Sarah Margaret Fuller
American Author and Philosopher
Sometimes called "the most important woman of the nineteenth century," she is well known for her literary criticism, journalism, and america' first major feminist manifesto, Woman of the Nineteenth Century. This is an example of transcendentalist philosophy, Emersonian idealism, and some metaphysics. She clung to the idea that souls were of no sex.
By the age of 6 she could read fluently Ovid, Virgil, and Horace in Latin, and by 12 she was engulfed in Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Moliere. She loved the study of Locke's metaphysics and enjoyed Plato.
By 1933 she moved to Groton from Cambridge, Massachussets. In 1935 both her father and mother grew ill, upon her father's death she took over the household duties, and became head of the family. She also met Ralph Waldo Emerson that year, and became his devotee, as he became her teacher, mentor, and prophet.
Based in the transcendental idealism of Kant, Emersonian transcendentalism believed that the mind was not a blank slate, rather, that experience persupposed certain a priori forms which are imposed on sense data. These forms were transcendentally ideal, and necessary conditions of any experience in the natural world.
Her Woman took Kantian epistemology as its foundation. She took ideas which began in Emerson, like doctrines of self-reliance, individualism, and absolute optimism and applied them to women.
In 1836 Fuller taught school in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1839 she moved back to Boston, and was rejoined by her mother and sisters. At this time she began a weekly club dedicated to the discussion of topics like philosophy and mythology for women in the Boston area, which lasted until 1844.
In 1840 she accepted the editor-ship of Dial, the Transcendentalist quarterly from Emerson. In 1842 she gave up the editorship, and traveled extensively through the american west. In 1844 she began writing for the Tribune in NYC, where she became a major literary critic.
1846 brought Fuller to europe, where she met the Marchese d'Ossoli, Giovanni Angelo. They fell in love and were married, though the Italian revolution forced them to flee to the United States. Their ship went down an hour outside of New York harbour, killing the Ossolis and their infant son.