Humanity, Said Edgar Allan Poe, Is Divided Into Men, Women, And Margaret Fuller

Poe’s witticism was not meant kindly, but it was actually a compliment. Without doubt Margaret Fuller stood first among women of the nineteenth century. It is surprising that, as America’s first liberated female, she is not today first in the hearts of her countrywomen. The primary responsibility for this neglect lies with her intimate friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, who, under the guise of loving kindness, defeminized, distorted, and diminished the image of her that has come down to us. Read more »

‘Twas The Nineteenth Of April In (18)75 — And The Centennial Was Coming Unstuck

On a new bridge that arched the flood Their toes by April freezes curled, There the embattled committee stood, Beset, it seemed, by half the world.

Captain John Parker’s company of minutemen stood in formation, some seventy strong, waiting on Lexington Green in the dim light of early dawn. They had gathered during the night in response to Paul Revere’s warning that the British were coming. Read more »

148 Charles Street

The Literary Lights Were Always Bright at

Everyone wanted to be invited to 148 Charles Street, where Charles Dickens mixed the punch and taught the guests parlor games, John Greenleaf Whittier and Harriet Beecher Stowe vied in telling ghost stories, and Nathaniel Hawthorne paced the bedroom floor one unhappy night in the final miserable year of his life.Read more »

“Mama, They’ve Begun Again!”

Bronson Alcott and his transcendental friends hardly ever stopped talking. It left almost no time for mundane things like food and shelter

On the twenty-seventh of January, 1812, a five-year-old boy lay desperately ill of scarlet lever in a house on the outskirts of a New England village. The next morning, a neighbor sent his nine-year-old daughter to inquire how he was. Her knock at the door was answered by the lather of the child; the girl, wise beyond her years, took one glance at his stricken face and turned away without speaking. She did not need his few mumbled words to know what had happened.

 
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“I Find No Intellect Comparable To My Own”

Margaret Fuller very possibly spoke the truth, and the literary men of the age both admired and shied away from her

Margaret Fuller is usually remembered—if at all—because she is supposed to have told Thomas Carlyle in London, “I accept the universe.” The legend implies that she underwent a struggle to achieve this accommodation, and that the universe was to feel complimented.Read more »