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Margaret Fuller: A New American Life Hardcover – March 12, 2013
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"Megan Marshall gives new meaning to close reading—from words on a page she conjures a fantastically rich inner life, a meld of body, mind, and soul. Drawing on the letters and diaries of Margaret Fuller and her circle, she has brought us a brave, visionary, sensual, tough-minded intellectual, a ‘first woman’ who was unique yet stood for all women. A masterful achievement by a great American writer and scholar.” — Evan Thomas, author of Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World
"Megan Marshall’s Margaret Fuller: A New American Life is the best single volume ever written on Fuller. Carefully researched and beautifully composed, the book brings Fuller back to life in all her intellectual vivacity and emotional intensity. Marshall’s Fuller overwhelms the reader, just as Fuller herself overwhelmed everyone she met. A masterpiece of empathetic biography, this is the book Fuller herself would have wanted. You will not be able to put it down." — Robert D. Richardson, author of Emerson: The Mind on Fire
"Fuller’s was a great life, flush with drama, and Megan Marshall’s new biography rises to it in ways small and large . . . This one pitches Ms. Marshall into the front rank of American biographers . . . 'Margaret Fuller' is as seductive as it is impressive . . . In Ms. Marshall, Fuller has found what feels like her ideal biographer." -- New York Times
"The book's success comes from the way that Marshall allows the reader to understand and empathize with Fuller in her plight." — Publishers Weekly
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Margaret had a malformed spine -- one shoulder was much higher than the other -- crippling migraines, painful nearsighted vision problems, short height (five feet, two inches), and occasional clinical depressions. She was also not pretty, so when she fell in love with men, they wanted to be "friends." Her family lost all their money when her father died in her late twenties, leaving her to support five siblings and her mother.
But instead of succumbing to her problems, Margaret simply tried harder. She eventually became the respected author of one of the first books on women's rights and a foreign correspondent in Europe for an American newspaper.
Once in Europe, Margaret fell in love with an Italian nobleman who adored her. They had an affair, a pregnancy, a marriage and a baby, in that order. It seemed as if Margaret had finally achieved all of her life goals, when she and her husband and baby were killed in a shipwreck on their way home to America shortly after Margaret's 40th birthday. I felt so badly losing her at a young age -- I was so happy for her successes. Her story will inspire anyone who has struggled with disabilities and prejudice.
The author has also written another text, "The Peabody Sisters," about three women from Margaret's social circles who also broke out of the confining roles that imprisoned women in that era.
The life of Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) is not a tale that can be told simply. She was a complex and busy woman, and your head can start throbbing, just reading about her. Margaret was a voracious reader, a talented writer, a ground-breaking feminist, a colleague of the American transcendentalists, a magazine editor, a journalist bent on social justice, a foreign correspondent, a nurse, and an expatriate who spent her last years in Europe, where she eventually gained a husband (or at least, a lover) and nine months later, a son. This mostly home-schooled "professional character" (her own words) and self-taught formidable genius could not always conceal her super-sensitive soul. And for most of her adult life, she had to seek deliberate success with her writing / editing / teaching / conversing skills in order to make enough money for her family to survive. Intellectual creativity and financial security can indeed be tough masters to accommodate simultaneously.
Much can be learned about Margaret by studying her relationships: with her father, with her mother, with male friends, with female friends, with intimate companions, and even with herself.Read more ›
Margaret Fuller was the lynchpin of the movement, being one of the only women to work outside the home, support her family of origin without the aid of a legacy, a university education, or a husband. She taught what she had learned--of the classics, of languages, and philosophy--in the days when a woman couldn't teach (or study) at the university level, through classes she called "Conversations," challenging her female students to engage their minds with more than needlework and household chores. She was a close friend and confidante of Ralph Waldo Emerson and helped to establish the Transcendentalist movement by being the first editor of THE DIAL, an intellectual magazine. When she was not paid for that work, she took a job as a reporter and writer on Horace Greeley's NEW YORK TRIBUNE, and paved the way for foreign correspondents by submitting articles to him after she moved abroad, even reporting on conditions in war-torn Italy in 1848.
She was courageous and wise, and lived the life of a "new woman" before the term had been coined. Megan Marshall's book is detailed and moving, giving us the insights that made Fuller what she was--a forerunner to the women who came a century later and probably don't even know her name.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There is a good book that could be written from Ms. Marshall's heroic research. But this is not it. It has more than a whiff of a Women's Studies term paper. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amoryblaine
It is acceptable. Disappointed in the quality of paper used, but that isn't something a distributor than control.Published 3 months ago by elaine k shumaker
What a shame that she is so little remembered or honored; she was so brilliant and forward-thinking. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Marilyn M. Hare
While I admired Ms. Marshall's extensive research and her ability to weave disparate letters and writings to create a complete picture of Margaret Fuller, it was often difficult to... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
A very detailed and a fascinating account about a woman we should know more about.Published 4 months ago by Elyse Douglas
An incredible untold story - Her life ... just as important as any of the transcendentalists.Published 5 months ago by Victoria Tierney
It took me a little while to engage this bio, but it builds momentum by mid-chapters and then carried be at a furious pace to the end. It has great drama and a powerful ending. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Patrick S McWhortor
In my opinion, I don't care for the author's style of so many quotation marks around sentence fragments and phrases, and with no notes as to the source. Read morePublished 5 months ago by BikingBetty