Fuller, S. Margaret
- Ora Frishberg Saloman
(b Cambridgeport, MA, May 23, 1810; d off Fire Island, NY, July 19, 1850). American author, translator, editor, journalist, and literary critic. After leading Boston “Conversations” primarily for women on literature, fine arts, and mythology, Fuller edited the Transcendentalist journal the Dial (1840–44) in its initial two years. She became the first literary critic of the New-York Tribune (1844–6). Transmitting an aesthetic appreciation of diverse styles in seven contributions on music to the Dial and at least twenty-nine to the Tribune, Fuller expressed pleasure in African and Chinese melodies, German and Italian opera, and symphonies as well as solo instrumental pieces. Fuller encouraged readers to broaden their musical interests. She preferred a universal, rather than a subjective, tone: although admiring Ole Bull’s programmatic pieces composed in America, she praised highly works such as Beethoven’s symphonies.
Fuller’s essay “Lives of the Great Composers, Haydn, Mozart, Handel, Bach, Beethoven” is one of the earliest original American writings to consider biographies of European musicians. Judging J.N. Forkel’s biography of J.S. Bach to be the best, she recommended its publication in an American edition. To improve concert practices in the 1840s, she suggested that the movements of symphonies be performed without interruption and that ticket prices remain reasonable for inclusive access. Fuller fostered respect in America for creative and performing musicians.
- Conversations with Goethe in the Last Years of His Life (Boston, 1839) [trans. of J.P. Eckermann: Gespräche mit Goethe in den letzten Jahres seines Lebens, i–ii, Leipzig, 1836]
- ed., with R.W. Emerson: The Dial: A Magazine for Literature, Philosophy and Religion (Boston, 1840–44, 1961)
- Papers on Literature and Art (London, 1846, 1972)
- ed. J.M. Bean and J. Myerson: Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New-York Tribune, 1844–1846 (New York, 2000) [with CD-ROM]
- O.F. Saloman: “Margaret Fuller on Musical Life in Boston and New York, 1841–1846,” American Music, 6/4 (1988), 428–41; rev. in O. F. Saloman, Listening Well (New York, 2009), 137
- O.F. Saloman: “American Writers on Beethoven, 1838–1849: Dwight, Fuller, Cranch, Story,” American Music, 8/1 (1990), 12–28; rev. in O. F. Saloman, Listening Well (New York, 2009), 151
- O.F. Saloman: “Margaret Fuller on Beethoven in America, 1839–1846,” JM, 10 (1992), 89–105