help -Use the "small" and "large" buttons to change the viewing resolution.

-Use the buttons marked with curved arrows to rotate the image 90 degrees clockwise or counter-clockwise.

-To navigate the sequence of images for an item that is comprised of more than one page, click on the numbers at the top left, below the item title. When viewing the small image, you can also use the arrow buttons to the left or right of the image to advance through the sequence.

-To view the transcription with line breaks that match the original document, click the "show line breaks" button.
|

Letter from Margaret Fuller to James Freeman Clarke, 19 April 1836

(Ky. letters. No.28)

Groton 19th April 1836

Dear Friend,

Your letter imparted to me a pure satisfaction: the
heart seemed to speak in it without reserve- Sometimes
it seems as if you had a feeling of pride which stood
between you and me, or some other feeling!- ‘Tis but
a film- yet sufficient to prevent you from radiating
much heat upon my earth-bound state.
Who is the imaginative love. Give name and date!-
I am shocked to perceive you think I am writing
the life of Goethe- No! indeed! I shall need a great
deal of preparation before I can have it clear in
my head.- I have taken a great many notes but I
shall not begin to write it till it all lies mapped
out before me. I have no materials for ten years of
his life- from the time he went to Weimar up to the
Italn. journey- Besides! I wish to see the books
that have been written about him in Germany by
friend or foe- I wish to look at the matter from
all sides- New lights are constantly dawning upon
me and I think it possible I shall come out far
enough from the Carlyle view perhaps from yours [illegible] perhaps
and distaste you which will trouble me.

In a brief, but seemingly, calm and authentic notice
of Goethe’s life which I met with in an English
publication the other day I find it stated that his

son was illegitimate, that he lived out of wedlock
with the mother for twenty years and only married
her on acct of the son as late as 1806- I confess
this has greatly pained and troubled me- I had no
idea that the mighty “Indifferentist” went
so far with his experimentalizing in real life.
I had not supposed he “was” all he “writ”, and have
always maintained that stories which have been told
me (as coming from Dr Follen) [parentheses in pencil around “as coming from Dr Follen”] which represented
him as a man of licentious life could not be true
because he was living at a court whose outward
morality, at least, must be pure under the auspices
of a princess like the Grand duchess Amelia.- In
the same publication many, not agreeable, hints
are thrown out respecting those very [illegible] ten years
which I know so little about.

How am I to get the information I want unless
I go to Europe- To whom should I write to choose
my materials- I have thought of Mr. Carlyle but
still more of Goethe’s friend, Von Muller- I dare
say he would be pleased at the idea of a life of
G. written in this hemisphere and be very willing
to help me. If you have any-thing to tell me you will
and not mince matters- Of course my impressions
of Goethe’s works cannot be influenced by information
I get about his life but as to this latter I suspect
I must have been hasty in my inferences- I apply

to you without scruple- These are subjects on which
gentlemen and ladies usually talk a great deal
but apart from one another- you, however, are
well aware that I am very destitute of what is
commonly called modesty. With regard to this,
[illegible] how fine is the remark of our present subject. “Courage
and modesty are virtues which every sort of
society reveres because they are virtues which
cannot be counterfeited, also they have are
known by the same hue”- When that blush
does not come naturally into my face I do not
drop a veil to make people think it is there[.]
All this may be very “unlovely”, but it is I.
As to sending the 40 vols, do not, till you know [cer-?]
tainly that I shall not go to Europe- That will
be decided the first of June and I will write
and tell you- When I wrote for the Goethe I
thought it was decided but it is not. My mind
is much harassed by anxiety and suspense- add
to this that my health has been most miserable
for two or three months back. So I do not accom-
plish much- If I thought my constitution was
really broken and that I must never again
know my natural energy of body and mind I
should be almost overcome, but the physician says
it is only the extreme cold winter acting on a
frame debilitated by a severe illness and all the painful emotion which came after and that the
summer will probably restore me.

What subjects do you wish me to write upon for
your mag. And how can I send if I do write. It seems
to me I have but little to give the West. I have left
myself no room for critiques on your writing but by and
by I will do what you desire – Would you not like
[this sentence is broken up by the placement of the address] me to wait till I have read your N. American piece.
Be assured you have heart and mind sympathy from
me- I should like to come to the West very much
perhaps, if I do not go abroad, I might for a time if I
could do something to pay my way. Perhaps you do not
know that I am to have scarce any money.- I suppose if I have

[Sideways on Page 4]

[The following lines appear as cross-writing on page 4 (see the page image).] health I can earn it as others do- I have a protegé
that I wish you could get a place for. She is a
farmer’s daughter, far from elegant or pretty
but with
a sterling
heart and
mind and
really good
education.
She knows
Latin, French
and Italian
and could
teach the
common
English
branches
and some-
thing of
Mathematics
I have

[Sideways on Page 1]

[The following lines appear as cross-writing on page 1 (see the page image).] taken some pains with her and feel a desire that her
earnest wish to go and teach at the South or West
should be gratified.- She is persuaded it would do her
good and I know enough of the misery of being baffled
and hemmed in on every side by seemingly insignificant
barriers to feel an interest in giving her a chance to try
her experiment too. She would make a good governess
or assistant- if any thing of the sort falls in your way think of her
[and?] thou lovest me.

I know you must hate these crossed
letters-

M. F.

[Sideways on Page 2]

[The following lines appear as cross-writing on page 2 (see the page image).] I have been reading, with delight, Herschell’s discourse on Nat.
Philosophy- Do you know it?

Groton Ms 25
April 19


[The address is written in the middle of page 4 of the letter]

[Address]

Revd. J. F. Clarke,
Louisville
Kentucky

Top of display