Margaret Fuller

Margaret Fuller was born in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, on May 23, 1810. A remarkably precious child, she began to learn Latin at six and was reading Ovid by eight. In time she also became acquainted with German, French, Greek, and Italian.

Formal schooling was not available for girls at the time, so she was tutored at home by her father. Following his death in 1835, she taught school in Providence and Boston, but after 1839 she occupied herself primarily with "conversations," which were held in her home with women of Boston in attendance. She was accepted by the Transcendentalists as an intellectual peer and allowed to edit their journal, the Dial, from 1840 to 1842.

In 1844, she moved to New York City at the invitation of Horace Greeley. There she lived with the Greeleys and wrote literary criticism in Greeley's Tribune. Her work earned her a reputation as one of America's most astute literary critics. In addition, she did investigative reporting into prisons and asylums, which appeared in the pages of the Tribune as well.

In 1846, she went to Europe, whee she met Thomas Carlyle and William Wordsworth in England and George Sand in Paris. Reaching Rome in 1847, she joined the circle around Giuseppe Mazzini and married one of his followers, Marquis Giovanni Angelo Ossoli. They had a son on September 5, 1848.

Mazaini was one of the triumvirate that governed the short-lived Roman Republic. During the siege of Rome by French troops, Margaret worked in hospitals while her husband was engaged in combat. After the fall of the city, they fled to Florence, where she wrote a history of the Roman revolution. In 1850, they took passage on a ship back to America, but just off Fire Island, on July 19, 1850, the ship was lost in a storm and the family perished, along with the manuscript of her history.

---- Selected Quotes ----

Quotes by Margaret Fuller.

Regarding Transcendentalism
I accept the universe.
Hearing this, Carlyle commented, "Gad! she'd better!"
Regarding Divinity
There are noble books but one wants the breath of life sometimes. And I see no divine person. I myself am more divine than any I see — I think that is enough to say about them...
Letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1838
Regarding Intellect
I now know all the people worth knowing in America, and I find no intellect comparable to my own.
Reported by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Regarding The Nature of Women
The electrical, the magnetic element in Woman has not been fairly brought out at any period. Everything might be expected from it; she has far more of it than Man.
"Woman in the Nineteenth Century", 1845

- - - Books You May Like Include: ----

American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work by Susan Cheever.
Even the most devoted readers of nineteenth-century American literature often assume that the men and women behind the masterpieces were as dull and s...
Making the American Self: Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln by Daniel Walker Howe.
Originally published in 1997 and now back in print, Making the American Self by Daniel Walker Howe, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of What Hath God...