By Susan Cheever
those striking women and men have been so improbably focused in placid harmony, Massachusetts, that Henry James pointed out the city because the "biggest little position in America." one of the host of luminaries who floated out and in of Concord's "American Bloomsbury" as satellites of the venerable mind and prodigious fortune of Ralph Waldo Emerson have been Henry David Thoreau -- perpetual moment to his mentor in either love and occupation; Louisa may possibly Alcott -- dreamy lady and bold spinster; Nathaniel Hawthorne -- dilettante and cad; and Margaret Fuller -- glamorous editor and international correspondent.
maybe necessarily, given the smallness of where and the idiosyncrasies of its citizens, the participants of the distinguished circle turned either intellectually and romantically entangled: Thoreau serenaded an infatuated Louisa on his flute. Vying with Hawthorne for Fuller's recognition, Emerson wrote the fiery feminist love letters whereas she resided (yards clear of his spouse) in his visitor room. Herman Melville used to be, in keeping with a few, eventually pushed mad through his eating and unrequited affection for Hawthorne.
faraway from regularly Victorian, this staff of intellectuals, like their British Bloomsbury opposite numbers to whom the identify refers, not just wondered confirmed literary types, but additionally resisted previous ethical and social strictures. Thoreau, after all, famously retreated to a plot of land on Walden Pond to flee capitalism, decide berries, and consider nature. extra stunning was once the group's ambivalence towards the establishment of marriage. prone to bend the foundations of its bonds, lots of its contributors hung out on the infamous commune, Brook Farm, and since liberal theories couldn't solely warrantly opposed to jealousy, the stress of genuine or imagined infidelities used to be consistently close to the outside.
Susan Cheever reacquaints us with the horny, subversive part of Concord's nineteenth-century intellectuals, restoring in 3 dimensions the literary personalities whose paintings is on the center of our nationwide historical past and cultural identity.
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American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work by Susan Cheever