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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

American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work - 06 edition

ISBN13: 978-0743264624

Cover of American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work 06 (ISBN 978-0743264624)
ISBN13: 978-0743264624
ISBN10: 0743264622
Cover type: Paperback
Edition/Copyright: 06
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Published: 2006
International: No

List price: $15.99

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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 - 06 edition

ISBN13: 978-0743264624

Susan Cheever

ISBN13: 978-0743264624
ISBN10: 0743264622
Cover type: Paperback
Edition/Copyright: 06
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Published: 2006
International: No
Summary

Even the most devoted readers of nineteenth-century American literature often assume that the men and women behind the masterpieces were as dull and staid as the era's static daguerreotypes. Susan Cheever's latest work, however, brings new life to the well-known literary personages who produced such cherished works as The Scarlet Letter, Moby-Dick, Walden, and Little Women. Rendering in full color the tumultuous, often scandalous lives of these volatile and vulnerable geniuses, Cheever's dynamic narrative reminds us that, while these literary heroes now seem secure of their spots in the canon, they were once considered avant-garde, bohemian types, at odds with the establishment.

These remarkable men and women were so improbably concentrated in placid Concord, Massachusetts, that Henry James referred to the town as the "biggest little place in America." Among the host of luminaries who floated in and out of Concord's "American Bloomsbury" as satellites of the venerable intellect and prodigious fortune of Ralph Waldo Emerson were Henry David Thoreau -- perpetual second to his mentor in both love and career; Louisa May Alcott -- dreamy girl and ambitious spinster; Nathaniel Hawthorne -- dilettante and cad; and Margaret Fuller -- glamorous editor and foreign correspondent.

Perhaps inevitably, given the smallness of the place and the idiosyncrasies of its residents, the members of the prestigious circle became both intellectually and romantically entangled: Thoreau serenaded an infatuated Louisa on his flute. Vying with Hawthorne for Fuller's attention, Emerson wrote the fiery feminist love letters while she resided (yards away from his wife) in his guest room. Herman Melville was, according to some, ultimately driven mad by his consuming and unrequited affection for Hawthorne.

Far from typically Victorian, this group of intellectuals, like their British Bloomsbury counterparts to whom the title refers, not only questioned established literary forms, but also resisted old moral and social strictures. Thoreau, of course, famously retreated to a plot of land on Walden Pond to escape capitalism, pick berries, and ponder nature. More shocking was the group's ambivalence toward the institution of marriage. Inclined to bend the rules of its bonds, many of its members spent time at the notorious commune, Brook Farm, and because liberal theories could not entirely guarantee against jealousy, the tension of real or imagined infidelities was always near the surface.

Susan Cheever reacquaints us with the sexy, subversive side of Concord's nineteenth-century intellectuals, restoring in three dimensions the literary personalities whose work is at the heart of our national history and cultural identity.

Table of Contents

A Note to the Reader
Preface

Part One
1 Concord, Massachusetts
2 The Alcotts Arrive for the First Time
3 Louisa, Girl Interrupted
4 Louisa in Love...Henry David Thoreau
5Sic Vita
6 Two Loves
7 Ellen Sewall
8 Money
9 Emerson Pays for Everything
10 Two Deaths
11 The Curse of Salem
12 Hawthorne Emerges
13 The Execution
14 Another Triangle

Part Two
15 Bronson Alcott, Peddler Turned Pedant
16 Fruitlands
17 Sex
18 Thoreau Goes to New York City
19 Wall of Fire
20 Walden Pond
21 Margaret Fuller, the Sexy Muse
22 Rome
23 The Margaret Ghost
24 Hawthorne Leaves Salem Forever
25 Stockbridge
26 Melville
27 The Railroad
28 Community
29 Without Margaret

Part Three
30 Louisa May Alcott Returns
31 Louisa in Boston

32 Concord Again
33 Walden,Walden
34 Thoreau Now
35 Leaving Walden
36 The Birth and Death of Margaret Fuller
37 Shipwreck
38 The Hawthornes' Return to Concord
39 President Frank
40 Bayonets and Bullets
41 Local Martyr

Part Four
42 The Death of Thoreau
43 Louisa in Washington, D.C.
44 Return and Illness
45 Hawthorne Leaves Concord
46 Death
47Little Women
48 Emerson and the Fire Concord, Today

Chronology
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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