Traveling with Fuller and Thoreau Essay

Traveling with Fuller and Thoreau Essay

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Traveling with Fuller and Thoreau

The mid 1800’s was a time of continued physical exploration of the landscape of America, and an era of opportunity for an intimate inspection of the land; areas sometimes found by the traveler with the assistance of Travel Journals and maps. These detailed records, reflected a destination, and also allowed an intellectual travel of the mind. In Margaret Fuller’s, “Summer on the Lake,” and Henry David Thoreau, “Cape Cod,” we experience both their physical, and internal travels, and how each author relates, both physically and mentally, to the natural landscape; the similarities, the differences, and what elucidated each, to seek their journeys. The observed, physical differences of the natural landscapes will be compared, followed by a deeper encounter with Thoreau, as to why, and to whom, his more desolate and dark descriptions of the natural landscape, reached a distinctive, psychological appeal, and how these two views relate to contemporary America.
Just the title, “Summer on the Lake,” creates a refreshing image of glistening water and sunshine, surrounded by evergreens and the voices of children at play, right? As well it should, for that is what the author, Margaret Fuller, had intended to experience as she traveled that summer of 1843, to the Great Lakes. Margaret describes the many travel books and journals she studied to prepare for her trip. “Murray’s travels I read, and was charmed by their accuracy and clear broad tone.” (Fuller p.27) Yes, she was “charmed” by another’s words; another’s description of a place she had yet to travel. She
Schoener 2
was expecting to find beauty an...


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...cape of America, it is even more so today. The major difference is that we are able to learn from authors like Thoreau and Fuller, not to just read the words, but to “see” what they are saying, and to use that knowledge to envision a landscape that is not just in a travel book, or on a sandy beach, but one that is truly ubiquitous.

References:
Emerson, RW. The Portable Emerson. Viking Edition:1981
Fuller, Margaret. Summer on the Lakes. Reprint 2010
Thoreau, HD. The Portable Thoreau. Viking-Penguin Edition 1977
Thoreau, HD. Cape Cod. Dover Publications. 2004
Encyclopedia Britannica, online “Transcendentalism” 2010
Abrams: Class notes: 10-4 through 10-25
Note: RE: Fuller. My text was missing the intro-page 7. I used several other editions found online to gather information, therefore, my page numbers may not relate correctly to any one edition.

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