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Randall J. Fuller, PhD
University of Kansas, Lawrence (Lawrence, KS 66045-7505)
Bright Circle: Five Remarkable Women in the Age of Transcendentalism

A group biography of five female members of the American transcendentalist movement: Mary Moody Emerson (1774-1863), Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (1804-94), Sophia Hawthorne (1809-71), Lidian Jackson Emerson (1802-92), and Margaret Fuller (1810-50).

This will be the first full-length group biography of women transcendentalists. Recounting the lives and intellectual work of five compelling personalities--Mary Moody Emerson, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Sophia Hawthorne, Lidian Jackson Emerson, and Margaret Fuller--"Bright Circle" will be written for a broad audience of American literature and history buffs as well as for those interested in women who played a vital role in shaping our national culture. By tracing the biography of each woman, the book shows their connections to one another and how each explored the possibilities of feminine intellectual life. Unpublished letters and journals are used to reveal how these five women contributed to the first important literary and philosophical movement in the nation and, in the process, inaugurated a distinctively American form of feminism.

Project fields:
American Literature

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021