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Humanities 2019, 8(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010031

“‘The Mighty Meaning of the Scene’” Feminine Landscapes and the Future of America in Margaret Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes, in 1843

Department of English, Worcester State University, 486 Chandler Street, Worcester, MA 01602, USA
Received: 7 January 2019 / Revised: 14 February 2019 / Accepted: 16 February 2019 / Published: 20 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Negotiating Spaces in Women’s Writing)
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Abstract

Like many of her contemporaries, Margaret Fuller had great hopes for the West. The Western lands, open for America’s future, held the promise of what America could become. In Summer on the Lakes, Fuller sketches what she hopes America will become. Using the landscape aesthetics of her age, such as the work of Andrew Jackson Downing and the Hudson River School of landscape painting, Fuller describes the ideal landscape as one that is more feminine and nurturing, one in which humankind lives in harmony with nature. Fuller’s landscape descriptions both point to a better future for America and critique the values of her contemporaries. Fuller contrasts America’s more male vision of conquest of the land with her feminine ideal of harmony with nature—a cultivated garden—to show what America’s future should be, as it builds westward. View Full-Text
Keywords: Antebellum American Literature; Margaret Fuller; Hudson River School; Andrew Jackson Downing; landscape; travel writing Antebellum American Literature; Margaret Fuller; Hudson River School; Andrew Jackson Downing; landscape; travel writing
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Healey, K. “‘The Mighty Meaning of the Scene’” Feminine Landscapes and the Future of America in Margaret Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes, in 1843. Humanities 2019, 8, 31.

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