Margaret Fuller's American Literature

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Born in 1810 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Margaret Fuller could easily be considered as one of the greatest American authors today. Her work supported greatly the authentic American literature she constantly tried to help people understand and construct. Along with numerous essays including her feminist essay Women in the 19th Century in 1845 which tremendously helped in the depiction of women in her society at that time, Fuller wrote a short essay entitled “American Literature; Its Position in the Present Time, and Prospects for the Future” in 1846. This essay mainly revolves around Fuller’s point of view on American literature and whether it really does exist and how it impacts the country as a whole. The essay could simply be seen as a…show more content…
The essay starts out with a basic historical background of where American literature came from and how a literary work could not be labeled as American literature just because it is written by an American author. “For it does not follow because many books are written by persons born in America that there exists an American literature” (Fuller, 1846, p.17). For Fuller, it is not sufficient for an American author to write any kind of literary work and call it American literature. It is not that simple to just use British ways of writing and call it American literature just because the author is not British. The essay then swiftly proceeds to discuss the relationship between British literature, which is mostly used by authors universally, and American literature. “We use her language, and receive, in torrents, the influence of her thought, yet it is, in many respects, uncongenial and injurious to our constitution” (Fuller, 1846, p.18). Fuller is trying to show here how America is greatly influenced by Great Britain and how Americans use everything the British citizens created and use. She then proceeds to say that that does not help American but on the contrary, denies the citizens of the country to fully develop their motherland’s…show more content…
For that, Margaret Fuller adopts a simple and, at times, kind of sarcastic style to ease the complexity. She defines her ideas clearly and attempts to simplify them when too difficult. She uses everyday examples like the Magazine example, “This last is always slow death to a journal; its natural and only safe position is to lead; if, instead, it bows to the will of the multitude, it will find the ostracism of democracy far more dangerous than the worse censure of a tyranny could be” (Fuller, 1846, p.20). Here, Fuller is trying to explain how literary works are made to educate people and, in a way, lead, since the author is supposed to write what he or she believes is true. For Fuller, the journal and the writings die when they become media-driven, hence they are no longer considered good American literature if all the author things about is to make money and please his or her public. This complex idea is later followed by a simple spiritual example, “It is not half so dangerous to a man to be immured in a dungeon alone with God and his own clear conscience, as to walk the streets fearing the scrutiny of a thousand eyes, ready to veil, with anxious care, whatever may not suit the many-headed monster in its momentary mood” (Fuller, 1846, p.20). Fuller simplified her idea by
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