on the Lakes in 1843 (1844), called her (1844) to New York City as the first literary critic of the New York Tribune, from which her Papers on Literature and Art (1846) were republished. While working for Greeley, she also wrote essays on the unfairness of marriage, abuses in asylums and prisons, and African-American and woman suffrage.

She sailed for England in 1846, and there became the first American female foreign correspondent. She also met and impressed such eminent writers as George Sand, George Eliot, Matthew Arnold, and William Wordsworth. In 1847, Fuller went to Rome, where she married the Marchese Ossoli, a follower of MazziniMazzini, Giuseppe
, 1805–72, Italian patriot and revolutionist, an outstanding figure of the Risorgimento. His youth was spent in literary and philosophical studies. He early joined the Carbonari, was imprisoned briefly, and went into exile.
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, and with him took part in the Revolution of 1848–49, writing letters home describing the situation for Tribune readers. In 1850, while sailing home to the United States, she and her husband and 20-month-old son were drowned when the ship was wrecked off Fire Island, N.Y. Also lost in the wreck was the manuscript of her history of the Roman Republic. Her works were republished incompletely by her brother, Arthur Fuller; her love letters were edited by Julia Ward Howe;Howe, Julia Ward,
1819–1910, American author and social reformer, b. New York City. Although unhappily married, she assisted her husband, Samuel Gridley Howe, in his philanthropic projects and in editing the Boston Commonwealth, an abolitionist paper.
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 and three of her transcendentalist friends, Ralph Waldo EmersonEmerson, Ralph Waldo
, 1803–82, American poet and essayist, b. Boston. Through his essays, poems, and lectures, the "Sage of Concord" established himself as a leading spokesman of transcendentalism and as a major figure in American literature.
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, William Henry Channing, and James Freeman ClarkeClarke, James Freeman,
1810–88, American Unitarian clergyman and author, b. Hanover, N.H. While in charge of the Unitarian church in Louisville, Ky. (1833–40), he was for three years editor of the Western Messenger.
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, created an anthology of her works and reminiscences of her life entitled The Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1852, repr. 1972) that for a few months was America's best-selling book.


See her selected writings, Woman and the Myth, ed. by B. G. Chevigny (1977); her letters (ed. by R. N. Hudspeth, 4 vol., 1983–87); J. Myerson, ed., Fuller in Her Own Time (2008); biographies by J. W. Howe (1883, repr. 1969), T. Higginson (1884), M. Wade (1940, repr. 1973), P. Blanchard (1987), C. Capper (2 vol., 1992 and 2007), B. G. Chevigny (1976, rev. ed. 1994), J. v. Mehren (1995), M. M. Murray (2008), J. Matteson (2012), and M. Marshall (2013); studies by P. Miller, ed. (1963), J. Myerson, ed. (1980), D. Watson (1989), F. Fleischmann, ed. (2000), and J. Steele (2001).

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Fuller, (Sarah) Margaret

(1810–50) feminist, literary critic; born in Cambridgeport, Mass. Her father, Timothy Fuller, was a prominent Massachusetts lawyer-politician who, disappointed that his child was not a boy, educated her rigorously in the classical curriculum of the day. Not until age 14 did she get to attend a school for two years (1824–26) and then she returned to Cambridge and her course of reading. Her intellectual precociousness gained her the acquaintance of various Cambridge intellectuals but her assertive and intense manner put many people off. Her father moved the family to a farm in Groton, Mass. (1833), and she found herself isolated and forced to help educate her siblings and run the household for her ailing mother. From 1836 to 1837, after visiting Ralph Waldo Emerson in Concord, she taught for Bronson Alcott in Boston, and then at a school in Providence, R.I. All the while she continued to enlarge both her intellectual accomplishments and personal acquaintances. Moving to Jamaica Plain, a suburb of Boston, in 1840, she conducted her famous "Conversations" (1840–44), discussion groups that attracted many prominent people from all around Boston. In 1840, she also joined Emerson and others to found the Dial, a journal devoted to the transcendentalist views; she became a contributor from the first issue and its editor (1840–42). Her first book, based on a trip through the Midwest (1840–42), was Summer on the Lakes (1844) and this led to her being invited by Horace Greeley to be literary critic at the New York Tribune in 1844. She published her feminist classic, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845). In addition to writing a solid body of critical reviews and essays, she became active in various social reform movements. In 1846 she went to Europe as a foreign correspondent for the Tribune. In England and France she was treated as a serious intellectual and got to meet many prominent people. She went on to Italy in 1847 where she met Giovanni Angelo, the Marchese d'Ossoli, ten years younger and of liberal principles; they became lovers and married in 1849, but their son was born in 1848. Involved in the Roman revolution of 1848, she and her husband fled to Florence in 1849. They sailed for the U.S.A. in 1850 but the ship ran aground in a storm off Fire Island, N.Y., and Margaret's and her husband's bodies were never found.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Fuller, Margaret. Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New York Tribune, 1844-1846.
"Introduction." In Fuller, Margaret Fuller, Critic, xv-xl.
Fuller, Margaret. "American Literature." Papers on Literature and Art.
Fuller, Margaret. " These Sad But Glorious Days": Dispatches from Europe, 1846--1850.
Fuller, Margaret. "Autobiographical Romance." The Essential Margaret Fuller.
Fuller, Margaret. "[Autobiographical Romance]." Woman in the Nineteenth Century.
Fuller, Margaret. "Bettine Brentano and Her Friend Giinderode." Dial (January 1842): 313-57.
Fuller, Margaret. "Dialogue" Dial 4 (1844): 458-69.
Fuller, Margaret. "American Literature; Its Position in the Present Time, and Prospects for the Future." Papers on Literature and Art.
Fuller, Margaret. "The French in Algiers." New-York Daily Tribune, Thursday Morning, 22 May 1845.