MFS at the 2023 Thoreau Society Annual Gathering in Concord, MA

This summer the Margaret Fuller Society is sponsoring a panel, “Margaret Fuller: Westward to the Lakes, Eastward to Europe,” at the 82nd Thoreau Society Annual Gathering in Concord, MA. Phyllis Blum Cole will be chairing the panel.

The conference theme is “Thoreau and the Politics of Extinction.” You can register for the conference here.

Below offers you a preview of the panel’s papers. We hope to see you in Concord!

Albena Bakratcheva (New Bulgarian University) will be presenting “‘Wherever the Hog Comes, the Rattlesnake Disappears,’ or ‘Sic Transit Gloria Ruris’:  Fuller and Thoreau on Civilization and/as Extinction.” In her Summer on the Lakes in 1843 Margaret Fuller regretfully foresaw that the settlers’ “mode of civilization will, in the course of twenty, perhaps ten, years, obliterate the natural expression of the country.” Such would be Henry Thoreau’s concern ever since (if not even before) he set off to Walden Pond in 1845; year after year this concern would only intensify, with Thoreau witnessing how “the wild fruit of the earth disappear before civilization” and “the whole country becomes a town or beaten common,” as noted in the 1858 Journal. Both authors considered the tendency of our civilization inevitable. This paper will focus on the proto-environmental thinking/awareness indicated by Margaret Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes (her only work of the kind) and will try to envision such direction of discourse as suggesting (and itself providing) a certain immediate intellectual/literary context in which Thoreau’s own environmental imagination will very shortly thrive and triumph.

In “Margaret Fuller’s Radical Optimism: Westward to the Mexican-American War, Eastward to the Italian Revolution” Christina Katopodis (Transformative Learning in the Humanities, City University of New York) considers connections between Fuller’s response to the Mexican-American War and the Italian Revolution, looking especially at her letters from 1846-1850, as well as her commentary on abolitionists such as her 1845 review of Frederick Douglass’ Narrative. Katopodis frames Fuller’s more political writings within the context of her radical optimism, revisiting arguments about Fuller as a democratic theorist made by Charles Capper and David M. Robinson. Katopodis argues that Fuller’s radical optimism shaped the political movement that was American Transcendentalism, pushing her contemporaries further in the direction of social justice as the movement’s ultimate goal. Moreover, today, we stand to learn from Fuller’s radical optimism—optimism as a choice one must make daily in the face of adversity and oppression, a kind of early American pragmatism that is inherently activist in nature, as Katopodis contends.

Gerard Holmes (University of Maryland) in “George Sand’s Consuelo Novels and Margaret Fuller’s Improvised Work-Life” argues that Fuller’s adoption of a wandering, and ultimately revolutionary, persona as she traveled across Europe is informed by her reading of George Sand’s 1841 novel Consuelo and its 1843 sequel La Comtesse de Rudolstadt, and by meeting Sand in 1847. Long out of print in English and dismissed by English-language critics by the end of the nineteenth century, Consuelo was profoundly important to New England writers even before its first American translation in 1845. Fuller read the two novels in French, and discussed them in a January 1845 essay about contemporary French fiction. She then reviewed Consuelo in translation twice, first during its serial publication in the Brook Farm-produced periodical The Harbinger, in 1845, and when published by the prestigious Boston firm William Ticknor and Co. the next year. In the 1846 review, Fuller called Sand “the best living French writer, and in some respects the best living prose writer.” Consuelo was deemed important by Fuller and the Brook Farmers not only artistically, but also in promoting associationist social reform. Fuller wrote in 1846 that the “great influence” of Consuelo would be in recording “some of the mystical apparitions and attempts to solve some of the problems of the time.”

In her presentation on “Heroes, Legends, and Sex: Narrative Structure in Fuller’s Sumer on the Lakes,” Megan Spring (Florida Atlantic University) will argue that traditional narrative structure is inherently phallic, mimicking the sexual experience of a heterosexual man while Fuller’s narrative structure in Summer on the Lakes is reminiscent of the female orgasm. Through this argument, Spring analyzes Fuller’s unsystematic style in Summer, most often a point of contention for many literary scholars and a reason why she isn’t better known. Thus, Spring asserts that through Fuller’s narrative structure in Summer, she subverts an inherently patriarchal America by asserting an American cultural identity specifically for women in the 19th century prior to her most famous work, Woman in the Nineteenth Century.

Join us in Boston for ALA!

The Margaret Fuller Society is pleased to announce we are sponsoring two exciting panels at this year’s American Literature Association conference in Boston, MA. Both panels will take place on Saturday, May 27, 2023.

Foundations for the “World at Large”: Women Authors and Their Homes I (Chair: Jana Argersinger) [Session 18-E at 1:00pm – 2:20pm]
 
Phyllis Cole, “The Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House: Our Author’s Birthplace as a Social Service Center” 

Anna De Biasio, “A Crowded House: Family Ties, Independence, and Authorship in L. M. Alcott”

Jan Turnquist, “Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House—Where Creativity, Hope, and Inspiration Abide”

Jennifer Daly, “(Re)Claiming Women’s Intellectual Space: Elizabeth Palmer Peabody’s Book Room” 

Katherine Lynes, “‘a policeman he wanted me / to behave’: Gardens and Home in Black Ecopoetics” 

Foundations for the “World at Large”: Women Authors and Their Homes II (Chair: Sonia Di Loreto) [Session 19-F at 2:30pm – 3:50pm]
 
Marco Sioli, “Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s House and the Women’s Rights National Historical Park at Seneca Falls, N.Y.”

Ariel Silver, “‘The Center of the Rebellion’: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Her New York Homes”

Divya Nair, “168 Brattle St., Swami Vivekananda, and Sara Chapman Bull’s Cambridge Conferences” 

Summer Hamilton, “Locating the Discursive Impetus behind June Jordan’s Construction of Home in Soldier”

Annika Berry, “maybe I could be @home: Untangling the Archive of S. Paige Baty (1961-1997)” 


A Margaret Fuller Society business meeting will be held on the same day at 5:30pm.

You can register for the conference here.

Image via Wikimedia.

The Margaret Fuller Society Announces a Teaching Award to Support Racial Justice 

Teaching to Racial Justice with Margaret Fuller

The Committee on Racial Justice welcomes entries that:

–outline a syllabus including writing by Margaret Fuller and explain how Fuller’s work fits into the semester’s aims, including support of racial justice.

–describe a classroom activity or series of exercises that use Fuller’s writing to teach to issues of racial justice.

–detail a paper assignment that focuses on racial justice and engages Fuller’s writing. 

–plan a community project that addresses racial justice and Fuller’s writing.

–propose a nontraditional pedagogical approach to racial justice issues through Fuller’s writing.

We especially encourage entries that engage critical race theory.  We welcome submissions from both members and non-members of the Society and urge graduate students to consider submitting.

Submission Requirements

Submissions should be limited to one page.

The winning submission, as judged by the Society’s Committee on Racial Justice, will receive a small monetary award and publication in Conversations, the newsletter of the Margaret Fuller Society.  The award will be presented at the annual conference of the American Literature Association. 

Send submissions to avallone000@gmail.com.  Deadline:  10 April 2023

Ralph Waldo Emerson Society Awards Deadline Extended

 

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society has extended the deadline for their awards to August 28, 2020.

The Research Grant provides up to $500 to support scholarly work on Emerson. Preference is given to junior scholars and graduate students. Submit a confidential letter of recommendation, and a 1-2-page project proposal, including a description of expenses, by August 28, 2020.

The Pedagogy or Community Project Award provides up to $500 to support projects designed to bring Emerson to a non-academic audience. Submit a confidential letter of recommendation, and a 1-2-page project proposal, including a description of expenses, by August 28, 2020.

The Subvention Award provides up to $500 to support costs attending the publication of a scholarly book or article on Emerson and his circle. Submit a confidential letter of recommendation, and a 1-2-page proposal, including an abstract of the forthcoming work and a description of publication expenses, by August 28, 2020.

Please send proposals to Prentiss Clark (Prentiss [dot] Clark [at] usd [dot] edu) and Kristina West (kristina [dot] west [at] btopenworld [dot] com). Award recipients must become members of the Society; membership applications are available at http://www.emersonsociety.org.

See the full RWES Awards Announcement for 2020.

Emerson Society 2019 Awards Announcement

Awards Announcements

2019

 The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society announces four awards for projects that foster appreciation for Emerson.

*Graduate Student Paper Award*

Provides up to $750 of travel support to present a paper on an Emerson Society panel at the American Literature Association Annual Conference (May 2019) or the Thoreau Society Annual Gathering (July 2019). Submit a 300-word abstract to David Greenham (david.greenham@uwe.ac.uk) by January 11, 2019. Abstracts should address the 2019 CFPs posted at emersonsociety.org. 

*Research Grant*

Provides up to $500 to support scholarly work on Emerson. Preference given to junior scholars and graduate students. Submit a confidential letter of recommendation, and a 1-2-page project proposal, including a description of expenses, by April 1, 2019.

*Pedagogy or Community Project Award*

Provides up to $500 to support projects designed to bring Emerson to a non-academic audience. Submit a confidential letter of recommendation, and a 1-2-page project proposal, including a description of expenses, by April 1, 2019. 

*Subvention Award*

Provides up to $500 to support costs attending the publication of a scholarly book or article on Emerson and his circle. Submit a confidential letter of recommendation, and a 1-2-page proposal, including an abstract of the forthcoming work and a description of publication expenses, by April 1, 2019. 

Send Research, Pedagogy/Community, and Subvention proposals to:

Prentiss Clark (Prentiss.Clark@usd.edu) and Kristina West (k.j.west@reading.ac.uk)

Award recipients must become members of the Society; membership applications are available at http://www.emersonsociety.org.

Announcing the Phyllis Blum Cole Award for Social Service

At the recent American Literature Association 2018 Conference, Margaret Fuller Society Members Jana L. Argersinger and Noelle A. Baker presented Past President Phyllis Cole with the Inaugural Phyllis Blum Cole Award for Social Service. Read their speech presenting Cole with the award below.

Noelle Baker, Phyllis Cole, and Jana Argersinger
Left to Right: Noelle Baker, Phyllis Cole holding award, and Jana Argersinger; Photo courtesy of Katie Kornacki

“Before we turn to other forward-looking matters, we should acknowledge our Past President for her inspiring leadership and immense drive, which have brought the Fuller Society into its second quarter-century.

As most of you know, Phyllis Cole in her three-year term directed a remarkable renovation of the Society.  She leaves us a notable legacy:  a greatly expanded membership and enhanced bank-account; a new, exciting website; a stimulating newsletter; Society presence on social media; a revised governance structure that reflects the new roles required by all these renovations; and renewed status at the annual MLA Convention.

In what I may hazard is perhaps the achievement dearest to her heart, Phyllis established the Society’s outreach into social action by forging a connection with the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House in Cambridge, MA.  You will recall that this community-based nonprofit with a century-old mission is housed in Fuller’s girlhood home.  It serves to provide a wide variety of programs to underprivileged families and individuals in the community, while in the process serving as well to propagate Fuller’s social ideals.

To honor Phyllis‘s achievement and to keep the memory of it alive, the Executive Council has voted to establish the Phyllis Blum Cole Award for Social Service.  The award will be given every three years to a Society Member that the Council recognizes as having worked in some significant way to promulgate the social ideals advanced by Margaret Fuller.  It is to take the form of a donation to the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House and a plaque to the recipient, engraved with one of Phyllis‘s favorite quotes from Fuller, taken from her December 1844 Tribune piece “Thanksgiving”: “No home can be healthful in which are not cherished seeds of good for the world at large.” As Fuller suggests in this article, the authentic spirit of that holiday is embodied in ever-widening acts of kindness and charity; these acts, in Fuller’s words,  “depend upon the great circle” of family, neighbors, friends, and society. We thank Phyllis for setting the standard for our own circle.

It is my great pleasure to announce that the first recipient of this award is Phyllis Cole.”

Phyllis Blum Cole Award for Social Service
Photo courtesy of Katie Kornacki

Featured image of Phyllis Cole holding award courtesy of Jana L. Argersinger.

Welcome to our new website!

We are happy to launch our new website, where you can find resources such as teaching materials and recent paper abstracts on Margaret Fuller’s life and works, see what’s happening in the news, and view upcoming events and calls for papers.

Take some time to read about a new digital humanities archive of Fuller’s travels in Italy and correspondence for the Tribune. Thanks to the hard work of Sonia Di Loreto and her team, this archive is now available and will be a useful teaching tool.

Browse posts about Fuller in recent news, and what Fuller society members have been doing to mark the historic location where Fuller wrote Woman in the Nineteenth Century.

Get to know your Margaret Fuller Society leadership, the valuable community work being done at the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, and become a member yourself or donate to the society.

Margaret Fuller Featured in “American Spirit”

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In the March/April 2017 issue of the Daughters of the American Revolution’s American Spirit, Margaret Fuller’s historic writing of Woman in the Nineteenth Century is featured in an article about the new historical marker commemorating her visit to Fishkill Landing, now Beacon, NY. The article, “Margaret Fuller: A Beacon for Women” was written by Margaret Fuller Society member Michael Barnett, who spearheaded the event. You can read more from American Spirit here.

Michael Barnett earned his master’s in divinity at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethelehem, PA and his master’s in education at Gwynedd Mercy University, where he wrote his history seminar paper, “Margaret Fuller Shapes the Consciousness of America through the New York Tribune.”

Dedication of Margaret Fuller Historical Marker

On Saturday, May 21, 2016, a marker honoring Margaret Fuller was unveiled in Polhill Park in Beacon, NY. Margaret Fuller Society member, scholar, theologian, and educator Michael Barnett spearheaded the effort to commemorate Fuller’s historic visit in the fall of 1844 to what was then Fishkill Landing. She lived here for seven weeks, writing Woman in the Nineteenth Century, a foundational work in the American women’s rights movement. Its publication profoundly impacted women in America and in Europe, and it inspired the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY. Many thanks go to Michael Barnett, who made this commemoration and event possible by applying to the Pomeroy Foundation for the grant to fund the marker.

Organizing Secretary General of the DAR, and Past President of the Beacon and the Dutchess County Historical Societies Denise Doring VanBuren was the mistress of ceremonies. Mayor of the City of Beacon Randy Casale and Former Beacon Mayor Clara Lou Gould were present at the unveiling.

To commemorate this event, Beacon Arts commissioned a new piece of music for voice and violin by Beacon resident and composer, Debra Kaye. The piece is a setting of Fuller’s poem “Freedom and Truth” (1859). There was a performance of this piece by Vice President of Beacon Arts and soprano Kelly Ellenwood, and violinist Kathleen Bosman.

Many thanks to all who helped make the event possible: Michael Barnett, Kathleen Bosman, Randy Casale, Elizabeth Evans, Kelly Ellenwood, Clara Lou Gould, Carley Hughes, Ella’s Bellas, Carmen Johnson, Debra Kaye, Diane Lapis, Kristine Marino, Bob Meeker, Bob Murphy, Terri Pahucki, Amy Raff, Anthony Thomaselli, The William G. Pomeroy Foundation, Denise Doring VanBuren, Mary Kay Vrba, and the staff of Dutchess Tourism, Inc.

Watch the unveiling here.