Notes of Conversations, 1848-1875
Edited by Karen English

About the Editor:
Karen English is a native North Carolinian who holds a BA in English from Duke University. Her graduate degrees include an MA in Comparative Literature and PhD in American Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since 1989, she has taught courses in American Literature and American Studies at San José State University in California. When she is not thinking about and writing about the conversations of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Bronson Alcott, she works in the garden around an old house in downtown San José, a home she shares with her husband and two sons.

Notes of Conversations, 1848-1875 is a volume of transcripts of conversations conducted by the nineteenth-century American philosopher and educator A. Bronson Alcott at various locations in New England and the Midwest. The transcripts have been copied from unpublished manuscripts in the Alcott collection at Harvard University and Concord Free Library, as well as published contemporary articles in The Radical, New York Tribune, and Chicago Tribune. Gathered in this volume, Alcott’s transcripts vividly reflect American intellectual concerns from the years preceding the Civil War through the beginning of the Gilded Age.

In this set of remarkable documents, Alcott holds conversations on broad aspects of human culture, on literature, on philosophical idealism, on women’s roles and accomplishments, on abolition—on a whole range of social, literary, and religious reforms. Because women made up a significant portion of Alcott’s enthusiastic participants, the transcripts allow us to witness their commitment to self-culture through a popular social phenomenon—at a time when most middle- and upper-class women were not able to pursue college educations.

The transcripts make us privy to the oral performances of some of the most important reformers of the nineteenth century, men and women such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, William Lloyd Garrison, Elizabeth Peabody, and Caroline Healey Dall. Further, lists of attendees at these public conversations show that this talking phenomenal extended beyond the well-known writers, thinkers, and reformers of the age to hundreds of men and women in nineteenth-century New England and Midwestern societies.

ISBN 978-0-8386-4118-7

About FDU Press New Releases Features Publications by Topic Recent Book Reviews Book Reviews by Topic Submission Guidelines

2010 Eastpark Boulevard
Cranbury, New Jersey 08512
Phone (609) 655-4770
Fax (609) 655-8366

285 Madison Avenue
Madison, New Jersey 07940
Phone (973) 443-8564
Fax (973) 443-8364


The FDU Press has particular strengths in literary studies, world history and politics, biography, film, ethnic studies, sociology, the Civil War, art, religion, local history, and urban studies.

Copyright © 2007, Fairleigh Dickinson University. All rights reserved. Information on FDU web pages is provided as a convenience for the University community and others seeking information. It is the responsibility of the visitor to verify the information. This page originally created with FDU Pagetoaster 2. [Latest update 070822] Print page. Click to see how'd they do that?
Click if you are the owner and you wish to edit this page