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


Emerson went further with his literary license. He revised Margaret’s sentences and substituted words, modifying her lava-hot style into a semblance of his own stiff, pontifical language. He changed places and dates. He shifted copy from one source to another. He blue-pencilled, deleted, scissored whole sections of letters and journals. Sometimes letters were copied and originals discarded. Scores of pages of secret diaries were ripped away. In the end some vital part of Margaret had been amputated, and Emerson rested content with the portrait he and his fellow editors had created. In essence, despite their stated kindliness, they distrusted her because she was a woman intellectual who dared acknowledge her sexuality.

Even so, for all their labors, traces of the real Margaret Fuller could not be suppressed: the wide-ranging freedom of her mind and outlook, for one thing; and for another, her true, womanly, passionate hunger for love. A statement that Margaret once made tauntingly to Emerson could serve as a fitting epitaph for both Dear Waldo and herself: “You are intellect, I am life!”