""My Heart is a Large Kingdom"": Selected Letters of Margaret Fuller

Robert N. Hudspeth, Editor, Margaret Fuller, Author
Robert N. Hudspeth, Editor, Margaret Fuller, Author Cornell University Press $47.5 (368p) ISBN 978-0-8014-3747-2
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Fuller (1810-1850) was the ""it girl"" of Transcendentalism and one of the most trenchant critics and insightful thinkers 19th-century America produced. She translated German literature, wrote for the New York Daily Tribune and edited the Transcendentalist magazine the Dial. In this valuable collection of Fuller's private correspondence, readers will find a precocious eight-year-old Margaret writing to her ""Papa,"" assuring him that ""If you have spies they will certainly inform you that we are not very dissipated,"" and keeping him apprised of her Latin studies. At 20, Fuller articulates her controversial religious convictions to a cousin. In a letter to her mother, she describes her whirlwind travels to Europe, admitting that she's relieved finally to be in one place for six months. Among the most revealing are her letters to James Freeman Clarke, a distant cousin, about Goethe, about the marriages of mutual acquaintances and about God. The letters to Emerson, Fuller's fellow Transcendentalist (and her successor at the Dial), are also a delight. A May 1843 dispute between the two about whether or not the birth of a daughter is as ""sacred"" as the birth of a son illustrates their repartee--Fuller never hesitated to disagree with Emerson, but always did so with respect, grace and wit. Hudspeth (Univ. of Redlands) edited the definitive six-volume edition of Fuller's letters; this volume of selections from the larger oeuvre will make Fuller accessible to a larger number of readers. Specialists and general readers with an interest in 19th-century American culture alike owe a debt to Hudspeth for this welcome contribution to scholarship. (Feb.)
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