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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User Review  - whitewavedarling - LibraryThing

I'm afraid I grew rather tired of this. I might have enjoyed it in small doses since much of the writing is worthwhile and graceful, but as a single work read in consecutive pieces, it just grows ... Read full review

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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 119 - She sees him vanish into night, She starts from sleep in deep affright, For it was not her own true knight. Though but in dream Gunhilda failed. Though but a fancied ill assailed, Though she but fancied fault bewailed, — Yet thought of day makes dream of night: She is not worthy of the knight, The inmost altar burns not bright. If loneliness thou canst not bear, Cannot the dragon's venom dare, Of the pure meed thou shouldst despair. Now sadder that lone maiden sighs, Far bitterer tears profane...
Page 38 - The Indian cannot be looked at truly except by a poetic eye." "McKenney's Tour to the Lakes gives some facts not to be met with elsewhere." "There is that mixture of culture and rudeness in the aspect of things as gives a feeling of freedom," etc., etc., etc. These are merely a few, a very few instances, taken at random from among a multitude of wilful murders committed by Miss Fuller on the American of President Polk. She uses, too, the word "ignore...
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...
Page 209 - He underwent a great deal without showing any concern; his countenance and behavior were as if he suffered not the least pain. He told his persecutors, with a bold voice, that he was a warrior; that he had gained most of his martial reputation at the expense of their nation, and was desirous of showing them, in the act of dying, that he was still as much their superior...
Page 4 - ... soul are roused by a double vibration. This is some effect of the wind, causing echoes to the thundering anthem. It is very sublime, giving the effect of a spiritual repetition through all the spheres. When I first came, I felt nothing but a quiet satisfaction. I found that drawings, the panorama, &c. had given me a clear notion of the position and proportions of all objects here ; I knew where to look for everything, and everything looked as I thought it would. Long ago, I was looking from a...
Page 131 - ... work is done through all, if not by every one. Free Hope. Thou art greatly wise, my friend, and ever respected by me, yet I find not in your theory or your scope room enough for the lyric inspirations or the mysterious whispers of life. To me it seems that it is madder never to abandon one's self, than often to be infatuated ; better to be wounded, a captive, and a slave, than always to walk in armor.

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