She was the first full-time American female book reviewer in journalism. Her book Woman in the Nineteenth Century is considered the first major feminist work in the United States.
I am Margaret Fuller.
You may recognize my name from the adventures of Samuel McCord and that scamp, Victor Standish.
History has me drowned upon this date in 1850 aged forty. In 1853, when Captain Samuel McCord met me aboard the cursed DEMETER, I was still all too alive.
Shortly thereafter, I became a unique form of undead. But then, I have always been unique -- alive or undead.
My beliefs (feminist and Transcendentalist), accomplishments and fervent personality put me in the spotlight throughout my life,
but my "last" years, spent in Rome supporting the short-lived Roman Republic, reached an operatic level of passion and poignancy.
As foreign correspondent of Horace Greeley's New York Tribune, I argued the cause of the Italian revolutionists in the dispatches sent home. In Rome, I assisted on the Republican ramparts and in their field hospitals.
I also married an Italian nobleman who was prominent in the Republican cause, and had a son by him.
With the ramparts fallen and my husband in jeopardy, I reluctantly decided to return to America,
despite premonitions of disaster and warnings from Emerson and other Concord friends that my socialist leanings and doubtful marriage would provoke public disfavor.
As if I have ever cared what the rabble thought.
When my boat ran aground just off the New York coast, I chose to stay with my husband, who could not swim. Both of us were washed to sea and never found, (so history reports).
But Henry (David Thoreau) found me washed upon the shore not far from my young boy’s body.
The memorial to me put up by my family reads,
“Born a child of New England, / By adoption a citizen of Rome, / By genius belonging to the World.”
My genius has never been in question.
Edgar Allan Poe thought me such. He believed that the fallacy in my lobby for women's rights was that
"She judges woman by the heart and intellect of Miss Fuller, but there are not more than one or two dozen Miss Fullers on the whole face of the earth."
Poe’s evaluation is echoed in comments by Emerson and Hawthorne — though they let slip that their attraction might be more than intellectual (as it was) when they both referred to me in print as “Margaret Fuller, the Sexy Muse.”
I now know all the people worth knowing in America,and I find no intellect comparable to my own except for dear Ada (Byron, Lady Loveless - author of the first computer language a 100 years before the invention of the computer itself.)
McCord has his moments, but he is restrained by his Victorian ideals and code that he will not cast aside. I love him for his nobility. It will be the death of him.
What will be the death of you? I wager your friends know even if you do not. I leave you with a bit of my own verse:
“Let me gather from the Earth,
one full grown fragrant flower,
Let it bloom within my bosom
through its one fragile hour….”
Of my past, I neither rejoice nor grieve, for bad or good, I acted out my character.