The Letters of Margaret Fuller: 1839-41
Cornell University Press, 1983 - 278 pages
This second volume publishes all of Margaret Fuller's letters written from 1839 to 1841--the years in which she first began to achieve fame as a writer and an editor. Addressed to such eminent figures as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, William H. Channing, Elizabeth Peabody, and Frederic H. hedge as well as to Fuller's family and intimate friends, these letters record the years of her involvement in the Transcendentalist Club--a group of liberal clergymen and writers who gathered to discuss theology, literature, and philosophy. In 1839 the Club decided to found a magazine, The Dial; Fuller became the editor, and at last she had a forum for her innovative views of literature and of literary criticism. These are also the years of her famous "conversations" for women--weekly discussions of mythology which were attended by twenty-five of the most prominent women in the area. The letters chronicle the most emotionally turbulent period in her life. In the course of little more than a year she was rejected by the man she loved, Samuel G. Ward, who then married her close friend Anna Barker; she was rebuffed by Emerson as well; and she underwent a profound religious experience that she felt changed her life.