Rare unpublished Emerson letter yields insights on Margaret Fuller

nytlogo379x64In the March 23, 2013 New York Times, biographer Megan Marshall writes: “[A man] approached me after a speech I’d given to tell me about . . . a rare unpublished letter by Ralph Waldo Emerson concerning the 1850 shipwreck in which his dear friend Margaret Fuller had drowned at age 40. The tragedy was among the most famous in American literary history. Fuller, a pioneering feminist and foreign correspondent for Horace Greeley’s New-York Tribune, was returning from Italy with her much younger husband, a soldier in the Roman Guard, and their 2-year-old son, conceived out of wedlock . . . When the trio drowned, just 300 yards offshore at Fire Island, the triple-masted Elizabeth driven into a sandbar by a ferocious storm, they were widely mourned. Emerson sent Henry David Thoreau, then in 1850 still a little known writer, to help search for the bodies . . . The four pages that I held in my hands brought together in a moment of palpable crisis three 19th-century geniuses whose ideas still challenge us today.”

Read the full story here.

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