Amy Milsovic

English 341

Final Paper Proposal

Friday, April 10, 1998

Box 1187

 

Margaret Fuller's intellectual contributions to the American literary establishment unquestionably reflects historical elements associated with a feminist conceptulaization. The era in which Fuller came of age as an intellectual may be contextualized in an analysis of her works. In my final paper, I would like to apply the methodology of historical crtiticism, in order to evaluate Fuller's conceptualization of gender within her role as a literary intellectual, in the historical context of antebellum America, the Transcendental movement, and the ideology of American romaniticism. The primary text I wish to consider is an article which appeared in the Dial , a Transcedentalist journal, in July, 1843: Woman in the Nineteenth Century.

While historical criticism, or new historticism has inspired a plethora of backlash from historians, social scientists, and literary critics, the process of placing Margaret Fuller's gender conceptualiation, as it is conveyed in Woman in the Nineteenth Century within a historical context is essential to the historicization of the gender construct. Literary deconstructive techniques provide a methodology in order to access the contradictions and tension present within Fuller's gender conceptualization and perception of intellectual roles. However, such techiniques are not relflective of an adequate historical analysis, in that the assumption of some degree of universality and application of a framework which is contigent upon a methodology contextualized to the present seems to produce an anlaysis which is reflective of an intrinsic bias.

As with any historical analysis, the material one chooses to include determines the implications of the methodology. The historical period relevant in an analyis of Fuller's Woman in the Nineteenth Century is characteristic of a number of historical transitions which could be assessed in terms of the new historicism. In my paper, I anticipate primarily utlizing biographical information in order to situate Fuller within the context of such transitions. I am hoping that this type of methodology will foster a discussion of both Fuller's gender conceptualialition and the societal norms providing inspiration to Margaret Fuller's work. By limiting my focus to biographical information, I anticipate avoiding many of the critiisms associated with this type of literary analysis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working Bibliography

 

Bercovitch, Sacvan. "Hawthorne's A-Morality of Compromise" in The Scarlet Letter.

Nathaniel Hawthorne. Boston: Bedford Books of St Martin's Press, 1991.

 

Capper, Charles. Margaret Fuller: An American Romantic Life- The Private Years.

New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

 

Ellison, Julie. Delicate Subjects: Romanticism, Gender, and the Ethics of Understanding.

Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990.

 

Murfin, Ross. "What is New Historicism?" in The Scarlet Letter.

Nathaniel Hawthorne. Boston: Bedford Books of St Martin's Press, 1991.

 

 

Steele, Jeffrey, ed. The Essential Maragert Fuller. New Brunswick: Rutgers University

Press, 1992.