AuthorRitchie, Amanda Ross
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study seeks to accomplish two goals. First, it will reestablish Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) as America's first important interpreter of Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832), Germany's best-known lyric poet. The study includes full transcription and complete annotation of Fuller's Reading Journal O manuscript detailing the experimental series of Conversations on Goethe that Fuller conducted in the spring or summer of 1839. The manuscript suggests that Fuller was an expert on all of Goethe's works, not just on his literary oeuvre. The experimental series of Conversations on Goethe was a prototype for the Boston Conversations for Women, those watershed events in the history of the American women's movement that Fuller envisioned and then carried out between the fall of 1839, and the winter of 1844. Second, this study will examine Fuller's debt to German sensibility as she found it in Goethe and other German writers of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Fuller learned Innerlichkeit, inwardness, and Gelassenheit, or serenity, from her long study of German letters. Her incorporation of German sensibility was useful to her in two ways. First, German sensibility was important to Fuller's unique pedagogical philosophy. By encouraging her students to practice German sensibility, Fuller taught them how to educate themselves through their own initiatives. Second, German sensibility facilitated Fuller's critical stance, thereby aiding in the development of her feminism. Fuller's discussion of Iphigenia, the heroine of Goethe's classical play called Iphigenia at Tauris, displays the extent of her reliance on German sensibility in creating her most insightful feminist writings. Fuller wrote about Goethe's Iphigenia in the July 1841 issue of the transcendentalist journal called the Dial. Her remarks a there prove that her feminism was fully developed two years before she wrote "The Great Lawsuit: Man vs. Men, Woman vs. Women," the essay she expanded and later published as Woman in the Nineteenth Century.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Comparative Cultural Literature