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The Radicalization of Margaret Fuller


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RENOWNED SCHOLARS CONDUCT A
MARGARET FULLER-STYLE “CONVERSATION”

“THE RADICALIZATION OF MARGARET FULLER”

Sunday November 7 at 3:00 P.M. at Arlington Street Church

Boston, MA, October 25, 2010 – The Margaret Fuller Bicentennial is pleased to continue its Conversations Series with a moderated panel discussion featuring two prominent scholars. The event will take place on Sunday November 7 at 3:00 P.M. at Arlington Street Church, 351 Boylston Street, Boston. The program is modeled after the “Conversations” that Margaret Fuller offered for women (and later men) in Boston from 1839 to 1844. The Conversation Series intends to provoke thought on how the issues that concerned this trailblazing woman might relate to contemporary life. 

John Matteson, Professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, and Pulitzer Prize winning author of Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father,  will present “‘Clouded by Secret Sin’: Margaret Fuller and the Darker Side of Woman in the Nineteenth Century.” This revolutionary treatise is widely considered the first book on women’s rights by an American.

“Most people who think about Fuller tend to regard her principally as an extraordinary intellect,” Matteson observes. “However, she was also the most passionate of the great transcendentalists, and her fascination with forbidden sexuality underlies much of the thinking that went into Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Her arrival in New York coincided with her developing a powerful interest in women of ill fame. Unlike most reformers, who saw prostitutes only as victims to be rescued, Fuller wanted to understand and sympathize with them.”

Daniel McKanan, Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity at Harvard Divinity School will present “Margaret Fuller and 1848: Forging a United Radical Tradition.” McKanan is the author of the forthcoming 200 year history of religion and radical politics in the United States, which includes Margaret Fuller’s friendship with Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini.

“2010 marks the bicentennial of many leading figures in the Transcendentalist movement,” says McKanan, “but Margaret Fuller is special-both because she was left out of the celebrations one hundred years ago and because she linked spirituality to radical activism in a way that can still be a model for us today.”

The panel will be moderated by Rev. Kim Crawford Harvie. There will be time for conversation and questions following the presentation. The traveling display, “Why Margaret Fuller Matters,” will be on location for viewing. Refreshments will be served.  The program is free and open to the public.

The program is supported by grants from Mass Humanities, the Fund for Unitarian Universalism, and individual donations. It is co-sponsored by the Margaret Fuller Bicentennial Committee and Arlington Street Church.
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Margaret Fuller in Italy

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First Parish Church in Concord Presents
“Margaret Fuller in Italy”
Thursday October 21, 2010 at 7:30 P.M.- 9:00 P.M.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Carla A. Gomez
(978) 502-3113        
margaretfullerpr@gmail.com

Concord, M.A. October 4, 2010 - Reverend Jenny Rankin will present a lecture and slideshow, “Margaret Fuller in Italy” at the First Parish Church in Concord, Unitarian Universalist, 20 Lexington Road, Concord, Ma., on October 21 at 7:30 P.M.  Reverend Rankin traveled to Rome to research Fuller’s experiences in Italy and retrace her steps.  She has created this presentation based on her research.

From the time she was a young girl growing up in Cambridge, Margaret Fuller had dreamed of going to Europe, and especially to Italy.  She had studied the Italian language, knew its literature and poetry, and followed its politics.  Her dream was deferred, however, due to the sudden death of her father.  Margaret took over as “head of household” working to earn money to support her family.  Finally, in August 1846, her dream came true as she sailed from Boston to Liverpool.   She toured England and France before arriving in Italy in the spring of 1847.

“I was lucky to be able to travel to Rome last March during a sabbatical,” says Rev. Rankin.  “I worked at the library of American Academy of Rome which is located across the street from the building that was Garibaldi’s headquarters during the Roman Republic.  Consequently, I was “right on location” to research the Roman Republic in which Margaret was so involved in the spring of 1849.”

Rev. Rankin’s lecture will trace the story of Margaret’s time in Italy, from her arrival as a “tourist” to her settling down in Rome, working as a journalist, falling in love, giving birth and participating in the Revolution which swept Rome in the spring of 1849.  Slides will show 19th century images of Italy and Rome as well as contemporary photos of sites in Rome where Margaret lived and worked.


Rev. Jenny Rankin is a Unitarian Universalist minister at First Parish in Concord, Unitarian Universalist.  She has taught classes on Transcendentalism and Margaret Fuller.
The lecture is free and open to the public.  Donations will be gratefully accepted to support the Margaret Fuller Bicentennial and ongoing classes and discussion groups of the Wright Tavern Center for Spiritual Renewal.  Refreshments will be served following the program.

This event is part of the Bicentennial’s Conversations Series, supported by a grant from Mass Humanities and modeled after the “Conversations” which Margaret Fuller offered for women (and later men) in Boston in the late 1830s and 1840s.  The event is co-sponsored by the Margaret Fuller Bicentennial Committee, First Parish in Concord, and the Transcendentalist Council of First Parish, and is part of a year-long series of events celebrating Margaret Fuller’s life and work.  For a complete list of the other programs, please visit: www.margaretfuller.org.

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Conversation Videos


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CONVERSATION VIDEOS


Over the course of the Bicentennial celebration the Committee, in partnership with Mass Humanities, has hosted five Conversations thus far.  Hopefully many of you were able to attend a few of these interesting and entertaining events.  If you were not able to enjoy them in person, we hope you have enjoyed the descriptions and updates available on our web site, the Mass Humanities web site, or via newsletters, Facebook, and press releases.


Thanks to a recent grant from the Fund For Unitarian Universalism for documentation of the Bicentennial, we are very pleased to announce that we now have 19 video clips available for viewing on www.youtube.com.  The clips were shot at four of the Converstions including: seven clips of  "Why Margaret Fuller Matters," which took place at the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House (her birthplace) on May 15, two clips from  "Margaret Fuller in Groton: Shaping a Life, Framing a Mind," which took place on Sunday May 16 at First Parish in Groton, five clips from the memorial service at Mt. Auburn cemetery on July 18, and finally, five clips from the Conversation between Margaret Fuller and Edgar Allen Poe at the Old Manse in Concord on August 19.   Relive your favorite parts of the program, or enjoy ones you missed, by visiting the official Bicentennial Committee channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/FullerBicentenniel

The Committee would like to thank cameraman William Reilly for his work filming the event at MFNH, camerawoman Donna Clifford for her work at First Parish in Groton, and camerawoman, and videographer, Josephine Sedgwick for her work filming at Mt. Auburn and the Old Manse, as well as for editing and posting the footage to the Committee's YouTube channel.  Footage taken of our upcoming events will be available on this channel in the future, so consider subscribing.


Good news; there is still more to come!

Save the dates for these upcoming Conversations:

Thursday, October 21, 2010, 7:30 PM, at First Parish In Concord, Unitarian Universalist.  “Margaret Fuller in Italy,” lecture and slides by the Rev. Jenny Rankin, who traveled to Rome to research Margaret Fuller's experiences in Italy and retrace her steps. Co-sponsored by First Parish and the Transcendentalist Council of First Parish. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010, 3 PM, at Arlington Street Church, Boston. “Margaret Fuller’s Network: How Politics, Literature, and Art Crossed in the World Around Her,” with John Matteson, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father and Associate Professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY; Daniel McKanan, Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, and author of forthcoming book featuring Margaret Fuller’s friendship with Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini; with an introduction by the Rev. Dr. Dorothy Emerson, coordinator of the Margaret Fuller Bicentennial, and author/editor of Standing Before Us: Unitarian Universalist Women and Social Reform 1776-1936; and moderated by the Rev. Kim Crawford Harvie. Co-sponsored by Arlington Street Church.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010, 12 noon at the Boston Athenaeum. Program has changed. Check back for details. 

 We plan to film highlights of these events as well, so be sure to visit our YouTube channel if you are unable to attend. 

                                                                      

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UUA-LOGO

Bicentennial Highlights

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BICENTENNIAL HIGHLIGHTS

The following report, with additions and edits by Communications Assistant Carla Gomez,  was prepared by Bicentennial Coordinator Reverend Dorothy Emerson to recap the events which have taken place thus far as part of the Bicentennial Celebration.  At the report's conclusion, please look for the exciting upcoming events to add to your calendar.
RECAP

The celebration of Margaret Fuller’s Bicentennial is now in full swing. We have held the first five of our series of Conversations. The programs have been publicized to all of you via our newsletters and web site, as well as through the Mass Humanities website, Facebook, and press releases.  The traveling display, “Why Margaret Fuller Matters,” has been shown in twelve locations in Massachusetts, including four of the Conversations programs. 

The first Conversation, “Why Margaret Fuller Matters,” was held at the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House (her birthplace) on Saturday, May 15. As participants entered, they had an opportunity to see the traveling display in the library where Margaret read her first books. We were welcomed by Barbara Kibler, executive director, who told us about the facilities and programs the House provides for the community today. The program was moderated by project director, Dorothy Emerson, who presented a biographical sketch of Margaret’s life, focusing on her life in that house and on her growing up and young adult years in Cambridge. Our project Humanities Scholar, Laurie Crumpacker, Professor of History at Simmons College, then spoke about Margaret Fuller’s work, especially her front page articles in the New York Tribune, of which she had brought samples for us to see. A lively discussion followed. Refreshments were provided by the co-sponsor, the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House.

The second Conversation, “Margaret Fuller in Groton: Shaping a Life, Framing a Mind,” was held on Sunday, May 16, at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Groton, which co-hosted the event and provided refreshments. We were welcomed by the Rev. Elea Kemler, who explained that this was the church attended by the Fuller family while they lived in Groton. The program was moderated by Dorothy Emerson, who began with a biographical sketch of Margaret Fuller’s life focusing on her time in Groton. Marcia Synnott, Professor of History at the University of South Carolina, spoke about the importance of Margaret’s work and ideas, and Fritz Fleischmann, Professor of English at Babson College, spoke about Margaret’s time in Europe and the significance of her reports to the American public published in the New York Tribune. Another lively discussion ensued.

 The third Conversation, "Portraying Margaret Fuller and Friends Onstage," was held on June 19 at the First Church in Belmont.  In conjunction with one of the evening productions of the play, “The Margaret Ghost.” The author of the play, Carole Braverman, had been scheduled to speak but was called away by a medical emergency. Instead, Dorothy Emerson read portions of the playwright’s essay, “Searching for Margaret Fuller: Dramatizing Literary History.” Elizabeth Hunter, director of Theatre@First, spoke about her experience of producing the play several years ago and again this year as part of the Bicentennial. Actor Andrea Humez shared her experience of portraying Margaret. This event was also a fund-raiser, with refreshments donated by Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s (Alewife stores).

The fourth Conversation was the memorial service Margaret Fuller never had. Held in Bigelow Chapel at Mount Auburn Cemetery on July 18, this “Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Sarah Margaret Fuller Ossoli” was co-sponsored by the cemetery, which provided refreshments and donated a wreath for the celebration. The program was conducted by the Rev. Rosemarie Smuzinski and featured remembrances by key friends of Fuller, who appeared in historical dress.  Rob Velella researched and prepared the script based on what these people wrote about her.  Actress Jessa Piaia, dressed as Margaret Fuller, also wrote and delivered remarks regarding Margaret's "Premonitions."  Wendell Refior appeared as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Smith as Henry David Thoreau, Rob Velella as James Freeman Clarke, Dorothy Emerson as Elizabeth Peabody, and Deb Goss as Julia Ward Howe. A pilgrimage to the Fuller Family Lot followed the service. The wreath was laid there, and Jessica Lipnack invited participants to come forward, take a flower, lay it on the cenotaph (monument), and share reflections on what Margaret Fuller means to them today.

The fifth Conversation took place on August 19 at the Old Manse in Concord. The program featured a dramatic dialog between Margaret Fuller and Edgar Allen Poe, portrayed by Jessa Piaia and Rob Velella. The Trustees of Reservations held special tours of the Manse, led by the co-sponsors, focusing on Margaret’s visits to the house. The dramatic presentation was followed by a question and answer session, with time at the conclusion for refreshments and casual conversations with attendees, staff, and performers.

 The programs have been a resounding success. Charles Capper, Fuller biographer, stated that this is the largest and most comprehensive bicentennial ever held for an American author.  We are grateful to Mass Humanities for supporting these programs as part of this amazing Bicentennial year.

SAVE THE DATE

Thursday, October 21, 2010, 7:30 PM, at First Parish in Concord, Unitarian Universalist.  “Margaret Fuller in Italy,” lecture and slides by the Rev. Jenny Rankin, who traveled to Rome to research Margaret Fuller's experiences in Italy and retrace her steps. Co-sponsored by First Parish and the Transcendentalist Council of First Parish.

Sunday, November 7, 2010, 3 PM, at Arlington Street Church, Boston. “Margaret Fuller’s Network: How Politics, Literature, and Art Crossed in the World Around Her,” with John Matteson, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father and Associate Professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY; Daniel McKanan, Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, and author of forthcoming book featuring Margaret Fuller’s friendship with Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini; with an introduction by the Rev. Dr. Dorothy Emerson, coordinator of the Margaret Fuller Bicentennial, and author/editor of Standing Before Us: Unitarian Universalist Women and Social Reform 1776-1936; and moderated by the Rev. Kim Crawford Harvie. Co-sponsored by Arlington Street Church.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010, 12 noon at the Boston Athenaeum. Program has changed. Check back for details.

 [1] Charles Capper, in a panel presentation at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, Minneapolis, MN, June 25, 2010.

A Conversation at the Old Manse Between Margaret Fuller and Edgar Allen Poe

The Old Manse Premiers: 

Edgar A. Poe and Margaret Fuller: A Conversation

August 19, 7 pm
 
The year is 1845 and Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), portrayed by Jessa Piaia, and Edgar A. Poe (1809-1849), portrayed by Rob Velella, are at the height of their literary careers. The pair exchange gossip, talk about Transcendentalism, and discuss their recently published works, "Woman in the 19th Century" and “The Raven,” at Concord’s Old Manse. Presented as a dramatic reading, the program is part of the Margaret Fuller Bicentennial Celebration "Conversations Series,” and is appropriate for audiences age 10-adult. Poe and Fuller will converse for about 35 minutes, with an informal Q&A and refreshments to follow. Admission is $5 per person.
 
The premier performance of this new dramatic piece will take place under the Manse tent overlooking the Concord River. Bring your own blanket or lawn chairs, or arrive early with your own picnic to enjoy on the lawn.  Light dessert will be served following the conversation, or visitors may choose to browse our air-conditioned bookstore and save 10 - 50% off during our storewide sale in honor of this event. 
 
Special Margaret Fuller Tours of the Manse will be offered on August 19 at 4, 5, 6 and 8 pm. Tour this 1770’s home while learning about Fuller’s visits with Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne while they lived at The Manse in the 1840’s.  Admission is $8.  Trustees of Reservations Members $4.  Reservations suggested. Call 978.369.3909.

Historic Background and Biography - Writer, intellect, and teacher, Margaret Fuller was the first editor of The Dial, the quarterly Newsletter of the Transcendentalists. After publishing Woman in the 19th Century and Summer on the Lakes in 1844, Horace Greeley hired her as editor and literary critic of his New York Daily Tribune. In 1846, Fuller embarked to Europe as the first female foreign correspondent of a daily newspaper. En route home four years later, she perished at sea in a shipwreck off Fire Island along with her husband Giovanni Ossoli and their son Angelo.  A cenotaph commemorating her accomplishments stands at Mount Auburn Cemetery. 

Jessa Piaia studied performance at London’s Oval House Theatre. Her Women in History Programs depict the accomplishments, struggles, and contributions of American women (http://www.womeninhistoryprograms.com). Since 1985 she performs at educational institutions, museums, libraries, and cultural organizations throughout New England.  Recipient of Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities grants, and from local arts lotteries, her many successes include "Meet Isabella Stewart Gardner: America’s First Patroness of the Arts," and "From Suffragist to Citizen: A Conversation with Susan B. Anthony & Eleanor Roosevelt."
 
Though known today mostly for his tales of the macabre and mystery, Edgar A. Poe was one of the most influential literary critics of his day. His editorial duties for The Southern Literary Messenger, Graham's Magazine, and the Broadway Journal brought him into contact with most of the literary figures of the period. Despite Poe’s popularity, he was never financially successful and died destitute and mysteriously in Baltimore at the age of 40.
Literary historian Rob Velella has lectured at historical sites, libraries, and colleges across the East Coast. Most recently he presented papers at the Poe Studies Association (2009) and the Hawthorne Society (2010), and served as guest curator for "Margaret Fuller: Woman of the Nineteenth Century" at Harvard's Houghton Library and as research associate for "The Raven in the Frog Pond: Edgar Allan Poe and Boston" for the Boston Public Library. As well as performing as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Nathaniel Hawthorne, Velella, also maintains the American Literary Blog www.americanliteraryblog.blogspot.com.
For more information, contact The Old Manse at 978.369.3909. Located at 269 Monument Street, Concord, MA. Visit our website www.oldmanse.org. Email oldmanse@ttor.org The Old Manse is a property of the Trustees of Reservations www.thetrustees.org.
This event is part of the Bicentennial’s Conversations Series, supported by a grant from Mass Humanities and modeled after the “Conversations” Margaret Fuller offered for women (and later men) in Boston in the late 1830s and early 1840s. The event is co-sponsored by the Margaret Fuller Bicentennial Committee and is part of a year-long series of events celebrating Margaret Fuller’s life and work.  For a complete list of the other programs, please visit: www.margaretfuller.org.