Traditional histories of the American transcendentalist movement begin in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s terms: describing a rejection of college books and church pulpits in favor of the individual power of “Man Thinking.” This essay collection asks how women who lacked the privileges of both college and clergy rose to thought. For them, reading alone and conversing together were the primary means of growth, necessarily in private and informal spaces both overlapping with those of the men and apart from them. But these were means to achieving literary, aesthetic, and political authority indeed, to claiming utopian possibility for women as a whole.
Toward a Female Genealogy of Transcendentalism is a project of both archaeology and reinterpretation. Many of its seventeen distinguished and rising scholars work from newly recovered archives, and all offer fresh readings of understudied topics and texts. First quickened by the 2010 bicentennial of Margaret Fuller’s birth, the project reaches beyond Fuller to her female predecessors, contemporaries, and successors throughout the nineteenth century who contributed to or grew from the transcendentalist movement.
Geographic scope also widensfrom the New England base to national and transatlantic spheres. A shared goal is to understand this “genealogy” within a larger history of American women writers; no absolute boundaries divide idealism from sentiment, romantics from realists, or white discourse from black. Primary-text interludes invite readers into the ongoing task of discovering and interpreting transcendentally affiliated women. This collection recognizes the vibrant contributions women made to a major literary movement and will appeal to both scholars and general readers.
|Publisher:||University of Georgia Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
PHYLLIS COLE is professor of English at Penn State University, Brandywine, and is the author of Mary Moody Emerson and the Origins of Transcendentalism: A Family History, as well as essays on feminist themes in the transcendentalist movement.
Table of Contents
List of Primary Interludes ix
List of Abbreviations for Frequently Cited Texts xiii
Introduction Phyllis Cole Jana Argersinger 5
Section 1 Early Voices, Origins, Influences
"Let me do nothing smale": Mary Moody Emerson and Women's "Talking" Manuscripts Noelle A. Baker 35
"With the Eyes That Are Given Me": Early Transcendentalism and Feminist Colonial Poetics in Sophia Peabody's Cuba Journal Ivonne M. García 59
Fuller, Goethe, Bettine: Cultural Transfer and Imagined German Womanhood Carol Strauss Sotiropoulos 81
What Did Margaret Think of George? Gary Williams 105
Elizabeth Peabody in the Nineteenth Century: Autobiographical Perspectives Phyllis Cole 131
Section 2 Transcendentalist Circles
"How It All Lies before Me To-day": Transcendentalist Women's Journeys into Attention Sarah Ann Wider 157
"We have abolished domestic servitude": Women and Work at Brook Farm Sterling F. Delano 179
Sentimental Transcendentalism and Political Affect: Child and Fuller in New York Jeffrey Steele 207
(S)exchanges: Julia Ward Howe's The Hermaphrodite and the Gender Dialectics of Transcendentalism Monika Elbert 229
Section 3 Wider Circles of Vision and Action
Green Exaltadas: Margaret Fuller, Transcendentalist Conservationism, and Antebellum Women's Nature Writing Daniel S. Malachuk 253
"Each Atomic Part": Edmonia Goodelle Highgate's African American Transcendentalism Eric Gardner 277
Caroline Healey Dall and the American Social Science Movement Helen R. Deese 303
Transcendental Erotics, Same-Sex Desire, and Ethel's Love-Life Dorri Beam 327
Section 4 Late Voices and Legacies
Required to "Speak": Caroline Healey Dall and the Defense of Margaret Fuller Mary De Jong 353
"A Woman's Place": The Transcendental Realism of Mary Wilkins Freeman Susan M. Stone 377
Black Exaltadas: Race, Reform, and Spectacular Womanhood after Fuller Katherine Adams 399
The Cosmopolitan Project of Louisa May Alcott Laura Dassow Walls 423
Selected Bibliography 447