Margaret Fuller in Romenby E. Christian KopffnWhat is the greatest lost work of ancient literature? Wasnit Arctinus’ epic Aethiopis, which told of the battles ofnAchilles against Penthesilea, the Amazon Queen, and Memnon,nblack King of the Ethiopians? Was it Ovid’s tragedynMedea, or Livy’s account of the Civil Wars that ended thenRoman Republic? In American literature I do not supposenthere is much competition with The History of the RomannRepubUc of 1848-49 by S. Margaret Fuller, alias Marchionessnd’Ossoli.nIn her day—she lived from 1810 to 1850—Margaret Fullernwas one of the best known intellectuals in America. Her father,nMassachusetts Democrat Timothy Fuller, gave his eldestnchild a man’s education: Latin, some Greek, much German,nFrench, and Italian. He was a demanding teacher whosenlessons left her with terrifying nightmares. She grew upnlearned, witty, and physically plain. When she was 25 her fatherngave up his successful political career to write history.nHe promptly died of cholera and left the family for her tonsupport. She was up to the challenge. Her famous “Conversations”nattracted Bostonian ladies of culture to the Peabodynsisters’ bookstore, where they paid twenty dollars a head tonhear Margaret lecture on subjects from Goethe to Greeknmythology. Afterwards they would browse through the bookstorenlooking for books she had mentioned, including her ownntranslation of Eckermann’s Conversations with Goethe. ThenE. Christian Kopff is a professor of Creek and Latin at thenUniversity of Colorado in Boulder.n20/CHRONICLESn”Oh Rome! my country! city of the soul!nThe orphans of the heart must turn to thee!”n—Lord Byron, Child Harold’s PilgrimagennnConversation on Greek mythology was so popular she wasnpersuaded to repeat it for men.nIn 1840 she became the first editor of the Transcendentalists’nshort-lived journal The Dial, for which she wrote her famousnfeminist essay “The Great Lawsuit: Man vs. Men, Womannvs. Women.” She expanded the essay into a best-sellingnbook. Woman in the J^ineteenth Century (1845). Horace Greeleynlured her from Boston to write social and literary criticismnfor his New York Daily Tribune. She mingled articles on poverty,nprostitution, and women’s rights with praise of Emerson,nHawthorne, and Poe and condemnation of James Russell Lowellnand Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Today these assessmentsnare standard, but then her comments on Longfellowncreated a sensation.nHer emotional life was equally unconventional. In 1840nshe lived for a while at Emerson’s home. (A strange mannnamed Henry David Thoreau was staying there, too.) Emersonnand Fuller were so aroused by each other that they couldnnot converse, but retired to their respective bedrooms to pennimpassioned letters back and forth. In New York she lived atnHorace Greeley’s house. They were close, though not romanticallyninvolved. She fell in love with a footloose immigrant,nJames Nathan, who, when they broke up, refused to returnnher love letters without suitable financial remuneration,nwhich Margaret refused to pay—or could not.nAt 35 she talked Greeley into financing a trip to Europe innreturn for 15 long articles for the Tribune. Woman in the NineteenthnCentury had made her a celebrity in England, and shen