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8/10/19
This may not matter to anybody except a scholar or two, many years from now--but I want to make it clear that I don't cherry-pick the evidence. I face everything, and try to be objective and open-minded with it. That's not easy--it takes a commitment to truth, which is relatively rare, regardless of what letters one may have after their name. In my case, my letters stand for "Masters in Science" of a degree in Counseling and Human Systems. I was trained to be strictly honest with my feelings, and thus to be able to be a sounding-board for the clients' true feelings.

In any case, yesterday I presented bits of evidence suggesting that the author of the star-signed reviews and essays in the 1844-46 New York "Tribune" was a man (and hence, could not have been Margaret Fuller). But the evidence is a little more complicated than that. What I personally think is happening, in this series, is that Margaret Fuller is lazy. She has been given the official position and title of "Literary Editor" of the "Tribune" by editor Horace Greeley. But that was done to keep the peace in his home. Why? Because Greeley's wife was a fanatical fan of Margaret Fuller, and induced Greeley to invite Fuller into their home! Trouble, trouble. If Greeley wants a happy home--and we know that "If Mamma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"--he has to humor his wife's adoration of the Great Margaret.

So when Mrs. Greeley (I'm reading between the lines now, but not formerly) urges her husband to appoint Fuller the Literary Editor, he acquiesces. But Fuller is a neurotic prima donna. By Greeley's own tactful admission, her literary output is barely a tenth of his, and she only writes when she feels disposed to do so. There is no possible way that she wrote these lengthy, detailed, near-daily column entries.

But what she did was to write one or two, when it was something she felt strongly about--as for example, a female writer like Elisabeth Barrett or George Sand--OR, she would simply make revisions, or add copy into Mathew's existing column. But she wouldn't identify herself--she would slip in her own material as though she were the writer. Which I am quite sure would have driven Mathew to distraction. This is overstepping editorial authority, and I can well imagine some arguments about this point between Mathew and Greeley, during which Greeley proved to be strangely ineffectual as the head of the paper.

If you get the sense that Fuller held sway over the paper, through having such a powerful influence on Greeley's wife, I think you'd have it about right. (I am reminded of Rasputin's influence over the royal Russian court.) But the resourceful Greeley found a work-around--he hired a freelancer to do the bulk of the work--one who wouldn't mind remaining anonymous.*

So today, I was reformatting the star-signed column in the Feb. 17, 1845 edition, and I remember it as one where Fuller has made an addition of her own. Either that, or she was the author throughout--but I don't think so. The bulk of the review reads precisely as I have come to expect from Mathew Franklin Whittier--not just in this series, but throughout his career. However, the anecdote at the end was obvious written by a woman, and no-doubt by Fuller, herself.

That's my interpretation. There are one or two other male gender references in this series, as well as personal references which would fit Mathew far better than they would fit Fuller. For example, the writer personally arranges to have his or her laundry done by an elderly woman. But Fuller was a guest at the Greeley home. She is unlikely to have made her own separate laundry arrangements. Mathew, when in New York City, lived in boarding houses. He would have to have made such arrangements.

Here is the original page. You will find Fuller's addition, with its female references, tacked at the bottom.

Remember, we are establishing Mathew Franklin Whittier in New York City at the time that "The Raven" was first published--this same month, in fact, February 1845.

Best regards,

Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.

*Mathew left New York City to work under cover as an anti-slavery operative in New Orleans, writing the police report for the "Daily Delta," in mid-1846. At that time, Greeley found a permanent solution to his problem--he promoted Margaret Fuller to the "Tribune's" foreign correspondent! Fuller saw fit to continue signing her work from overseas--which nobody seems to quote much--as the "star." This, even though Mathew kept right on using it, as he had for many years, in the Boston "Odd Fellow" and the Portland "Transcript." Sadly, Fuller, her Italian husband and their child died in a shipwreck on the return voyage, in 1850.

 

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