Overview Plenary Sessions Scholarly-Papers Workshops Performances Exhibits Sunday Service Biographic Info Acknowledgment Unitarian Universalist History & Heritage Society  UU History & Heritage Convocation 2010 Proceedings UUHHS
PERFORMANCE “Margaret Fuller”   by Michael Barnett Brief Description: My 17 stanza, 72-line ode to Margaret Fuller celebrates the life and work of this courageous and powerful woman who moved beyond herself intellectually to embrace life fully in New York and Europe.  She moved into the dark places of America and Europe to evolve herself and affect her American readers to initiate social reforms. Margaret Fuller (1810 -1850) was considered the most brilliant woman of her time. Only Edgar Allan Poe matched her as an outstanding literary critic in 1840s America. Margaret was a leading Transcendentalist with her colleagues Emerson and Thoreau and became the first woman social and literary critic and foreign correspondent for Horace Greeley's New York Tribunefrom 1844 to 1850. Through her insightful and provocative writing for women's rights, social justice, and democracy, Margaret grew and educated her American readers. To honor this extraordinary woman during her Bicentennial, poet Michael Barnett will share his ode at Convocation. I would like to share my ode to Margaret Fuller at this Convocation because the UUA and our nation are celebrating the Bicentennial of this unique and creative Unitarian. Margaret was educated by her father with a first-born son's classical education. To offset the headaches and nightmares produced by such a rigorous regimen, Margaret found solace in her mother's flower garden. Throughout her life, Margaret struggled to create a balance between her masculine and feminine aspects. She felt comfort with the emerging philosophy of Transcendentalism, which acknowledged the importance of the intuition beyond the five senses. Because she was privileged to be educated like a male, Margaret felt it was her duty to create lectures called "Conversations" for women to empower them. She was treated as an equal with the men in the Transcendental Club, which was exceptional for the time. Invited to co-edit the Transcendental Dial , Margaret wrote and edited thoughtful articles and essays. After her visit to the upper mid-West, Margaret wrote her travelogue, Summer on the Lakes, which publisher Horace Greeley savored. Greeley hired her as the first woman social and literary critic for his progressive newspaper. Margaret exposed the horrific conditions in New York hospitals and prisons, vehemently railed against the second-class status of women, African Americans, and Native Americans, and revealed the poverty and class created by the Industrial Revolution. She encouraged her American readers to undertake social reforms for true democracy in America. Invited by her friends, the Springs, to take the Grand Tour of Europe in 1846, Margaret negotiated a contract with Greeley to write news dispatches from her journey. She became the first woman foreign and war correspondent. In Italy, she found love, her home, and passion for the Roman Revolution. Margaret married Count Ossoli, gave birth to their son, and worked as a revolutionary for the people's democracy. As catholic France bombed Rome and destroyed the Revolution, Margaret wrote her last dispatch. She was disgusted by the terrible loss of life and property. Returning to America in July 1850, Margaret perished with her husband and son in a shipwreck off Fire Island, New York. Margaret's eyewitness History of the Roman Revolution was lost at sea with them. My 17 stanza, 72-line ode to Margaret Fuller celebrates the life and work of this courageous and powerful woman who moved beyond herself intellectually to embrace life fully in New York and Europe.  She moved into the dark places of America and Europe to evolve herself and affect her American readers to initiate social reforms. For Margaret Fuller by Michael Barnett        Trepidation, triumph, movement through the frenzy of preoccupation: Latin, Greek, the classics Headaches and traumatic nightmares, pushed to the limits by her father's expectations: Could she survive? Encounters with the sublime and divine natures of humanity Forested in green, magically transported in her mother's Massachusetts garden where she danced with the flowers easing her pain Margaret Fuller meditated and pursued her soul through Nature, she inspired women through her Conversations to become more than mothers and wives As part of the Transcendental Club, she sensed something beyond the five senses which was intuitive and holy She abandoned and renewed old dreams, stretching herself to reach greater heights, Insights in reflection through exceptional literary criticism, only Poe matched her in America, she was considered the most brilliant woman of her time Leaving her friends and doubts behind, she aligned herself with new passions and personalities in New York and Europe Heartache drenched her mind as she catapulted toward Europe, meeting Mazzini, George Sand, and Chopin She called upon Americans to unite for their own democracy and freedom as she fought for the people's power in Italy She praised the conciliatory efforts of Pope Pius XI and Mazzini to unite Italians as the winds of change forged her revolutionary activism and motherhood Passionate for freedom, sensitive to the needs of those suffering, she grew beyond Transcendentalism to evolve herself Hopeful to achieve her fulfillment as a woman and writer,       Margaret married Count Ossoli in Rome, wrestled with Europe's fate, and wrote her history of the       Roman Revolution In Italy Margaret felt that she had finally arrived home, her son, Angelino, was born Alas! a dreaded woe became victorious, leading her away from her heart's reign: the Roman cause was destroyed Never crushed, she drowned with her despair near Fire Island, commemorated for her noble mind and deeds, mourned by millions, Thoreau, and Emerson. ©  2010  Michael Barnett