Start Submission

Reading: Margaret Fuller's Archive: Absence, Erasure and Critical Work


A- A+
Alt. Display

The Craft of the Archive

Margaret Fuller's Archive: Absence, Erasure and Critical Work


Sonia Di Loreto

Università di Torino, IT
X close


All archival work is linked to questions of loss, death, and the after-life of papers and objects. In the specific case of the Margaret Fuller archive, the generative force behind the gathering of materials, and the construction of a repository, reside in the void left by the “ghost manuscript”, her last work on the 1840s European Revolutions that was never recovered or found. As a reflection on the origins of the archive, this essay looks at the way different instantiations of the Fuller archive have been imagined, created, and fostered over the years. The first archival model is H. D. Thoreau’s inclusive assemblage of organic material, where objects and belongings try to find a new, impermanent life. Soon after her death, in the Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, R.W. Emerson applied a normative, public and nationalistic model. What seems at present a viable and more accurate and useful option for the Margaret Fuller archive, is a more fluid idea of the archive as a palimpsest, that returns some objects and papers to their cosmopolitan, organic and productive life, and that can be realized through a digital humanities project.
How to Cite: Di Loreto, S., 2019. Margaret Fuller's Archive: Absence, Erasure and Critical Work. 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, 2019(28), p.None. DOI:
Published on 19 Jun 2019.
Peer Reviewed


comments powered by Disqus