I've got some new evidence--but first, I wanted to mention that yesterday, I caught the first half of a lecture by Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, entitled "Is the Sun Conscious?" Abby wrote a poem to the stars, which addresses this issue (wrongly attributed by historians to Albert Pike), and I had half a mind to send it to him, but I felt she didn't want me to use her poetry as a sort of bludgeon to make a point. I had written to Dr. Sheldrake a couple of years ago, and he wrote back a polite "I'm too busy" response.
I just completed reading all of the asterisk-signed reviews and essays in the 1844-46 New York "Tribune" that I was able to find in the front pages of that paper, available in digitized form from the Hathi Trust. However, they have been published as a compilation by two scholars who (again) mistakenly believe that they were written by Margaret Fuller. My next task is to compare this compilation against my downloaded collection, to see if I missed any.
Two of the last essays that I read were on the ideal rich man, and a companion piece on the ideal poor man. These were, one would assume by style and topic, written by the same author. They are right down the line Mathew Franklin Whittier's style, as seen in work he did in earlier years for the New York "Constellation" and the New York "Transcript," as well as very soon after, in the summer of 1846 for the New Orleans "Daily Delta," and later on for various papers. I've shared an example recently from the "Constellation."
But look at this passage:
The editor of the "Tribune," Horace Greeley, tells us that Margaret Fuller was living as a guest of the family. He also tells us that she was accustomed to luxury. Very likely, Greeley's wife employed a housemaid, who did the laundry for all there in the home. If the laundry was sent out, it would have been Mrs. Greeley who made the arrangements. But Mathew rented a room somewhere (as he had done in years past, and would do again, when he was writing for the "Constellation," the "Transcript," the Boston "Chronotype," and other papers). He would have engaged a washerwoman.
I've already demonstrated that we have three of these star-signed pieces which are improbable or impossible for Margaret Fuller, because of a reference to growing up in a rural farmhouse--and now we have one that is highly unlikely (if not impossible) for her, because she would not have engaged a washerwoman, as a guest of the Greeley's. But neither is this writer Horace Greeley, himself, because his style is strictly meat-and-potatoes journalism. This writer is a poet and a philosopher.
There's another example where this issue comes up--Mathew has critically reviewed a pro-capital punishment book, and the defenders of that book, assuming Fuller to have written the review, chivalrously announce they won't debate with a woman. In response, Mathew sarcastically writes around it, leaving posterity a discernible clue that he was the real author--as he will do under similar circumstances regarding Ossian Dodge and "Quails," in the Boston "Weekly Museum." But I've presented that in full, in my sequel.
Now, here's the logic of the thing. There are two automatic, knee-jerk theories that people presumably resort to, in order to dismiss my work. The first is that my research is sloppy, which is to say, that I indulge in magical thinking. The second is that I am self-deluded. But what happens when I painstakingly prove one of these historical attributions? Suddenly, both of these theories have to be revisited. If I have proven that Mathew was the real author, where historians credit a famous figure, then I am neither sloppy, nor self-deluded.
If I have proven one of them--and if I am neither sloppy nor self-deluded--then logically this opens up the possibility that I was similarly correct about other seemingly ludicrous claims. Which is to say, if I have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that this was Mathew, not Fuller, who is to say that I might not be correct that his work was also falsely claimed by, or for, Charles Dickens and Edgar Allan Poe?
The only defense, then, is denial. And the most intelligent people along with ignorant people, make use of denial. One has to train oneself not to resort to it; and the only way one can build up a strong enough motivation to break this psychological addiction, is to have such a powerful dedication to the truth as to override it.
In this age, the requisite dedication to the truth is rare. One must have the courage to face that sickening feeling of one's entire world crumbling beneath one. I have faced it, myself, many times in this research. What if distinguished scholars Judith Mattson Bean and Joel Myerson, who so kindly provided me with the complete transcripts of these star-signed essays in their book, "Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New-York Tribune, 1844-1846," discovered that they had been horribly, profoundly mistaken? If I wrote to them and proved it, do you think they would graciously admit their error, and bring me triumphantly into the academic limelight, saying, "This lay scholar was right, and we were wrong"?
It's possible, but unlikely. Because it would entail such humiliation for them (and then, immediately on its heels, envy), that one could hardly expect them to do the right thing. It would be a crushing defeat for them. Joel Myerson is Professor Emeritus, Carolina Distinguished Professor of American Literature at the University of South Carolina (I am reading his bio). He is the author of many books and essays on the Transcendentalists and other mid-19th century American writers. Among his honors are research grants or fellowships from the American Philosophical society, National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial Association (and it goes on). He's the second author listed on this book. The first one, Judith Mattson Bean, appears to be the Fuller expert, with Myerson backing her up as the academic heavyweight. She is (as of the bio I'm reading) assistant vice president for academic affairs at Texas Woman's university, where she was previously a professor of English. The only contribution by the editors, is an unsigned introduction. So if Bean wrote it, then Myerson's name is on there just for credibility.
But he wouldn't look too credible, if it came out that Fuller didn't write the bulk of the reviews and essays, and, in fact, the real author was a dark horse that neither one of them had suspected. Really, I am tempted to write them...but I think that's a hornet's nest I'd prefer not to stir up, for the reasons stated.
Incidentally, there is a way I could gain these people's attention, and that is by suckering them into it with small doses. I could, for example, write by saying that "I have found evidence that not all of the asterisk-signed essays were actually written by Margaret Fuller." That might conceivably pique their interest enough--and be non-threatening enough--that they might "bite." Then, I could s-l-o-w-l-y begin introducing my evidence. If they didn't Google me, I might get quite far that way. Eventually, however, as I answered the inevitable series of challenges, I'd be forced to step over their boggle threshold. The unintended result might be that they would publish, under their own names, that portion of my results which was palatable to them, without giving me credit. And that is what I wish, in this lifetime, to avoid.
What I actually do, having a long-time commitment to honesty, is to give those public figures I approach the "whole banana," including my reincarnation claim. That's why I don't hear back, or at best, from radical thinkers like Rupert Sheldrake, I get a polite "Thank you for the e-mail but I'm too busy" letter.
This is, simply, the reward for being ahead of one's time.
I just realized that there is a CD in the back of this book--which means, I may not have to type any more of these! If I can simply transfer the digitized copies onto my computer, that will save me a ton of work.
I love academia! :-).
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
No need to start a new entry for this, but as I go through Bean and Myerson's book, I find that there is one asterisk-signed review which was definitely written by Margaret Fuller, in May of 1845. But I think this was the exception--something right down her alley, a translation of Goethe, where she had published a related translation some years earlier. Greeley, the editor, indicates in his memoirs that she only wrote when she was "in the vein," so this would be an example. Unfortunately, she saw fit to hijack Mathew's long-time pseudonym, which I would guess created some animosity. Greeley probably wouldn't have stopped it for two reasons: 1) what mattered to him was the popularity of the column, not who wrote it; and 2) he would have been wary of pissing Fuller off, because his wife was Fuller's dedicated fan. Putting his foot down would have created discord in his family, given that Fuller was living there under his roof at the insistence of his wife. Fuller would have wanted to use the asterisk signature because the column was becoming popular, and as the literary editor, she was assumed to be writing it. (You get the picture.)
Music opening this page: "Won't Get Fooled Again," by The Who,
from the album "Who's Next"