American Poetry in the Age of Whitman and Dickinson

Margaret Fuller’s Running Heads

with 2 comments

Click on the image for a link to the book

I have a thing for running heads. They’re a compositional device that bridges the gap between text and paratext, or can, though it’s not always clear who’s responsible. A case in point: the first edition of Margaret Fuller’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century, which was brought out by Horace Greeley in 1845. Though I know from some of the scholarship that Fuller was responsible for the frontispiece (shown at the left), I don’t know what sort of role she played in the other aspects of the book’s design. It’s hard to imagine that anyone but the author would write running heads such as

CAN WE TRUST AN EARTHLY FATHER?

or

BOND-MAIDS! BRUNHILDAS!

— but you never know.

One of the curious things about the running heads is that they change direction about an eighth of the way into the book. Up until page 25 (after the preface and first page of the text proper, that is), the headers spell out Fuller’s title, with

WOMAN IN THE

and

NINETEENTH CENTURY.

sitting atop the verso and recto pages, respectively. Starting at page 26, the versos read

WOMAN IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.

and the rectos begin to have descriptive headers. Here’s a complete list (with page numbers in parentheses, and a few illustrations interspersed):

MIRANDA. (27, 29, 31)

EMILY PLATER. (33)

EVE AND MARY. (35)

LET ALL THE PLANTS GROW! (37)

ISIS. (39)

PORTIA. (41)

WOMAN IN GREECE. (43)

IN SPAIN. (45)

RHINE LEGEND. (47)

WOMAN HAD ALWAYS HER SHARE OF POWER. (49)

GIVE THE LIBERTY OF LAW. (51)

ELIZABETH, ISABELLA AND MARINA. (53)

ENGLISH IDEALS. (55)

LORD HERBERT. (57)

WOMAN CAPABLE OF FRIENDSHIP. (59)

MADAME ROLAND. (61)

GEORGE SAND (63)

CAUSES OF ELOISA’S MISTAKE. (65)

WILLIAM AND MARY HOWITT. (67)

HIGHEST GRADE OF UNION. (69)

THE FLYING PIGEON. (71)

XENOPHON’S PANTHEA. (73)

PANTHEA. (75, 77, 79)

THEWIFEINEVITABLYINFLUENCESTHEHUSBAND. (81)

SCHOOL-INSTRUCTION. (83)

OLD BACHELORS AND OLD MAIDS. (85)

WHY GROW OLD? (87)

THE BETROTHED OF THE SUN. (89)

TUNE THE LYRE. (91)

CASSANRRA. (93)

SEERESS OF PREVORST. (95)

THE BRIBE IS NOT THE PRIZE. (97)

DR. CHANNING. (99)

KINMONT AND SHELLEY. (101)

EXCEPTIONS TO EVERY RULE. (103)

PROCLUS TEACHES WELL. (105)

CAN WE TRUST AN EARTHLY FATHER? (107)

SWEDENBORG’S VIEW. (109)

FOURIER’S VIEW. (111)

THE DAUGHTERS OF GOETHE. (113)

THE TRUE FELICITY. (115)

MISS EDGEWORTH. (117)

MEN WOULD NOT LISTEN TO MY VOICE. (119)

THE LADY IN COMUS. (121)

MAN IS NOT OF SATYR-DESCENT. (123)

TMPLE OF JUNO. (125)

FOLLOW UNA, NOT DUESSA. (127)

THE OLD MAN ELOQUENT. (129)

IMMORTAL EVE. (131)

LIFT UP THE FALLEN. (133)

EUGENE SUE. (135)

A GRANDISON MUCH WANTED. (137)

IS PURITY AN EXOTIC? (139)

EXALTADOS! EXALTADAS! (141)

LOVE PARTS NOT WITH IDUNA. (143)

PARAGUAY WOMAN. (145)

BOND-MAIDS! BRUNHILDAS! (147)

MISS SEDGWICK. (149)

THE O’CONNELL MASS. (151)

ANNEXATION OF TEXAS. (153)

THE HEMISPHERES. (155)

THE NEW DODONA! (157)

IT WAS THE MAN’S NOTION. (159)

PERICLES AND ASPASIA. (161)

BE TRUE TO-DAY. (163)

After this come the appendices, and henceforth all the headers read the same:

There’s a lot of poetry in this book. The running heads are a kind of poem in their own right.

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Written by Ben Friedlander

March 29, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Posted in book history

Tagged with ,

2 Responses

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  1. Ah! The enthusiasm, the ecstasy, the twitteriness of the running head.

    allison cobb

    March 31, 2010 at 11:44 pm

  2. Since Fuller was a reporter, nice to think of her as also running a twitter feed!

    Ben Friedlander

    April 2, 2010 at 5:32 am


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