A Humbug, a Bounder and a Dabbler: Margaret Fuller and/as
Cristina di Belgioioso and/as Christina Casamassima

by Cristina Giorcelli

As if Margaret Fuller were not, even before leaving for Europe, a woman and an intellectual disturbing enough for a whole, tightly knit group of New England scholars and artists who knew her (like Henry James senior, R. W. Emerson, N. Hawthorne, and J. R. Lowell), what her life turned out to be, especially while in Italy, for the rest of the nineteenth and most of the twentieth century upset every American whose opinion mattered. This is clearly shown by Henry James junior, who could not have known her personally, but who inherited the views of his masters not only without much challenging them, but with a vengeance.

In the twentieth century,Vernon L. Parrington was still an isolated voice when in the late 1920's ­ although in a qualified way ­ he declared that Fuller deserved to be remembered better than and above many other women of her time1.

It is my thesis in the present essay that the last derogatory touch on an already "maimed" reputation ­ maimed because of her intelligence, culture, feminist stands, wit, personal choices, and, occasionally, of course, also arrogance, selfishness, and competitiveness ­ came from her association with Princess Cristina di Belgioioso2.

These two women (who were almost coeval ­ Belgioioso having been born in 1808) met in Rome in late January 18483, perhaps thanks either to Mary Clarke4 or to a very good Italian friend of Fuller's, Marchioness Costanza Arconati Visconti5, who, however, being very pious, did not particularly like «la belle joyeuse» ­ as she had been snidely re-baptized in France ­ on account of her "immoral" behavior. Upon their encounter, Cristina di Belgioioso was evidently impressed by Fuller to the point of remembering her (or else it might have been their common estimator, Giuseppe Mazzini, who reminded the Princess of Fuller) when more than a year later, at the end of April 1849, she needed capable women to direct the Roman hospitals during the siege of the city6. For over a month the two ladies frequently saw each other. After her duties were over at the Hospital Fatebenefratelli on the Tiberina island, Fuller would join Belgioioso either at the nearby Hospital della Trinità dei Pellegrini, where the Princess held her headquarters, or at the Quirinale, where they both would go to assist the convalescent wounded.

Numerous are the similarities between these two, at first sight, different women7. Indeed, on account of their many similarities one would not be surprised if, before she confided them to others, Fuller had shared her personal secrets with Belgioioso.

Cristina di Belgioioso was an extremely intelligent and learned woman ­ and as such, in the very traditional Italian world of her time, even more of an exception than Fuller was in hers. From a noble, wealthy and politically radical family, the Trivulzios of Milan, she had been well educated. She knew Latin and French to perfection; Fuller also knew these two languages well. And while Belgioioso acquired also English, Fuller apprehended German and some Italian8. Belgioioso was also well versed in history, philosophy (she had translated Vico's Scienza Nuova into French), theology9, and politics ­ as, in her own way, was Fuller (who had translated works by and about Goethe and had been the Muse of American Transcendentalism). Like Fuller, Belgioioso was proficient in music and painting, but, unlike the American, she also possessed some knowledge of economics, medicine, and agronomy.

While in France, a philosopher, Victor Cousin, had defined Cristina di Belgioioso as «foemina sexu, genio vir»; similarly, Fuller believed that «there is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman»10, and upheld and took as a model the intelligent, belligerent and androgynous Minerva from among the Latin goddesses11. And if Fuller had absorbed Transcendentalism, whose principles she converted into stimula to improve American society, Belgioioso was very familiar with Fourier's theories. She organized her large estate at Locate in Lombardy according to them. Well in advance of her time, she instituted a kindergarten for the farmers' infants and schools for their children. She also established laboratories to help peasants with artisanal talents improve their economic and social status; in the winter time she even provided large heated rooms where peasants could gather, take a meal, and warm up. Apart from learning, therefore, Belgioioso and Fuller shared a profound concern for the welfare of people and the amelioration of society.

Both Fuller and Belgioioso had fragile physical constitutions. If Fuller suffered from migraines and nightmares all of her life, Belgioioso had terrible spells of epilepsy from childhood. The rumor that she was an opium addict (much publicized by Cavour himself) was also due to the medicines she had to take when under attack.

Both women had unhappy private lives. Until she met the Marquis Giovanni Ossoli, Fuller had a capacity to fall in love with people who would not love her. As she wrote, «I am a poor magnet with power to be wounded by the bodies I attract»12. For her part, Marchioness Cristina Trivulzio was married at the age of sixteen to the beau prince Emilio di Belgioioso, who was much admired for his beautiful tenor voice. But he was a gambler and a womanizer, who infected his wife with syphilis. Four years later she unofficially separated from him. After a period of two years in which she travelled both in Italy ­ she was in Genoa, Florence (a city that she much loved), Rome ­ and in Switzerland, she settled in Paris, where she became the envied host of a prestigious salon. Very young, very intelligent, very rich, and very beautiful (famous was the diaphanous color of her skin. Once a gentleman who was an habitué of her salon was asked whether he considered her beautiful and he answered, «She must have been very beautiful when she was alive!»)13, Cristina di Belgioioso was also very free. In the most splendid and pleasure-seeking capital of the world, there were rumours of her taking many lovers, from Balzac, to Heine, to Mignet, to Liszt, to de Musset, to Thierry, to even George Sand. In 1838 she bore a child, Maria, who was legitimized as Belgioioso only in 1860, two years after Emilio's death, but who may have been the daughter of François Mignet14. If Belgioioso had all but an immaculate reputation, the fact of having been, at times, ostracized, regardless of her generosity and ideals, taught her to rely on people who were socially rejected. During the siege of Rome, for instance, in great need of nurses for the wounded, she also sought the help of prostitutes, who proved to be capable and devoted: «Quelle donne e ragazze delle strade romane non avevano senso morale e in tempo di pace conducevano una vita disordinata ed egoista, ma in quel momento si manifestarono in loro doti redentrici»15. Fuller was too much the offspring of her Puritan background to be as sexually free (let's remember Mickiewicz's suggestion to her in 1847 finally to lead a life not based only on books)16. And yet she too bore a child perhaps out of wedlock, whose father's identity she disclosed ­ for the child's sake ­ with no small amount of embarassment, only when she was afraid that either she or Ossoli (or both) would die.

Both Fuller and Belgioioso found in the Risorgimento an heroic cause to which to devote their lives. Fuller ­ who in 1841 had established for herself a fierce agenda, «I must die if I do not burst forth in genius or heroism»17 ­ was entirely devoted to Mazzini's republican project. In the Princess's case, although she commanded Mazzini's esteem and friendship18, she thought monarchy the form of government that would be more appropriate for the Italians of the time. This notwithstanding, the year before the Roman siege, Belgioioso had recruited a group of men in Naples, sailed with them ­ the only woman aboard ­ to Genoa, and then entered Milan with them waving the tricolour. Both Fuller and Belgioioso were very good friends of the Polish expatriate poet Adam Mickiewicz, whom, like Fuller, Belgioioso had met in Paris19.

Independent and courageous, Fuller and Belgioioso did not hesitate to counter the opinions of their contemporaries and certainly were not to be diverted from their purposes by the fear of having to pay hard for them. As Raffaello Barbiera, the author of Belgioioso's first and best known biography, put it at the very end of his book, «questa donna [Belgioioso] d'istinto e di ferrea volontà dominatrice [] dai severi turbanti come una sibilla del Domenichino irrita talvolta come un enigma []. In lei, stranezze, audacie, errori; mai la piccolezza»20. In carrying out their defiant attitudes, the rich and aristocratic Belgioioso may, one must admit, have needed less courage than her poor and democratic American fellow woman.

It is thus clear that neither Belgioioso nor Fuller conformed to the prevailing woman's model of the «angel in the house».

But there is more. Ideologically they were well in advance of their time: as with Fuller's Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)21, Belgioioso's treatise On the present conditions of women and their future (1866)22 showed her sensitivity to the Woman's cause. Belgioioso also wrote books on several historical subjects: a history of Lombardy, a history of the House of Savoy, one on the contemporary state of Italy and its future, and one on modern international politics23. For her part, from 1844 Fuller was the literary, art historical, and social critic for the "New-York Daily Tribune", and in 1846 she was appointed its foreign correspondent. She became the first American woman to hold such a position. Through her dispatches24 not only did she inform the American public of what was happening in Rome and Italy, but she enthusiastically espoused the Italian republican unitary program and, to the last, tried to persuade her country of its duty to come to the aid of a budding sister democracy25. When she died, Fuller was apparently hard at work completing a history of the Roman republic and the Italian revolutionary movements26.

Both Belgioioso and Fuller understood well the tremendous impact of the press as opinion maker. In Paris Belgioioso often contributed to the "Revue des Deux Mondes" and founded several journals: "Gazzetta italiana" ­ one of the first Italian political magazines, which the philosopher and politician Terenzio Mamiani refused to co-direct with her because she was a woman ­ "Rivista italiana", "L'Ausonio", "Il Crociato" and "L'Italie". Through these papers she aimed to disseminate information about the Italian situation and stimulate consensus regarding its right to independence. For two years (1840-42), Fuller edited the transcendental journal "The Dial", to which she also contributed.

Belgioioso and Fuller also shared a taste for the exotic. After her flight from Rome with her daughter in 1849, Belgioioso went to live in Turkey for six years ­ the first western woman to go to the East unchaperoned ­ where she wrote Oriental tales27. As for Fuller, not only had she been considered physically and intellectually exotic by Emerson and Channing28, had lived for three years in Italy, a southern European country (quite "foreign" in the eyes and minds of many New Englanders), and had taken a very Mediterranean looking lover, but she also wrote a tale about an "oriental", Hebrew, subject ­ A Tale of Mizraim ­ set in Egypt29.

Of course, the two women also differed in some respects. Belgioioso was attractive (slender, with big black eyes, and black shining hair), while Fuller was plain, but she too possessed a magnetic and fascinating personality. Belgioioso was extremely elegant with a gift for theatrical effects in clothing as well as in interior decoration. She used to dress in white with only one accessory: a necklace of black coral. White and black would dramatically bring forth the color of her skin, hair, and eyes. The same two colors were pervasive in her Parisian home. The walls and the upholstery of her apartment were covered with black velvet jotted with silver stars, while the furniture was made of ebony. Her bedroom, in contrast, was entirely white ornated with sumptuous objects in silver30. Nothing of the same sort was cast in Fuller's lot: her financial means had always been too meagre and she had had too many family obligations to be able to even think of such extravagances.

And if Belgioioso broke many hearts (according to rumors, even those of women ­ like George Sand), she ended up by living a life of solitude with just one sure love: her daughter's (and later her grandchildren's). In Fuller's case it was her heart that was broken by friends and/or potential lovers of both sexes several times31. And when she finally found love with Ossoli, she lived it, amid misgivings and apprehensions, for only three years.

Besides, while Fuller was plagued by a constant lack of money, Belgioioso was wealthy; yet, because of her political ideas, her belongings were confiscated by the Austrian government on three occasions, and, therefore, for some periods, she had to survive on small financial resources.

The lives of these two women seem thus to have marched in several ways on parallel tracks32.

These temperamental characteristics, audacious behaviors, and the spectacular events in which they partook may explain why both women were not much liked and appreciated in their respective worlds. As far as Fuller is concerned, the question is why were such sensitive and intelligent writers as Henry James and, before him, his mentor Nathaniel Hawthorne so hostile to her? And, more, why, in spite of their dislike of her, did Fuller keep haunting their imaginations so profoundly and so long?

In 1858, in his Italian Notebooks, Hawthorne terribly disparaged Fuller. Throwing the responsibility of his judgments on a sculptor who knew her, Joseph Mozier33, after denigrating Ossoli (who is described as «entirely ignorant even of his own language, scarcely able to read at all, destitute of manners; in short, half an idiot») and the Ossoli family, he claims that Fuller's relationship with such a man could only have been «purely sensual»34. Nothing more derogatory could be expressed on her account vis-a-vis her Puritan background (obviously, such judgment also bespeaks its author's obsessions). In addition, at the end of his vicious presentation he scarcely hides his satisfaction when he writes that because of her death «she proved herself a very woman, after all, and fell as the weakest of her sisters might»35. For him, Fuller's defiance, her public success, and her association with such a man as Ossoli showed that she was destined to be a "fallen" woman. Hawthorne goes as far as to affirm that she «had a strong and coarse nature []. She was a great humbug». As if this were not enough, regarding her professional career, he records Mozier's opinion that she «had quite lost all power of literary production, before she left Rome, though occasionally the charm and power of her conversation would re-appear»36 . Yet, as has been shown, Fuller is likely to have been the model for several of his most important heroines37. What is relevant here is that Hawthorne's negative opinion of her looms large in James's mind.

In his works James openly commented on Fuller on three occasions: in the long essay on Hawthorne (1879), in William Wetmore Story and His Friends (1903), where he also expanded on Belgioioso, and in A Small Boy and Others (1913)38.

John Carlos Rowe has argued that Fuller exposed James's «masculine fear of nineteenth-century women's bid for economic, legal, and political power»39. Specifically, Rowe concentrates on an early short story by James, The Last of the Valerii (1874), set in Rome, in which the protagonist's wife, an American by the name of Martha, solves the problem caused by her Italian noble husband's falling in love with a statue of Juno unearthed in his villa when she resolutely buries the statue again. Concurrently she also turns into an "angel in the house" and takes up embroidering (incidentally, one of the feminine skills presided over by Minerva ­ Fuller's beloved goddess), thus conforming to the socially accepted ­ unassuming and docile ­ woman-model. Rowe sees Martha as one of James's possible literary incarnations of Fuller, who, in the final year, kept house with her lover/spouse and son.

In real life, James had little liking for strong and, especially, literary women (we have but to think of the way he treated Constance Fenimore Woolson or Edith Wharton, who respected him immensely and whose coveted guest he frequently was both in Europe and in the United States)40. He thus did not care for Fuller and certainly could not care for Belgioioso. His socially conservative frame of mind could not but condemn their "irregular" and, figuratively speaking, overexposed lives.

In Hawthorne, James points out Fuller's negative traits. «This lady was the apostle of culture, of intellectual curiosity» but, he writes, she was also characterized by «poverty of knowledge»41. In other words, her eagerness for culture did not lead her to acquiring it. Besides, «she had a magnificent [] egotism». Her human qualities were, to be sure, ab-normally defective. This «egotism», however, needs also to be put in relation with Emerson's "self-reliance", in which James did not much believe, as, in the same year, he was showing in his characterization of Daisy Miller, the charming but victimized protagonist of the novel by the same title, who incarnates this principle. In some respects, "self-reliance" entails for James a naive and self-defeating arrogance. Therefore, by criticizing Fuller, who had worked so closely with Emerson, James may be criticizing also the apostle of the American belief in the individual's worth, regardless of the social context in which he/she moves. In Hawthorne he, finally, belittles Fuller's gifts by reducing them to one: «she was a talker, she was the talker, she was the genius of talk," contrasting, as it were, mere "talking" to serious thinking (and writing). And yet he contradicts himself: after firmly maintaining «[she] left behind her nothing but the memory of a memory»42, he admits, «Some of her writing has extreme beauty, almost all of it has a real interest, but her value, her activity, her sway [] were personal and practical». What he seems to be wanting to convey is that she cannot aspire to great praise, because, being «personal and practical», her published work (he is probably referring to her writing for a newspaper) is ephemeral. Interestingly, however, he concludes these devious remarks by summarizing: «She has left the same sort of reputation as a great actress»43.

James was surely aware of what some of Fuller's friends had said of her. Horace Greeley, the director of the "New-York Daily Tribune", after extolling her powers of mimicry, had concluded that she might have been the United States' finest actress had she so chosen44; Julia Ward Howe in her biography of Fuller had called her «grandiloquent»45; and Emerson, Clarke, and Channing had linked her with de Staël's Corinne in her abilities as an «improvisatrice»46.

Twenty-four years later, in the third chapter ­ entitled The Siege of Rome ­ of William Wetmore Story and His Friends47, after summarizing previous definitions of Fuller, including Hawthorne's and his own, which argued that «[her] identity was that of the talker, the moral improvisatrice» (wws, p. 128), James had to concede that, after all she went through, many facts regarding Fuller «were not talk, but life» (wws, p. 130). As Ann Douglas has pointed out, he probably meant that, contrary to most Transcendentalists' practice, she not only extolled experience, but lived it48. And yet, if "life" is better than "talk", in his mind neither are better than the palace of art and the role of observer he had chosen for himself. This comment is thus not the prelude to a revised opinion on her.

In fact, in this book not only does James report verbatim the slandering judgments James Russell Lowell49 passed on Fuller in his letters to Story, but he debates whether, had he met her, he would have judged her either «a somewhat formidable bore» or «a really attaching, a possibly picturesque New England Corinne» (wws, p. 128) ­ neither alternative really too flattering for Fuller. But then ­ showing again his contradictions on this subject ­ how could she be such a bore, if she was such a great talker? And how could she be so attaching, if he cannot help belittling her as merely «picturesque»? As he had already done in Hawthorne, he again stifles her literary merits ­ even (not unlike Hawthorne) negating her literary production: «she left nothing behind her, her written utterance being naught» (wws, pp. 127-8). In the longest reference to her in the book ­ a reference that closely follows Hawthorne's lead in his Italian Notebooks ­ she is mentioned on the same page with both the incestuous and murderous Beatrice Cenci50, whose portrait by Guido Reni the Storys had gone to see (as one goes to a show), and with the allegedly adulterous and deceptive Beatrice di Tenda, whose drama, set to music by Vincenzo Bellini, the Storys and Fuller went to listen to at the Teatro Argentina in the spring of 1849 (wws, p. 126)51.

Clearly, James wished to frame Fuller in a theatrical context and between two historical, strong, dangerous Italian women (therefore, by the Anglo-Saxon cliché, vehement and treacherous and, incidentally, bearing the same culturally misleading52 name)53. In the next pages, after referring to Fuller as «the unquestionably haunting Margaret-ghost» (wws, p. 127) and before calling her the «angular Boston sybil» (wws, p. 130), James explicitly uses a theatrical metaphor to describe her, «Mme. Ossoli's circle represented, after all, a small stage» (wws, p. 129). Very interestingly, three pages later James brings together Fuller and «the great» Adelaide Ristori (wws, pp. 132-4) ­ the Italian actress who, during the Roman Republic, was at the beginning of a formidable career that would make her internationally famous54. Ristori privileged roles of strong, dignified, awe-inspiring women, preferably queens55. She did not shy away, however, from also representing gruesome heroines such as Scribe's Medea, whom she played in the spring of 1849.

What I would like to emphasize is that, added to the theatrical hint in Hawthorne, because of the way James chose to set Fuller in William Wetmore Story and His Friends, he subtly suggested that not only did the theatrical world become Fuller, but that the roles of awesome theatrical Italian heroines became her as well ­ awesome because epitomes of sexual and plotting activity (according to Hawthorne, had she not been «sensual» and «a humbug»?). In the Roman theatres, on the background of the Roman siege, in a vertigo of seeing and being seen, Fuller was thus for James both spectator and character ­ and the fact that he conceived her as narcissistic and self-centered may have supported him in this outlook. Besides, Hawthorne's comment that Fuller's relationship with Ossoli was «purely sensual» and James's statement that her marriage was «incongruous» (wws, p. 98) would help match political subversiveness and licentious sex, as they are often associated in the establishment ethos.

Not by chance, in the last pages of this revealing chapter in William Wetmore Story and His Friends, James introduces and discusses Belgioioso (wws, p. 136). While the French troops, having arrived at Civitavecchia, were menacing Rome, he reports that in Piazza del Popolo the Storys and Fuller met the Princess, «[b]ut», James adds, «it all winds up again, for the evening, with Ristori in another play by Scribe» (wws, p. 134)56. Belgioioso is, therefore, part of the theatrical context in which real and dramatic events overlap57.

No doubt this mixture of exceptional facts and playful enjoyment, of protagonists in the historical drama and protagonists on the theatrical stage, is meant to underline James's thesis that the Storys (but also other Americans, like Fuller, as well as aristocratic Italians in search of a cause to give their life meaning, like Belgioioso) did not genuinely participate in the Roman events, but were simply by-standers, observers, who pretended to feel deeply for the Italian Risorgimento, but, in effect, were much more taken up by the effervescent atmosphere which surrounded them and by the opportunity given them to shine. With this reductive view well planted in his mind, it is not difficult for James to imply that the exalted Fuller became involved in the Roman hospitals ­ and with a younger, titled, but «much decaduto» (wws, p. 130) and ignorant («clownish»58, in Hawthorne's words) companion like Ossoli ­ for excitement and role playing. This same attitude must, in his opinion, have taken hold also of Belgioioso.

In fact, in his long presentation of the Princess, he first defined her as «one of the figures intrinsically the most interesting and most marked we are likely to meet» (wws, p. 161). The adverb «intrinsically» is somewhat redundant, unless he wishes to signal that he will not stop at appearances, at exterior facts, but will probe her personality. Then, he writes: «Her striking, strange name (which, in connection with her title, seemed, always, of old, to scintillate, exotically, orientally, for eye and ear) was in the air [] and with the note of the grande dame added, for mystification, to that of the belligerent» (wws, p. 161). Not only is Belgioioso contradictory for him because she is both a refined hostess and a rebel, but the note of «mystification», of deception, is introduced. After mentioning ­ and foot-noting in full ­ the biography that Raffaello Barbiera had written on her just the year before, he adds that the portrait the Italian writer had drawn, «leaves us in depths of doubt ­ which are yet also not without their interest ­ as to the relation, in her character, of the element of sincerity and the element [ ] of cabotinage [] was she not [] at once a sincere, a passionate crusader and "a bounder", as we elegantly say, of the real bounding temperament? Nothing is more curious [] than the apparent mixture in her of the love of the thing in itself and the love of all the attitudes and aspects, the eccentricities and superfluities of the thing» (wws, pp. 161-2). Since Barbiera had presented a straighforwardly eulogistic characterization of the Princess, it is evident that James wants to distance himself from him. Without denying Belgioioso's «sincere» and «passionate» participation in her crusades, James introduces the element of «cabotinage», that is, of poor acting and affected showing off. Both a «crusader» and a cabotine, Belgioioso is, therefore, both hot-headed ­ if not flippant, certainly extravagant («eccentric») ­ and true ­ if not in bad faith, certainly excessive («superfluous»). Here again, we may detect James's criticism of Emerson's principle of "self-reliance", since, to be sure, Belgioioso always lived according to the dictates of her own nature and ideals. But it is the definition he gives to Belgioioso as «a bounder» that is amazingly close to the one his predecessor, Hawthorne, had used for Fuller, «a great humbug»59.

James's tirade, however, goes on. By writing that Belgioioso possessed a «strange, pale, penetrating beauty, without bloom, health, substance, that was yet the mask of an astounding masculine energy» (wws, p. 162; italics mine), he arrives at the core of the matter: the Princess's pitiful, physical fragility ­ so ghostly in its lack of «substance» ­ hid a «masculine» force that is threatening ­ or, to use the words that in another context he used for Fuller, «not altogether reassuring»60. That the two women are close in his mind may be shown by the fact that they are both discussed at length in this same chapter. In addition, a few pages later he reports a letter written by Story to Fuller's bitter enemy, James Russell Lowell, in which with these words and arguments Story had defended her from Lowell's attack, «because fate has really been unkind to her, and because she depends on her pen for her bread-and-water [], and because she is her own worst enemy, and because through her disappointment and disease, which (things) embitter every one, she has struggled most stoutly and manfully» (wws, p. 171; italics mine). Like James, Story had expressed toward Fuller both a patronizing judgment («she is her worst enemy») and given hints about her threatening, manly power ­ a trait that associates her with Belgioioso's previously singled out characteristic.

In his concluding comments on the Italian Princess, James explicitly mentions her third alarming threat, which again connects her to Fuller: her «"social position" [was] so oddly allied with her perpetual immersion in printer's ink, with the perpetual founding, conducting, supporting, replenishing, from her own inspiration, of French and Italian propagandist newspapers [] the great political or social agitator is most often a bird of curious plumage» (wws, pp. 162-3). The succession of the four present participles (culminating with the oddly employed «replenishing» ­ as if with food and drink: woman's true task and vocation!) shows his deep irritation. Indeed, in spite of her apparent physical feebleness, not only was Belgioioso strong, but she was a writer ­ and, therefore, a competitor, a challenger, like Fuller. More ­ and here I agree with Ann Douglas again61 ­ not only were both Fuller and Belgioioso writers, but, since they wrote about momentous events, they were in some ways writers of history, the domain in which, after rescuing his novels from the (sentimental) province of so many successful women writers, James was painstakingly trying to have them included (as histories of consciousnesses rather than having them subsumed under the domain of fantasy, of fiction).

At this point James ends the chapter by reporting a sentence from Belgioioso's biography, where Barbiera had praised Fuller for the hospital-service she performed during the Roman siege («Gloria a lei, vera amica d'Italia nostra! Gloria, o fortissima!» [wws, p. 163]). By now we know, however, that from James's point of view Barbiera must be taken with a grain of salt ­ and so must his high praise of Fuller.

I have elsewhere62 contended that in James's fiction Italians are basically seen as actors. In his judgment ­ as he wrote of Adelaide Ristori ­ Italians belonged to the race «in whom the feeling of the picturesque is a common instinct, and the gift of personal expression so ample» because they come of «a pre-eminently expressive and demonstrative race»63. Story too thought that «They [Italians] are the most naturally powerful of all actors» (wws, p. 301). Like actors, however, Italians cannot but be seen by these Americans ­ who, paradoxically, loved the theatre precisely for its power to reveal through dissimulation ­ as instrinsically false (if acting on stage was no longer disreputable, acting in real life is morally base). Besides, James claims in William Wetmore Story and His Friends that, because of their «prompt theatric sense of the monstrous actual», Italians tend «to clap upon the stage, with abounding facility and [] "awful" effect, the leading crimes of the hour» (wws, p. 118). Therefore, not only are Italians seen as false, but they are also judged as naturally prone to sensationalism. One has but to think of a minor character like the theatrical (in manners and clothing) Italian butler, Eugenio, who accompanies James across twenty-four years. In Daisy Miller (1878) and in The Wings of the Dove (1902) the sinister Eugenio presides over the death of the protagonists: two innocent American girls. Also the full-fledged Italian protagonist of The Golden Bowl (1904)64, Prince Amerigo, is a later and more developed incarnation of the melodramatic and primitive count in The Last of the Valerii: superstitious like him, Amerigo is (like everybody else in this novel) also hypocritical and manipulative.

There is another character, however, a female character, who keeps recurring in James's fiction as a dangerous paradigm of womanhood: Christina Light, married Casamassima. Of illegitimate American and Italian origins, she revealingly had a maternal English grandmother who was an actress65. Christina Light first appears in Roderick Hudson (1875) and then in The Princess Casamassima (1886). She is, by antonomasia, a femme fatale. In both novels she is said to be, above all, extraordinarily beautiful, but also terribly selfish and capricious.

Roderick Hudson was published four years after Belgioioso's death on July 5, 1871 and, therefore, after Italian political circles and the press had ­ if not discussed her personality and assessed her contribution to the Italian cause ­ inevitably, if quietly, mentioned her. And indeed James may have still heard echoes of these (whispered) comments66 when he travelled in Northern Italy a year later, in the summer of 1872.

In Roderick Hudson, Christina Light exposes the protagonist's ­ the young sculptor whose name gives the book its title ­ inner weaknesses that will finally drive him to commit suicide. In The Princess Casamassima Christina's irresponsibility is the last stroke that induces the naturally gentle Hyacinth Robinson, a book-binder of exquisite capacities, to kill himself. In both novels Christina has thus devastating effects on the artistic temperaments who fall in love with her. Yet Christina Light Casamassima's role in both novels is more complex than at first it seems.

In the earlier work she is the ideal beauty: when Roderick first sees her, he exclaims, «I don't believe she's living ­ she's a phantasm, a vapour, an illusion!» (rh, p. 95). One cannot help associating Roderick's calling Christina a «phantasm» to James's later definition of Margaret Fuller as a «ghost». But in this novel there may be more precise, if indirect, references to Fuller and to Belgioioso ­ as indeed, in many ways, their personalities seem to merge in James's mind.

Christina Light is said to have received the education of a «princess», because «she speaks three or four languages and has read several hundred French novels». After describing her as «a mixture of better and worse, of good passions and bad ­ always of passions, however», her chaperon, Madame Grandoni, maintains that she «has plenty of wit ­ also plenty of will» and adds, «whatever she is, she's neither stupid nor mean» (rh, p. 164). With this definition, James seems to anticipate by twenty-seven years Raffaello Barbiera's concluding remark in his biography of Belgioioso (the remark that the American writer will quote in William Wetmore Story and His Friends).

Besides, Rowland Mallet, the novel's central consciousness, sums up Christina Light's personality by stating, «she's intelligent and bold and free, and so awfully on the lookout for sensations» (rh, p. 297), like the two historical ladies ­ according to James's opinion of them. In his mind, Christina is evidently another self-reliant character, another version of Emerson's principle. Furthermore, like Fuller, who wanted to be «a living statue»67, Roderick Hudson dedicates a bust to Christina Light68. Moreover, after Christina is called by Roderick «a creature of moods» (rh, p. 187) and she herself says, «I'm frightfully egotistical» (rh, p. 208) and «I'm a miserable medley of vanity and folly [] I'm affected, I'm false» (rh, p. 260), it is finally Madame Grandoni who defines her as «an actress» (rh, p. 196) (two more times, in the book, she is described as such [rh, p. 297 and 410]). It is not by chance, then, that her dog is called Stenterello, like the Florentine mask in the Commedia dell'Arte. Accordingly, Christina «likes dramas, likes theatricals [] histrionics, for their own sweet sake» (rh, p. 369). Yet she is also a tragic heroine since, in the end, she will be compelled by her parents ­ who have carried on an illicit, secret liaison throughout their life ­ to marry Prince Casamassima against her will.

Like Fuller and Belgioioso, Christina Light is thus intelligent, cultivated, willful, selfish and melodramatic; besides, like Belgioioso she is beautiful and like Fuller she marries into the nobility; if, unlike the two real women, she does not have an (possibly) out of wedlock child, she herself was secretly born out of wedlock. The great difference from Fuller and Belgioioso is that in this novel she is not involved in politics. But, in the later novel that bears her name for its title, this lack of interest is overcome.

In The Princess Casamassima, Christina Light, now Casamassima ­ let us notice, incidentally, that like Belgioioso, Casamassima is a compound surname ­ lives separately (like Belgioioso) from her husband. Out of eccentricity («she must try everything; at present she's trying democracy, she's going all lengths in radicalism» [pc, p. 210])69, protagonism, excitement, and role-playing («To do something for others was not only so much more human ­ it was so much more amusing!» [pc, p. 406]), in this novel she turns into an anarchist. In the Preface, written for the New York Edition of his works in 1906 (that is, three years after William Wetmore Story and His Friends), James confesses that this character had for long been «in the vague limbo of those ghosts we have conjured but not exorcised» and that he had taken the «chance to study the obscure law under which certain of a novelist's characters [] revive for him [] like haunting ghosts»70. She is thus a ghost ­ precisely as Fuller had been in his earlier definition of her. As in Roderick Hudson, Christina Casamassima is (like Belgioioso) very beautiful: «Her beauty had an air of perfection; it astonished and lifted one up, the sight of it seemed a privilege, a reward» (pc, p. 147). Furthermore, thanks to her social and economic position she can enjoy the «perfection of her indifference to public opinion» (pc, p. 295) ­ as Belgioioso did.

Gifted with «a radiance of grace and eminence and success» (pc, p. 148)71, on one occasion Hyacinth waits for her as one would wait for «the entrance of a celebrated actress» (pc, p. 197), and when he goes to Paris «he saw of course a great many women and noticed almost all of them, especially the actresses; inwardly confronting their movement, their speech, their manner of dressing, with that of his extraordinary friend [Christina Casamassima]» (pc, p. 323). Her characterization as an actress (she is said to be performing on the «mise-en-scène of life» [pc, p. 186]) is not only sustained by James throughout the novel (the Princess speaks «in a tone which would have made the fortune of an actress if an actress could have caught it» [pc, p. 498]), but it is also insisted: the first time the reader and Hyacinth encounter her she is framed in a theatre box. And, indeed, as has been observed, «a pervasive theatricality runs through the novel»72.

Both Lionel Trilling73 and John Carlos Rowe74 have underlined the inauthenticity of this character, who is fully conventional in her being so self-centered and coquettish. She too is «a perverse version of Emersonian self-reliance», since «she "chose" to turn herself (her self) into a commodity»75, but she is also the paradigm of what women of the higher classes were supposed to be. Princess Casamassima says: «You think me affected of course and my behaviour a fearful pose; but I'm only trying to be natural» (pc, p. 397). Her bourgeois complacency in extravagance is summed up by her words, «Every one here thinks me exceedingly odd» (pc, p. 205). Also, her anarchic pretenses are, as Mark Seltzer76 has demonstrated, functional to the state of police prevailing in British society in the 1880's. In fact, not only is she conventional, but she may even be a spy77 and, thus, treacherous. Not by chance, a character asks whether she is not «a dabbler in plots and treasons» (pc, p. 307)78 ­ like, given their unsuccessful intrigues, Beatrice Cenci, Beatrice di Tenda, and, as far as political conspiracies go, like Belgioioso (who, persecuted by the Austrian police for years, in spite of her humanitarian aid to the Roman Republic lived through its pitiful end) ­ and, because of the similarity James saw between these two ladies, like Fuller.

Princess Casamassima is thus a dabbler, Belgioioso is a bounder, and Fuller is a humbug. Though different, these derogatory definitions, given by James and Hawthorne, share the element of superficiality and fraud by which both the two real women and their fictional twin-sister are invested.

Besides, since Fuller and Belgioioso never drew strict lines between genders, and often, in fact, played roles not commonly assigned to or acted by women, this element of androgyny was so present to James's mind that he gave Christina, in certain respects, a (better) double79: Hyacinth Robinson. In fact, he too would like to be an actor (he muses that «he was to go through life in a mask, in a borrowed mantle; he was to be every day and every hour an actor» [pc, p. 74]). Hyacinth's sense of living in a theatrical way is so acute that at one point he sees his situation as «a play within the play» (pc, p. 148). Furthermore, like the Princess, he is illegitimate and of mixed blood. And if she is a Princess by marriage, he is a Duke by blood. Moreover, while Christina is an aristocrat (although allegedly willing to subvert the social order), the anarchist Hyacinth is undone by his aesthetic sense that, like art, is inevitably associated with those ruling classes he initially wished to destroy (li, p. 70). Finally, as she is masculine in her defiant attitude towards society, he is feminine in his passivity, even gullibility80. At a deeper level, Rowe claims, «the Princess and Hyacinth [] share the identity of contradiction that belongs especially to those who have no direct power or authority, but it is an identity that has its ultimate source in the very ruling authorities of the culture that would displace such contradiction to "others"»81.

Let us also keep in mind that, because he is a binder82, the name of his craft is homophonic with «bounder» ­ James's definition of Belgioioso83. Besides, like Christina (and like Belgioioso, who also contributed to it), he reads the "Revue des Deux Mondes" (pc, pp. 121, 255). In addition, Hyacinth's French mother ­ who had been convicted to a life sentence for having killed her seducer, an English Duke ­ is called Florentine Vivier: improbable as Florentine is as a name, it brings to mind Florence, the city that Belgioioso loved and in which Fuller spent the last year of her life with Ossoli and their child.

The one trait that significantly distinguishes Hyacinth from Christina is his lack of opportunism. She is never as honest as he is. From this point of view it is relevant that in both novels she insists on being judged «honest», that is, she insists on people taking her by her word ­ as one, at the theatre, does with actors. But, as has been maintained, she is affected by a «false seriousness» (li, p. 92). Oximoronyc as this definition inherently is, it bespeaks her incapacity to even know herself and also «the inconstance and coquetry that the patriarchal culture idealizes as woman and in which it finds the inverted image of its own authority»84.

In this novel, Fuller's and Belgioioso's hunger for fame is also, possibly, evoked when Hyacinth (as Christina Casamassima's double ­ but also, consequently, as Fuller's and Belgioioso's) confides that «he was haunted with the dream of literary distinction» (pc, p. 77).

Revealingly, when Hyacinth goes to see Christina Casamassima to give her the book of poetry he has beautifully bound, he cannot find her, but he keeps the book as «a virtual proof and gage ­ as if a ghost in vanishing from sight had left a palpable relic» (pc, p. 207; italics mine). James's later specific definition of Fuller appears here for the first time.

Although similar traits inform Fuller, Belgioioso, and Christina Light Casamassima, let us keep in mind what James wrote, when alluding to Fuller as the model for Zenobia in Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance: «There is no strictness in the representation by novelists of persons who have struck them in life [...]. The original gives hints, but the writer does what he likes with them, and imports new elements into the picture»85. Certainly, James did introduce new elements in portraying Christina Casamassima, but Fuller's and Belgioioso's imprints may be found in the female protagonist of the two novels written temporally so far apart.

With her complex identity, in which smartness and defiance were intertwined, Fuller, to be sure, haunted him.


1. V. L. Parrington, Main Currents in American Thought, 3 vols., Harcourt, Brace and Co., New York 1930, ii, p. 426, «no other woman of her generation in America is so well worth recalling». Parrington, however, appreciated her personality better than her writings.

2. See C. Giorcelli, La Repubblica romana di Margaret Fuller: tra visione politica e impegno etico, in S. Antonelli, D. Fiorentino, G. Monsagrati (a cura di), Gli Americani e la Repubblica Romana nel 1849, Gangemi, Roma 2000, pp. 53-88.

3. The Letters of Margaret Fuller, 6 vols., R. N. Hudspeth (ed.), Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London 1983-1994, vi, p. 373 (to Marcus Spring, Rome, February 1, 1848).

4. Joan von Mehren makes this speculation in her essay in this same issue.

5. J. J. Deiss, The Roman Years of Margaret Fuller, Thomas and Crowell, New York 1969, p. 111; B. G. Chevigny, The Woman and the Myth. Margaret Fuller's Life and Writings, Northeastern University Press, Boston 1994, p. 388. In the summer of 1847, thanks to Costanza Arconati Visconti, Fuller had met Alessandro Manzoni.

6. Belgioioso appointed Fuller «regolatrice» of the Fatebenefratelli Hospital with a note written on April 30, 1849 (E. Detti, Margaret Fuller e i suoi corrispondenti, Le Monnier, Firenze 1942, p. 352). She signed her note: Christine Trivulzio of Belgioioso.

7. By this time, Fuller had, perhaps, acquired her title of nobility ­ even if, with one exception, the world would only begin to know about her liaison with Marquis Giovanni Ossoli and about their child in late June 1849. The exception was Caroline Sturgis Tappan (The Letters of Margaret Fuller, cit., v, p. 208 [to Caroline Sturgis Tappan, unspecified location, March 16, 1849]). Lewis Cass, the American chargé d'affairs, Emelyn Wetmore Story, and Costanza Arconati Visconti were among the first whom Fuller contacted on this subject. Only at the end of August she mastered the courage to let her mother know about her personal engagements.

8. When it came to writing in Italian, her proficiency was scarce.

9. She wrote Essai sur la formation du dogme catholique, in 4 vols. (1842).

10. M. Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century, Norton and Co., New York 1971, p. 116.

11. See J. von Mehren, Minerva and the Muse: A Life of Margaret Fuller, University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst 1994.

12. The Letters of Margaret Fuller, cit., v, p. 42 (to Caroline Sturgis Tappan, Rome, Jan. 11, 1848).

13. Quoted in B. Archer Brombert, Cristina Belgiojoso, Dall'Oglio, Milano 1982, p. 97.

14. This is Archer Brombert's thesis in Ibid.

15. C. N. Gattey, Cristina di Belgiojoso, Vallecchi, Firenze 1974, p. 164, «those women and girls of the Roman streets had no moral sense, and in time of peace led a disorderly and selfish life, but in those circumstances they showed redeeming qualities» (translation mine).

16. L. Wellisz, The Friendship of Margaret Fuller d'Ossoli and Adam Mickiewicz, Polish Book Importing, New York 1947, p. 24, «The relationships which suit you are those which develop and free your spirit, responding to the legitimate needs of your organism» (August 3rd, 1847).

17. R. W. Emerson, W. H. Channing, J. F. Clarke (eds.), Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, 2 vols., Phillips, Sampson and Company, Boston 1852, ii, p. 58.

18. Giuseppe Mazzini wrote that Belgioioso was «una donna che per zelo patriottico, doni di intelligenza, sincerità delle proprie opinioni, e tolleranza di quelle altrui, merita, anche quando è in disaccordo con noi, molta stima e molto affetto da parte nostra» («a woman who for patriotic zeal, intelligence, courage of her opinions, and tolerance for those of others, deserves, even when she disagrees with us, our esteem and affection»; translation mine) (Archer Brombert, Cristina Belgiojoso, cit., p. 244).

19. Fuller met Adam Mickiewicz in February 1847.

20. R. Barbiera, La Principessa Belgioioso, i suoi amici e nemici, il suo tempo,Treves, Milano 1902, pp. 426-7, «this woman of temperament and of strong, domineering will [] who wore austere turbans like a Domenichino sybil sometimes irritates like an enigma []. In her, extravagances, braveries, mistakes; never meanness» (translation mine).

21. First published as The Great Lawsuit in "The Dial" (1843).

22. Cristina di Belgiojoso, Della condizione attuale delle donne, in "Nuova Antologia," 1 Gennaio 1866.

23. She wrote: Etude sur l'histoire de la Lombardie (1846), Histoire de la Maison de Savoie (1860), Osservazioni sullo stato attuale dell'Italia e sul suo avvenire (1868) and Sulla moderna politica internazionale (1869).

24. See: Margaret Fuller, "These Sad but Glorious Days". Dispatches from Europe, 1846-1850, eds. L. J. Reynolds, S. Belasco Smith, Yale University Press, New Haven 1991.

25. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, whom Fuller met in Florence in 1849, was put off by her American fellow writer's fiery participation in the Italian Risorgimento cause.

26. Fuller, "These Sad but Glorious Days". Dispatches from Europe, 1846-1850, cit., p. 3; the editors report this advertisement that appeared on the "New-York Weekly Tribune" of Jan. 23, 1850: «S. Margaret Fuller [] has nearly completed [] an elaborate History of the late Revolutionary Movements in Italy».

27. Cristina di Belgiojoso, Scènes de la vie turque, Paris, 1858. While in Turkey she barely escaped death when she was stubbed five times by an Italian servant who had been rejected by the teacher of her daughter.

28. See Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, cit., i, p. 227, and ii, p. 36.

29. J. Steele, "A Tale of Mizraim": A Forgotten Story by Margaret Fuller, in "The New England Quarterly," 62, n. 1 (March 1989), pp. 82-104.

30. Gattey, Cristina di Belgiojoso, cit., p. 53.

31. See C. Capper, Margaret Fuller: An American Romantic Life, i, The Private Years, Oxford University Press, New York 1992.

32. As has been written, «She [Belgioioso] was, in a sense, a sophisticated, aristocratic, strangely beautiful, European Margaret Fuller. Or, alternatively, she was the fantasy Margaret Fuller of the real Margaret Fuller» (Deiss, The Roman Years of Margaret Fuller, cit., p. 120).

33. It is, perhaps, indicative of Hawthorne's temperament that he did not like Mozier (1812-1870) as an artist and yet he was only too happy to report his malignant gossip. In her 1871 selection from Hawthorne's notebooks, his wife, Sophia, suppressed these passages which in 1884 were published by their son, Julian.

34. N. Hawthorne, The French and Italian Notebooks, ed. T. Woodson, Ohio State University Press, Columbus 1980, p. 155.

35. Ivi, p. 157.

36. Ivi, p. 156.

37. See the essay by Adrienne Kalfopoulou in this same issue.

38. In this first part of his autobiography James reports that as a child he heard of Fuller's death in the waters in front of New York from Washington Irving and that at an exhibition he saw a painting of her that was judged unfair to the original by those who knew her (H. James, Autobiography, ed. F. W. Dupee, Princeton University Press, Princeton 1983, p. 37). In both cases James thus underlines the pathetic side of her life and circumstances.

39. J. C. Rowe, Swept Away: Henry James, Margaret Fuller, and "The Last of the Valerii", in Readers in History. Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the Contexts of Response, ed. J. L. Machor, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 1993, p. 47.

40. One has but to think of his short story The Velvet Glove, in which he indirectly makes fun of Wharton (A. R. Tintner, James's Mock Epic: "The Velvet Glove", Edith Wharton, and Other Late Tales, in "Modern Fiction Studies", 17, 1971-72, pp. 483-99; J. F. Blackall, Henry and Edith: "The Velvet Glove" as an "In" Joke, in "The Henry James Review," 7, n. 1, 1985, pp. 21-5).

41. H. James, Hawthorne, Macmillan and Co, London 1879, p. 70.

42. Ivi, p. 78.

43. Ivi, p. 79.

44. Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, cit., ii, p. 160.

45. J. Ward Howe, Margaret Fuller, Roberts Bros., Boston 1883, p. 85.

46. Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, cit., ii, pp. 311-3. As Douglas put it, «Necessarily and helplessly histrionic, she [Fuller] strove desperately to inhabit and authenticate the postures she assumed for survival» (A. Douglas, Margaret Fuller and the Search for History: A Biographical Study, in "Women's Studies," 4, 1976, p. 42).

47. H. James, William Wetmore Story and His Friends, 2 vols, Houghton, Mifflin and Co., Boston 1903, i, pp. 93-163. Henceforth, page references to this book and this volume will be given in parentheses in the text, preceded by wws.

48. Douglas, Margaret Fuller and the Search for History: A Biographical Study, cit., p. 59.

49. James Russell Lowell (1819-91) was a poet, critic, and professor of modern languages at Harvard. By 1849 he had changed his opinion on her, as shown in the article he published in National Antislavery Standard, «We learn from private letters that, the last American left in Rome, she [Fuller] was doing her duty in hospitals as a nurse [] Women have been sainted in Rome for less» (quoted in Chevigny, The Woman and the Myth, cit., p. 403).

50. A tragedy dedicated to Beatrice Cenci was written by Juljusz Slowacki (1809-1849) in 1839.

51. This story had also been set for the stage by Carlo Tedaldi Flores (1793-1829) in 1825. Felice Romani (1788-1865) wrote the libretto for Bellini's opera.

52. The name is culturally misleading since the most famous Beatrice of all times is Dante's "angel woman"; therefore these women seem destined to disguise their true (dark and ambiguous) nature under this emblematically charged name.

53. Beatrice di Tenda lived from 1370 to 1418; being left a rich widow by captain Facino Cane, she married Filippo Maria Visconti. Accused of adultery and of plotting against him, she was sentenced to death with her alleged lover. Hawthorne called the female protagonist of one of his best short stories, Rappaccini's Daughter, Beatrice.

54. Cfr. C. Giorcelli, Adelaide Ristori sulle scene britanniche e irlandesi, in "Teatro Archivio", 5, settembre 1981, pp. 81-155; Ead., Ristori on the American Scene, in "Voices in Italian Americana" 3, n. 1, (Spring 1992), pp. 29-40. Adelaide Ristori (1822-1906) was the only Italian actress to attain international reputation before Eleonora Duse.

55. In her repertoire one finds, for instance: Lady Macbeth, Mary Stuart, Elizabeth, Marie Antoinette.

56. This is probably a mistake on James' or Story's part, since the only other drama by Scribe and Legouvé that Ristory played was Adriana Lecouvreur. The actress, however, introduced this work in her repertoire only in 1855 (T. Viziano, Il palcoscenico di Adelaide Ristori, Bulzoni, Roma 2000, p. 279).

57. Well known is Jameson's thesis according to which James organized his "point of view" through the metaphor and the ideal of theatrical representation (F. Jameson, The Political Unconscious. Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act, Cornell University Press, Ithaca 1981, p. 231).

58. Hawthorne, The French and Italian Notebooks, cit., p. 156.

59. Ibid.

60. James, Hawthorne, cit., p. 78.

61. Douglas, Margaret Fuller and the Search for History: A Biographical Study, cit., p. 38.

62. C. Giorcelli, Henry James e l'Italia, Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, Roma 1968, pp. 119-46.

63. H. James, Madame Ristori, in The Scenic Art. Notes on Acting and the Drama: 1872-1901, ed. A. Wade, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick 1948, p. 28. This review was written in 1875, when Ristori was making her third tour of the United States with her company.

64. H. James, The Golden Bowl, Methuen and Co., London 1956, p. 174, «he [Amerigo] yet almost resembled an actor who, between his moments on the stage, revisits his dressing-room and, before the glass, pressed by his need of effect, retouches his make-up».

65. H. James, Roderick Hudson, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1907, p. 161. Henceforth page references will be given in parentheses in the text, preceded by rh.

66. Belgioioso's biographers insist on the fact that her death was little commented upon in the papers. See, for instance, Gattey, Cristina di Belgiojoso, cit., p. 257 and Barbiera, La Principessa Belgiojoso, cit., p. 426.

67. Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, cit., i, p. 238.

68. Belgioioso was portrayed several times and by such artists as Francesco Hayez and Henri Lehmann.

69. This is another description of the Princess, «her ladyship was an original, an original with force» (H. James, The Princess Casamassima, John Lehmann, London 1950, p. 176). Henceforth, page references will be given in parentheses in the text, preceded by pc.

70. Ivi, p. xviii (italics mine).

71. Let us not forget that this novel was written when James had already started thinking of his next one, The Tragic Muse, focused on the rise of a great actress.

72. M. Seltzer, "The Princess Casamassina": Realism and the Fantasy of Surveillance, in "Nineteenth Century Fiction," 35, n. 4, (March 1981), p. 519.

73. L. Trilling, The Liberal Imagination. Essays on Literature and Society, The Viking Press, New York 1950. Henceforth, page references to this book will be given in parentheses in the text, preceded by li.

74. J. C. Rowe, The Theoretical Dimensions of Henry James, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison 1984.

75. Ivi, pp. 167-8.

76. Seltzer, "The Princess Casamassima": Realism and the Fantasy of Surveillance, cit.

77. Ivi, p. 524; also Rowe, The Theoretical Dimensions of Henry James, cit., p. 181.

78. As Rowe maintains, the purpose of this dilettantism «is to constitute the "other" of this stable social order», because such «others» represent «nothing so much as the power of control, ideological repression, that not only permits them to exist but has in a very real sense "invented" them as characters» (Ivi, p. 175).

79. There are several other "doubles" in the novel such as «day and night, conscious and unconscious, manifest and latent psychic contents, master and servant» (Ivi, p. 185).

80. Ivi, p. 179.

81. Ivi, p. 168.

82. As Trilling pointed out, «at that time anarchism did not attract factory workers so much as the members of the skilled and relatively sedentary trades: tailors, shoemakers, weavers, cabinetmakers, and ornamental-metal workers [] bookbinding was [] at once a fine and a mechanic art» (li, p. 71).

83. It may be a bit far-fetched, but Hawthorne's definition of Fuller comes up in the Princess's words as referred to Hyacinth's blind vow to Hoffendahl, «It's too absurd, it's too vague. It's like some silly humbug in a novel» (pc, p. 414; italics mine).

84. Rowe, The Theoretical Dimensions of Henry James, cit., p. 167.

85. James, Hawthorne, cit., p. 135.