Margaret Fuller: Bluestocking, Romantic, Revolutionaryby: Ellen Wilson1810-1850Published by William E. WilsonCopyright 1977 Ryerson Ltd.., Toronto, 1977 Sarah Margaret Fuller lived an extremely detailed life. She experienced manydifficult occurrences that would have made many think life too difficult. But, no matterhow many events made her feel like a failure and never improved, Margaret still foughtfor what she wanted and never gave in to anything she thought was less than what shedeserved. Margaret Fuller lived a difficult life, but through it all she never gave up. Dueto her devotion and dedication to strive for what she wanted or needed, Margaret lived alife of success. Margaret Fuller was the first child of Timothy and Margaret Crane Fuller. Atbirth Margaret s given name was Sarah Margaret Fuller. She was born in Cambridgeport,Massachusetts on May 23, 1810. Because he so wanted his first child to be a boy,Timothy raised Sarah as a boy. As a result of her father s daily lessons, at the age of four Sarah knew her lettersand could read. Four the next few years she both loved and hated her lessons. Even ifshe was sleepy, she never dared say so but, with a tremendous effort, kept her eyesopened and recited the lessons she had been studying that day. Sarah Fuller was never received any complements in regards to her beauty. The only complements she ever received were about her intelligence. These complements, though were never told to her. She only overheard these complementswhen they were addressed to her parents. When Sarah was 13 she begged her family to let her drop the Sarah and becalled only Margaret. Her father disapproved. Sarah s feeling were because she felt her given name was a proper old-maidish name. Gradually persuaded, though, herfamily fell into the habit of calling her Margaret. In the summer of 1823 Miss Ellen Kilshaw came from England. In the weeksthat followed, Margaret became Miss Ellen s adoring acolyte. Miss Ellen was charmed byMargaret s childish deviation. Their friendship was a tender one, pleasing to both. Inthe autumn, when Miss Kilshaw sailed away back to England, the parting was sad. At the age of 14, Margaret was allowed to attended a school for two years. For thefollowing few years, Margaret did exceptionally well in school. She was very much intoreading the classics, especially Shakespeare. She excelled rather quickly and wasobviously much more advanced than her classmates. Following this, she returned toCambridge and her course of reading. Her intellectual maturity gained her theacquaintance of various Cambridge intellectuals. At this point in her life, her father moved the family to a farm. In thisenvironment, she found herself very isolated and alone. She also accepted theresponsibility to educate her siblings while her mother was not well. Her father saw shewas not happy in this new life and he did not hide it. In an effort to placate her, he builta rustic shelter near the house for her to live. Timothy Fuller died suddenly of cholera on October 1, 1835. Her mother, timidby nature and overcome with grief, turned helplessly to Margaret. She, Margaret, wasnow the head of the family. Timothy Fuller left no will. His financial affairs were in a tangle. Plagued bythese financial difficulties after her father s death and meeting Ralph Waldo Emerson, shetaught in Bronson Alcott s Temple School in Boston and then in Providence. All the
while, she continued to enlarge both her intellectual accomplishments and personalacquaintances. When Mrs. Fuller sold the farm in the spring of 1839 and Margaret moved thefamily to a delightful rural suburb of Boston called Jamaica Plain, she was now closeenough to the city to put her plan into action. This plan, quite simply, was to gathertogether the most intelligent women of the area and hold conversations on variousinteresting and stimulating topics. This idea was a success and Margaret continued tohold two series of Conversations each year for the next five years, on subjects that rangedfrom the fine arts to the influence of women on their society. During the time of these discussion groups, Margaret also joined Emerson andothers to found the Dial. She became a contributor from the first issue and its editor. Margaret also wrote a book in this period based on a trip through the Midwest calledSummer on the Lakes. This book led to her being invited by Horace Greeley to beliterary critic at the New York Tribune. She also showed continuing support for feministphilosophies and published a book Woman in the Nineteenth Century which became aclassic of feminist thoughts The next point of Margaret s life consisted of working for Horace Greeley. Shealso became involved with James Nathan. They met each other in the greeningcountryside whenever they could. She called their love a holy love and finally on paperfreely expressed her ardent feelings for him. But when he responded at their nextmeeting the passionate overtures, she timidly withdrew, reproaching him formisunderstanding the nature of her emotions. However, their meetings still continued. After James Nathan was a part of her path, Margaret was joyful as she went aboardthe sailing steamship Cambria. Fuller traveled to Europe and sent back articles aboutEuropean city life. Those articles were published as At Home and Abroad. While traveling in Rome in 1847, Margaret fell in love with Marchese GiovanniAngelo d Ossoli. They united their two passions-for each other and for Italy. Margaretsettled in to lodgings where Ossoli could visit her every day. Margaret greatly changedduring this experience. Soon after, she learned that she was to have a child with Ossoli. Because she was not married, though, she was filled with dismay. Ossoli tried hard tomarry her directly, but due to financial difficulties he was unable to proceed with themarriage until the year after their child s birth. During the Revolution of 1848 and the siege of Rome by French forces, Margaretassumed charge of one of the hospitals of the city, while her husband took part in thefighting. However, the city fell in 1850 and the Ossolis were forced to flee Rome. InMay 1850, they sailed to America. They began sailing when the original captaincontracted and died of small pox. After continuing on their voyage, they had almostreached their final destination when their ship ran into a storm off the coast of NewYork. The ship was wrecked. The child was attempted to be saved by a steward, butsearches were initiated and both the steward s and the baby s bodies were found. NeitherMargaret or Ossoli were ever found. In my opinion, Margaret Fuller is a great person in history. She worked foreverything she had and proved to be a success. She was handed many difficultexperiences in her life and many thought nothing of her. But, Margaret Fuller became asomebody. Margaret Fuller is a perfect example of a honorable role-model. She did nothave a perfect life and made some mistakes in living, but when a mistake was obvious,she took responsibility and dealt with the outcome. She never gave up.