Summer on the Lakes, in 1843

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C.C. Little and James Brown, 1844 - Great Lakes - 256 pages
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Sarah Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1810-1850), better known as Margaret Fuller, was a writer, editor, translator, early feminist thinker, critic, and social reformer who was associated with the Transcendentalist movement in New England. This is her introspective account of a trip to the Great Lakes region in 1843. Organized as a series of travel episodes interspersed with literary and social commentary, the work displays a style common to the portfolios, sketch books, and commonplace books kept by educated nineteenth-century women. In addition to her own thoughts about natural landscapes and human encounters, Fuller includes stories, legends, allegorical dialogues, poems, and excerpts from the works of other authors. When she traveled to the Midwest, Fuller was exhausted by her work as editor of the Dial, the Transcendentalist journal she edited with Ralph Waldo Emerson. Accompanied during part of the journey by her friends James Clarke and Sarah Clarke, who created the book's etchings, Fuller traveled by train, steamboat, carriage, and on foot in a circle from Niagara Falls north to Mackinac Island and Sault Ste. Marie, west to Milwaukee, south to Pawpaw, Illinois, and back to Buffalo. Fuller discusses Chicago in some detail, and laments the unjust treatment of Native Americans. She comments on the difficulties of pioneer life for women and on the degradation of the region's beautiful and exhilarating natural environment. She speaks favorably about the British-American agrarian visionary, Morris Birbeck, and includes a short story about an old school friend, Mariana, who dies because her active mind cannot adapt to the restrictive codes of behavior prescribed for the era's elite women.
 

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Page 36 - No, they are all unchained again: The clouds Sweep over with their shadows, and, beneath, The surface rolls and fluctuates to the eye; Dark hollows seem to glide along and chase The sunny ridges.
Page 28 - I trust by reverent faith to woo the mighty meaning of the scene, perhaps to foresee the law by which a new order, a new poetry, is to be evoked from this chaos...
Page 103 - Artevelde," and certain passages in it will always be in my mind associated with the deep sound of the lake, as heard in the night. I used to read a short time at night, and then open the blind to look out. The moon would be full upon the lake, and the calm breath, pure light, and the deep voice, harmonized well with the thought of the Flemish hero. When will this country have such a man? It is what she needs — no thin Idealist, no coarse Realist, but a man whose eye reads the heavens while his...
Page 104 - A man religious, virtuous, and sagacious; a man of universal sympathies, but selfpossessed; a man who knows the region of emotion, though he is not its slave; a man to whom this world is no mere spectacle or fleeting shadow, but a great solemn game to be played with good heed, for its stakes are of eternal value, yet who, if his own play be true, heeds not what he loses by the falsehood of others; a man who hives from the past, yet knows that its honey can but moderately avail him; whose comprehensive...
Page 13 - Niagara which is to be seen betwixt the Lake Ontario and that of Erie." We give the commonly accepted version : " Betwixt the Lake Ontario and Erie, there is a vast and prodigious Cadence of Water, which falls down after a surprising and astonishing manner, insomuch that the Universe does not afford its parallel.
Page 6 - The truthfulness of the passages italicized will be felt by all ; the feelings described are, perhaps, experienced by every (imaginative) person who visits the fall ; but most persons, through predominant subjectiveness...
Page 218 - In which the inhabitants sit, when the weather will permit, and smoke their pipes. The streets are regular and spacious, so that it appears more like a civilized town than the abode of savages. The land near the town is very good. In their plantations, which lie adjacent to their houses, and which are neatly laid out, they raise great quantities of Indian corn, beans, melons, &c., so that this place is esteemed the best market for traders to furnish themselves with provisions, of any within eight...
Page 48 - independent" settlers' careless cheer Made us indeed feel we were " strangers " here — Is cheered by sudden sight of this fair spot, On which " improvement " yet has made no blot, But Nature all-astonished stands, to find Her plan protected by the human mind. Blest be the kindly genius of the scene ; The river, bending in unbroken grace, The stately thickets, with their pathways green, Fair, lonely trees, each in its fittest place ; Those thickets haunted by the deer and fawn ; Those cloudlike...
Page 165 - Who knows how much of old legendary lore, of modern wonder, they have already planted amid the Wisconsin forests ? Soon, their tales of the origin of things, and the Providence which rules them, will be so mingled with those of the Indian, that the very oak-tree will not know them apart, — will not know whether itself be a Runic, a Druid, or a Winnebago oak.
Page 123 - In the inner room, the master of the house was seated ; he had been sitting there long, for he had injured his foot on ship-board, and his farming had to be done by proxy. His beautiful young wife was his only attendant and nurse, as well as a farm housekeeper. How well she performed hard and unaccustomed duties, the objects of her care showed ; everything that belonged to the house was rude, but neatly arranged. The invalid, confined to an uneasy wooden chair, (they had not been able to induce any...

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