The Letters of Margaret Fuller

The Letters of Margaret Fuller

1842–1844

The third volume of this major series opens with Fuller's decision in early 1842 to resign her post as editor of The Dial, after she realized she would never be paid for her work there. It closes with her in New York, having accepted Horace Greeley's invitation to work as a book reviewer for The Daily Tribune. Her position was nearly without precedent for a woman, and she wrote enthusiastically of her job that it provided "a more various view of life than any I ever before was in." She found herself in a larger world: the new tasks of daily journalism replaced the demands of The Dial, and a mass audience replaced her coterie of intellectual readers.

These were prolific years for Fuller, during which she wrote on a wide variety of subjects, and the letters chronicle her progress on a number of projects, among them her travel book, Summer on the Lakes, in 1843, which grew out of a trip to the Midwest; her translation of Bettina von Arnim's Die Günderode; and her essays on contemporary poetry, fiction, and drama. She devoted the fall of 1844 to expanding "The Great Lawsuit," an essay she had written for The Dial; the letters document how the piece grew to become her most important book—Woman in the Nineteenth Century, a provocative study of woman's role in American life.