American writers in Italy; 5
Brass button. And I will be zooming in and out again. Resent American writers in Italy a series of programs especially produced in Rome for this radio station. Program sluggard American writers and the attention that he said to me. The all the citizens of the city of New York received a most unusual invitation on the morning of the 6th of January in the year 1871. It was an unusual first because
of the way in which it was delivered. It came to the breakfast table with the morning paper. It was even more unusual in that it bore the signatures of 100 of the most distinguished people in the city representing the worlds of art politics the professions and the various religious denominations. The invitation announced a solemn celebration in observance of the independence of a country which though physically distant had long held a special position in the imagination of the American people. I am. Who I Am. We the undersigned proposed to express to united Italy the sympathy and congratulations of the American people upon the emancipation of Roe and its occupation as the future capital of the nation. And to celebrate this
event at the Academy of Music on Thursday evening January 12 the union of Rome to Italy for the aspirations of the Italian people for nationality gives to Romans a constitutional government of their own choice consecrates the right of national independence and closes a long period of foreign intervention which Italy has for centuries been the victor. Consolidating the nation on a firm basis it gives full scope to the energies of the people in education politics industry commerce literature and the arts and tends to the realisation of Coors idea. A Free Church in a free state that's assimilating Italian institutions more nearly to our room and opening a new era of civil and religious liberty in Europe. Fire on. Fire on the celebration took place on the appointed day
and had an undreamed of success in the New York newspapers were unrestrained in their reports of the event. This was the greatest and most enthusiastic meeting that has been held in this city since the early days of our war. The New York Evening Post wrote it was by far the largest gathering of people. And that of the most moral weight ever assembled in the United States and the New York Herald stated flatly. A larger or more enthusiastic gathering has never collected within those walls let success of the celebration gave rise to many others throughout the United States. Of America. It clearly appeared was particularly sensitive to the cause of independence in Italy and for reasons of historical affinity it was highly pleased at its attainment. America tool had emerged as a nation from a war of independence and people could not help but feel a sense of solidarity with Italy's achievement. It can hardly be
said however that all the American writers who lived in Italy and had taken a measure of their inspiration from it were overly enthusiastic about the turn of events. Last as they frequently were in their dream of Arcadia. It was difficult for them to see the concrete reality around them or occasionally they saw them too clearly. The realities were so squalid compared to inflated memories of Italy's historical grandeur that they rejected the actuality for the dream. Among those who could not or would not attend the celebration in New York on the 12th of January was Henry James. However he wrote a letter of apology as did William Dean Howells. Or I am the Lord of the.
Lord of the order. There were American writers however who were passionately involved in the Italian resort to mentor. Henry Theodore Tuckerman for example was one. For another. There was my Brit follower. Who went even further and was actively engaged in the revolution itself. Of the two. Talk a man was certainly the lesser writer. Although he was gifted with style and author. Margaret Fuller this I did lay his superior was a prominent figure in the pantheon of these so-called transcendental lists. She has since been reassessed and given her rightful place on a literary pedestal by the outstanding American literature scholar
Harry Miller. Both talk I'm an end Margaret Falah became involved with the Italian struggle during the years of the first unsuccessful war for national independence when Piedmont opposed Austria with the initial support later withdrawn of Pope Pius the 9th and of the other Italian princes. The war culminated in the heroic but unsuccessful defense of Rome under siege by the French troops. Lord. Lord of the all the or all are are all on our own. Henry Theodore talk a man a true machine and proud Bostonian was 20
years old when he left New York for Europe on the first of September in 1833. He carried with him as he later recalled Byron in his trunk and love of freedom in his mind and heart. His distant nation was Italy. Where doctors had advised him to stay for a time before taking up his studies at Harvard. On this voyage in search of health he fell in love with Italy. As a consequence he set out to learn the Italian language. Liszt soon gave him a position of advantage over other American travelers of the time whom speaking only in French with the Italian educated classes had just occasional contact with coachmen hotel porters beggars and common people in the streets.
In a small restaurant in Naples one day took a man made friends with a young man who happened to share his table. The chance acquaintance was a Sicilian. And he was noticeably excited when he learned that he was talking to an American a countryman of Washington and Franklin the young man immediately invited took him into his apartment. The Sicilian was a poet. And asked searching questions of talk of and about freedom of the press in the United States. A basic freedom which did not exist then. In Italy he has many other things as well giving way to enthusiasms and depressions in the course of the questioning as his poetic Sicilian temperament demanded. Finally he should talk I'm in a heap of manuscripts which the censor had refused permission to publish. For reasons more political than metrical. Took him and gave the young Sicilian a volume of poems by Byron. This meeting which took him and recorded in his Italian sketch book under the title a Sicilian poet.
Marked the beginning of talk and sympathetic appreciation of the difficulties of what he called this depressed yet glorious country. The Lord. All right now or her lawyer or a loner or in 1836 when we talk a man made another journey to Italy and shortly afterwards wrote a new book. This time it was a novel called Isabel and subtitled Sicily a pilgrimage. It was a kind of fictional guided tour of Sicily conducted by three characters who traveled across the island for months. Commenting on the places they saw and discussing the qualities of the inhabitants. It was not the usual exotic compound of easy art or what had come to expect from the conventional traveller. Talk a man wrote with a keen insight.
Is the quickness of apprehension and general talents of the society that were balanced by reflection and cultivated by education. They would become a distinguished people. They are sanguinary under the influence of passion but kind when in the least encouraged. In such a character there are elements of untried force and progress. An entire chapter of the book is dedicated to wind gen so Bellini Goldman for talking and represented the ideal Italian. A man of genius with an equally lofty moral and civil virtues. It is significant that talk a man had heard that Bellini was a member of the secret society called Jordan a Talia Young Italy and that Tuckerman discerned in the passion of millet is a Bellini is the last opera. The Puritans the depths and the fervor of Bellini is a liberal sentiment.
The document interspersed with the prose in his book occasional verses enjoining the Sicilians to retrieve their lost independence and possibly at the expense of their own poetry. Gaze around over your countries as Syrians and start from the injured sleep of degenerate slaves like the eagle long poised now triumphantly dyed in the minions that trample your ancestors graves. Along with a vengeance or Bellini talk a man was fascinated by Silvio paralegal. They tyrannise Pedro who was imprisoned at Spielberg and recounted his experiences in his famous lay me a pretty Johnny my present. The book had been translated in America in 1833. Took him and met Billy go into a room in eight hundred thirty eight and recorded the encounter. Peligro is small in stature and wearing glasses. His complection is deadly pale lined by the blighting shadow of a dungeon. His brow is
broad and high and his expression serious and thoughtful. He was courteous and I thought Bill spoke with deep emotion of his father and seemed much gratified at the interest his work excited in America. Talk of a name Silvio pellicle the Italian martyr. And counted him as one of the three Italians supremely representative of that time. The other two were Giacomo Layo part of the whom he called the skeptical genius and my CMO that Zedillo whom he named the literary statesman during the uprisings in 1848 Tuckerman returned once more to America. Where he worked to influence American public opinion. He wrote blazing articles in the Democratic Review war and brought out a new edition of his Italian sketch book. To this he added an introduction and the final chapter entitled modern Italy. Both of which were decidedly political. The eyes of the civilized world are now turned full of expectation and sympathy towards Italy.
The French interest is manifested in her destiny under the pressure of events. Henry Theodore talking when completely abandoned his literary tourist interest in Italy and eagerly replaced it with a new and deeper understanding and insight which had grown from his expanded historical knowledge of events that filled his work entirely. At the same time that Henry Tuckerman was a rousing America with his writing the formidable Margaret Fuller was actively participating in the defense of Rome during the siege mounted by the French troops called in by the pope. She listed as a nurse in the well known fact the benefit at the hospital where she made herself
useful in whatever way she could. Weeding to the wounded. Writing letters for them and listening to their stories and their newly born child was being cared for in the Roman companion at near unity. Her attendant husband the Marchese also Ali was fighting on the walls of Rome. The OS Margaret Fuller had come to Italy when she was no longer a young woman. Previously she had been editor of the dull and it also been a member of the utopian communal experiment in the United States known as Brook Farm. Horace Greeley's New York Tribune had sent her to Italy as a correspondent. She had known dreamed of seeing that country and was not disappointed. Italy receives me as a long lost child. She travelled to Italy through Paris and they're in the home of Chopin's your son. She had the good fortune to meet the poet of Polish
independence Adam Beach. From that moment on never ceased scolding and counseling her. He urged Margaret to liberate herself from the intellectual prison in which she lived and advised her almost in the same breath to pay attention to what he called her legitimate physical needs. And he also warned her not to overlook the little Italian she met in church. The little Italian turned out to be the Marchese Angela also only a member of a distinguished family of the people I was stuck with and the church in which she met him was St. Peter's. Margaret Fuller was hardly a woman to do things by half measures. The meeting culminated in marriage. It would be rash to suggest that also he was able to meet Margaret Scotto demands. But the 37 years of her vigorous life that this woman had spent in intellectual pursuit did nothing much for her looks. It must be admitted and she was probably so flattered by the admiring devotion of this personable man some years her
junior that it didn't seem to matter much. The marriage was a smashing success. Margaret encouraged and stimulated the liberal conviction that her husband already held and she commended him on his rounds of the most active political circles in Rome. The child was raised in the country because their marriage was a secret. Also his inheritance would have been hopelessly mortgaged if it were known that he had married a woman who not only was a Protestant but was bursting with radical ideas as well. Nevertheless there life in Rome was exceedingly pleasant. As Margaret herself recorded in her Roman diary she and also they used to go on all day picnics carrying chestnuts they had roasted on their own hearth finding bread and wine a tiny inns along the road and returning to the city in the golden sunset immensely happy.
The Eve. However when their world exploded. The liberal stirrings of the first months of 1848 the great hopes and the concessions wrung from the princes hardly caught Margaret Fuller by surprise. She had been straining for just such an outcome as her writings reveal. It is a time such as I always dreamed of and for long secretly hope to see.
I rejoice to be in Italy at this time and shall return possessed of a great history. Perhaps I shall be called to act the fool did come and Margaret responded wholeheartedly. The easy thousand Nations she had felt for things Italian had been burned away completely in the fire of reality to be replaced by something more robust. No one was more aware of this than was Margaret Fuller herself. I have now seen what Italy contains most important of the great past. I begin to hope for also a great future. The signs of improved so much since I came. I am most fortunate to be here at this time. In this instance she was proud of being different from the other Americans in Italy at the time although they too acted most generously when the really difficult moment arrived. But in some of them Margaret was disappointed. I am sorry to say that a large portion of my countrymen here take the same slaughter full unprejudiced view was the English and after many years sojourn the TRAI
entire ignorance of the Italian literature and Italian life. They talk about the corrupt and degenerate state of Italy as they do about that of our slaves at home. They come ready trained to that mode of reasoning which affirms that because men are degraded by bad institutions they are not fit for better. From Margaret Fuller the moral ideal of a struggle was a pit in my eyes by does it. They must see me would return from London to lead the new Roman Republic and to
direct its resistance to the invading French troops. Margaret had already met him in London where he taught in schools for the poor and always dressed in black as a symbol of mourning for the oppression of his country. Their meeting in London deeply impressed MARGARET He was far above the stature of other men steadfast in his convictions and of almost miraculous energy to sustain them. And in Rome on the 8th of March in 1849 she met again with this extraordinary man. Last night my cine came to see me. He looks more divine than ever. After all this new strange sufferings. He stayed two hours and we talked the rapidly of everything. The crisis was tremendous and all will come on him. Since if any can save it away from her fulls inward and outward it will be he. But he is very doubtful whether this be possible. The photos are too many too strong too subtle.
I only grieve I cannot aid him freely would I give my life to aid him. Only bargaining for a quick death. Or her own. She was right. The photos were many and strong and subtle. Republican room lasted only a few months and then fill in with it fill the hopes of Margaret Fuller. Private hopes of mine I'll fall in with the hopes of Italy. I have played for the new stake and lost it. Life looks too difficult.
Margaret Fuller with her husband and son left grow and went first to Aquila and then to Florence challenging a public opinion which might easily have condemned a family so politically compromised. But Margaret's considerable firmness of character assured respect. Life or gained its former rhythm and her family living grew happy again. But soon it was time to return to her own country and we became profoundly disheartened at leaving Italy. I am homesick but where is home. You. Union.
The preparations for the journey were accompanied by strange misgivings. At that time the spring of 1850. There had been a series of shipwrecks in the North Atlantic. Margaret however thought it useless to take great pains in choosing a ship as was sometimes done. The worst could happen on any ship she thought. And happen it did. Elizabeth on which Margaret Fuller her husband and her son were travelling went to the boat. No one knows many of the details of that shipwreck but there is the testimony of one of the survivors. He said that Margaret Fuller refused to save herself on a piece of floating wreckage without her son and her husband. The survivor claims to have heard a brief exchange between Margaret and her husband.
The Marchese also or we must die let us die. Margaret Fuller has since been spoken of as the typical intellectual woman league political activist a sort of 19th century sci Munda Beauvois. Clearly she was more than that dire. This is concluded the fifth in our series of programs on American authors and their relationship to Italy programs especially produced in Rome for this radio station.
This first program was titled American writers and the Italian resort Jamin. The music on this program included excerpts from the works of Verdi and the building as well as excerpts from the songs of the Italian with the sort of German theme music is from the company by typeless. The sixth programme in this series will be devoted to Ben I bet NS and Ezra Pound be with us next time when don't i. I deal TBS you'll meet again and will again present American
- American writers in Italy
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-34-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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- Chicago: “American writers in Italy; 5,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed January 30, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-222r8m8g.
- MLA: “American writers in Italy; 5.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. January 30, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-222r8m8g>.
- APA: American writers in Italy; 5. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-222r8m8g