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Margaret Fuller

"Give me truth; cheat me by no illusion."

Margaret Fuller, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1840)

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"Man is not made for society, but society is made for man. No institution can be good which does not tend to improve the individual."

Margaret Fuller, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1840)

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"As to marriage, I think the intercourse of heart and mind may be fully enjoyed without entering into this partnership of daily life."

Margaret Fuller, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1840)

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"Beware of over-great pleasure in being popular or even beloved."

Margaret Fuller, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1840)

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"Pain has no effect but to steal some of my time."

Margaret Fuller, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1840)

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"Life is richly worth living, with its continual revelations of mighty woe, yet infinite hope; and I take it to my breast."

Margaret Fuller, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1840)

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"I am suffocated and lost when I have not the bright feeling of progression."

Margaret Fuller, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1840)

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"Beware the mediocrity that threatens middle age, its limitation of thought and interest, its dullness of fancy, its too external life, and mental thinness."

Margaret Fuller, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1840)

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"Certainly I do not wish that instead of these masters I had read baby books, written down to children, and with such ignorant dullness that they blunt the sense and corrupt the tastes of the still plastic human being. But I do wish that I had read no books at all till later -- that I had lived with toys, and played in the open air. Children should not cull the fruits of reflection and observation early, but expand in the sun, and let thoughts come to them. They should not through books antedate their actual experiences ... "

Margaret Fuller, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1840)

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"The critic is beneath the maker, but is his needed friend. The critic is not a base caviler, but the younger brother of genius. Next to invention is the power of interpreting invention; next to beauty the power of appreciating beauty. And of making others appreciate it ..."

Margaret Fuller, in The Dial (1840)

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"The critic ... should be not merely a poet, not merely a philosopher, not merely an observer, but tempered of all three."

Margaret Fuller, in The Dial (1840)

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"... there is such a rebound from parental influence that it generally seems that the child makes use of the directions given by the parent only to avoid the prescribed path."

Margaret Fuller, in The Dial (1841)

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"The mind is not, I know, a highway, but a temple, and its doors should not be carelessly left open."

Margaret Fuller, Summer on the Lakes (1844)

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" ... better to be wounded, a captive, and a slave, than always to walk in armor. "

Margaret Fuller, Summer on the Lakes (1844)

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"The character and history of each child may be a new and poetic experience to the parent, if he will let it."

Margaret Fuller, Summer on the Lakes (1844)

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"... men, for the sake of getting a living, forget to live."

Margaret Fuller, Summer on the Lakes (1844)

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" No temple can still the personal griefs and strifes in the breasts of its visitors. "

Margaret Fuller, Summer on the Lakes (1844)

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"Let me stand in my age with all its waters flowing round me. If they sometimes subdue, they must finally upbear me, for I seek the universal, -- and that must be the best."

Margaret Fuller, Summer on the Lakes (1844)

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"The Arabian horse will not plough well, nor can the plough-horse be rode to play the jereed."

Margaret Fuller, Summer on the Lakes (1844)

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"Only the dreamer shall understand realities, though, in truth, his dreaming must be not out of proportion to his waking!"

Margaret Fuller, Summer on the Lakes (1844)

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"Every fact is impure, but every fact contains in it the juices of life. Every fact is a clod, from which may grow an amaranth or a palm. "

Margaret Fuller, Summer on the Lakes (1844)

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"Our desires, once realized, haunt us again less readily."

Margaret Fuller, Summer on the Lakes (1844)

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"To one who has enjoyed the full life of any scene, of any hour, what thoughts can be recorded about it seem like the commas and semicolons in the paragraph, -- mere stops."

Margaret Fuller, Summer on the Lakes (1844)

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"Everywhere the fatal spirit of imitation, of reference to European standards, penetrates and threatens to blight whatever of original growth might adorn the soil."

Margaret Fuller, Summer on the Lakes (1844)

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"Wine is earth's answer to the sun."

Margaret Fuller, in Lydia Marie Child, Letters from New York, 2nd series (1845)

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"We would have every arbitrary barrier thrown down. We would have every path laid open to woman as freely as to man. If you ask me what offices they may fill; I will reply -- any. I do not care what case you put; let them be sea-captains if you will."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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"Not one man, in the million, shall I say? no, not in the hundred million, can rise above the belief that woman was made for man ... "

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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"I stand in the sunny noon of life. Objects no longer glitter in the dews of morning, neither are yet softened by the shadows of evening. Every spot is seen, every chasm revealed."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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" The especial genius of women I believe to be electrical in movement, intuitive in function, spiritual in tendency."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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"Drudgery is as necessary to call out the treasures of the mind as harrowing and planting those of the earth."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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"While any one is base, none can be entirely free and noble."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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"A house is no home unless it contain food and fire for the mind as well as for the body."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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"Two persons love in one another the future good which they aid one another to unfold."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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"Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But, in fact, they are perpetually passing into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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" If any individual live too much in relations, so that he becomes a stranger to the resources of his own nature, he falls, after a while, into a distraction, or imbecility, from which he can only be cured by a time of isolation, which gives the renovating fountains time to rise up."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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"Union is only possible to those who are units. To be fit for relations in time, souls, whether of man or woman, must be able to do without them in the spirit."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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"For human beings are not so constituted that they can live without expansion. If they do not get it one way, they must another, or perish."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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"Tremble not before the free man, but before the slave who has chains to break."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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"Harmony exists in difference, no less than in likeness, if only the same key-note govern both parts."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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"Nature provides exceptions to every rule."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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"... the Power who gave a power, by its mere existence, signifies that it must be brought out towards perfection."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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"The highest ideal man can form of his own powers, is that which he is destined to attain. Whatever the soul knows how to seek, it cannot fail to obtain. This is the law and the prophets. Knock and it shall be opened, seek and ye shall find. It is demonstrated; it is a maxim."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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"These were American ladies, i.e., they were of that class who have wealth and leisure to make full use of the day, and confer benefits on others."

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

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"I am tired of keeping myself up in the water without corks, and without strength to swim. I should like to go to sleep, and be born again."

Margaret Fuller, letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson (1847)

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"If anything can be invented more excruciating than an English Opera, such as was the fashion at the time I was in London, I am sure no sin of mine deserves the punishment of bearing it."

Margaret Fuller, in New-York Daily Tribune (1847)

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"Always Art is Art, only by presenting an adequate outward symbol of some fact in the interior life."

Margaret Fuller, in New-York Daily Tribune (1847)

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"A great work of Art demands a great thought or a thought of beauty adequately expressed. -- Neither in Art nor Literature more than in Life can an ordinary thought be made interesting because well-dressed."

Margaret Fuller, in New-York Daily Tribune (1847)

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"Who can ever be alone for a moment in Italy? Every stone has a voice, every grain of dust seems instinct with spirit from the Past, every step recalls some line, some legend of long-neglected lore."

Margaret Fuller, in New-York Daily Tribune (1847)

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"How anyone can remain a Catholic -- I mean who has ever been aroused to think, and is not biased by the partialities of childish years -- after seeing Catholicism here in Italy I cannot conceive."

Margaret Fuller, in New-York Daily Tribune (1848)

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"Rome so beautiful, so great; her presence stupifies, and one has to withdraw to prize the treasures she has given. City of the Soul! yes, it is that; the very dust magnetizes you, and thousand spells have been chaining you in every careless, every murmuring moment."

Margaret Fuller, in New-York Daily Tribune (1848)

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"... you cannot know thoroughly know anything till you have both summered and wintered it ... "

Margaret Fuller, in New-York Daily Tribune (1848)

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"I myself am more divine than any I see."

Margaret Fuller, letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson (1838)

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"Genius will live and thrive without training, but it does not the less reward the watering-pot and pruning knife."

Margaret Fuller, in Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1884)

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"I feel within myself an immense power, but I cannot bring it out. I stand a barren vine-stalk; no grape will swell, though the richest wine is slumbering in its roots."

Margaret Fuller, in Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1884)

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"For precocity some great price is always demanded sooner or later in life."

Margaret Fuller, in Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1884)

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"It is so true that a woman may be in love with a woman, and a man with a man. It is pleasant to be sure of it, because it is undoubtedly the same love that we shall feel when we are angels ... "

Margaret Fuller, in Mason Wade, Margaret Fuller, Whetstone of Genius (1940)

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"O what can be so forlorn in its forlorn parts as this traveling? the ceaseless packing and unpacking, the heartless, uncongenial intercourses, the cheerless hotel, the many hours when you are too tired and your feelings too much dissipated to settle to any pursuit, yet you either have nothing to look at or are weary of looking."

Margaret Fuller, letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson (1843), in Perry Miller, ed., Margaret Fuller: American Romantic (1963)

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"I accept the universe!"

Margaret Fuller, to Thomas Carlyle (1846), in Perry Miller, ed., Margaret Fuller: American Romantic (1963)

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"What a difference it makes to come home to a child!"

Margaret Fuller, letter (1849), in Alice Rossi, ed., The Feminist Papers (1973)

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"Preparations are good in life, prologues ruinous."

Margaret Fuller, 1830, in Robert N. Hudspeth, ed., The Letters of Margaret Fuller, vol. 1 (1983)

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"Perhaps it is a weakness to confide to you embryo designs, which never may glow into life, or mock me by their failure."

Margaret Fuller, 1835, in Robert N. Hudspeth, ed., The Letters of Margaret Fuller, vol. 1 (1983)

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"The effect of continued prosperity is the same on nations as on individuals, -- it leaves the nobler faculties undeveloped. The need of bringing out the physical resources of a vast extent of country the commercial and political fever incident to our institutions, tend to fix the eyes of men on what is local and temporary, on the external advantages of their condition. The superficial diffusion of knowledge, unless attended by a correspondent deepening of its sources, is likely to vulgarize rather than to raise the thought of a nation, depriving them of another sort of education through sentiments of reverence, and leading the multitude to believe themselves capable of judging what they but dimly discern. They see a wide surface, and forget the difference between seeing and knowing. ... In a word, the tendency of circumstances has been to make our people superficial, irreverent, and more anxious to get a living than to live mentally and morally."

Margaret Fuller, 1840, in Robert N. Hudspeth, ed., The Letters of Margaret Fuller, vol. 2 (1983)

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"New minds have come to reveal themselves to me, though I do not wish it, for I feel myself inadequate to the ties already formed. I have not strength or time to do anything as I would, or meet the thoughts of those I love already. But these new have come with gifts too fair to be refused and which have cheered my passive mind."

Margaret Fuller, 1842, in Robert N. Hudspeth, ed., The Letters of Margaret Fuller, vol. 3 (1984)

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"Artists are always young."

Margaret Fuller, 1842, in Robert N. Hudspeth, ed., The Letters of Margaret Fuller, vol. 3 (1984)

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"Some degree of expression is necessary for growth, but it should be little in proportion to the full life."

Margaret Fuller, 1843, in Robert N. Hudspeth, ed., The Letters of Margaret Fuller, vol. 3 (1984)

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"The persons whom you have idolized can never, in the end, be ungrateful, and, probably, at the time of retreat they still do justice to your heart. But, so long as you must draw persons too near you, a temporary recoil is sure to follow. It is the character striving to defend itself from a heating and suffocating action upon it."

Margaret Fuller, 1844, in Robert N. Hudspeth, ed., The Letters of Margaret Fuller, vol. 3 (1984)

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" Truth is the first of jewels."

Margaret Fuller, 1845, in Robert N. Hudspeth, ed., The Letters of Margaret Fuller, vol. 4 (1987)

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"O, were life but longer, and my strength greater! Ever I am bewildered by the riches of existence, had I but more time to open the oysters, and get out the pearls. Yet some are mine, if only for a necklace or rosary."

Margaret Fuller, 1846, in Robert N. Hudspeth, ed., The Letters of Margaret Fuller, vol. 4 (1987)

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"Those have not lived who have not seen Rome. "

Margaret Fuller, 1848, in Robert N. Hudspeth, ed., The Letters of Margaret Fuller, vol. 5 (1988)

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"Spirits that have once been sincerely united and tended together a sacred flame, never become entirely stranger to one another's life."

Margaret Fuller, 1849, in Robert N. Hudspeth, ed., The Letters of Margaret Fuller, vol. 5 (1988)

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"The life of the soul is incalculable."

Margaret Fuller, 1849, in Robert N. Hudspeth, ed., The Letters of Margaret Fuller, vol. 5 (1988)

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"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it."

Margaret Fuller

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"This was one of the rye-bread days, all dull and damp without."

Margaret Fuller

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Margaret Fuller, U.S. writer, journalist, poet, critic
(1810 - 1850)

Full name: Sarah Margaret Fuller, Marchesa d’Ossoli