Award Date

5-1-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Committee Member

Stephen Brown

Second Committee Member

Gary Totten

Third Committee Member

Denise Tillery

Fourth Committee Member

Emma F. Bloomfield

Number of Pages

68

Abstract

Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) was perhaps the most famous American woman during the nineteenth century. After her tragic death, reprints of her best-selling books were heavily edited and she was nearly forgotten. During and after her lifetime, Fuller fell victim to the phenomenological alterity identified and defined by theorists including Derrida and Edward Said as Othering. She spent her career combating Othering in all its forms. Through the lens of both social identity theory and multiple identity theory this study examines how Fuller grappled with social prescriptions. As an autodidact, she mined diverse literary resources to construct heterogeneous texts that cultivate a multi-ethnic, transclass, transgender, and transnational sensibility to the environment and its people through her visionary “Leila” and her amalgamated Summer on the Lakes. Fuller was a forerunner of social reform, heralding ideas that other activists, like W.E.B. DuBois, later championed and for which they are remembered while Fuller has been essentially erased. Fuller wrote on the vanguard of form and genre hybridization and championed inclusivity long before it was politically correct. This research proves that Fuller’s eclectic form models feminist rhetorical strategies that engage the whole community and serve as an ideal nearly two centuries later. Bicycles and cycling provide a metaphorical framework in considering how Fuller’s writing may influence modern ideologies to create social change.

Keywords

Environmental rhetoric; Feminist rhetoric; Invitational rhetoric; Margaret Fuller; Nineteenth century literature; Phenomenology

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities | Environmental Sciences | Rhetoric

Language

English

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