Margaret Fuller: A New American Life

Margaret Fuller: A New American Life

Megan Marshall

Language: English

Pages: 496

ISBN: 054424561X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography

"Thoroughly absorbing, lively . . . Fuller, so misunderstood in life, richly deserves the nuanced, compassionate portrait Marshall paints." — Boston Globe

Pulitzer Prize finalist Megan Marshall recounts the trailblazing life of Margaret Fuller: Thoreau’s first editor, Emerson’s close friend, daring war correspondent, tragic heroine. After her untimely death in a shipwreck off Fire Island, the sense and passion of her life’s work were eclipsed by scandal. Marshall’s inspired narrative brings her back to indelible life.

Whether detailing her front-page New-York Tribune editorials against poor conditions in the city’s prisons and mental hospitals, or illuminating her late-in-life hunger for passionate experience—including a secret affair with a young officer in the Roman Guard—Marshall’s biography gives the most thorough and compassionate view of an extraordinary woman. No biography of Fuller has made her ideas so alive or her life so moving.

“Megan Marshall’s brilliant Margaret Fuller brings us as close as we are ever likely to get to this astonishing creature. She rushes out at us from her nineteenth century, always several steps ahead, inspiring, heartbreaking, magnificent.” — Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity


"Shaping her narrative like a novel, Marshall brings the reader as close as possible to Fuller’s inner life and conveys the inspirational power she has achieved for several generations of women." — New Republic















with his own Beatrice—Cary Sturgis—by way of a poem in his recent collection, “Give All to Love”: Obey thy heart; Friends, kindred, days, Estate, good-fame, Plans, credit, and the Muse,— Nothing refuse. The poem began as a hymn to Fourierist “passional attraction,” yet in the end it sounded the notes of the Concord Puritan’s Vita Nuova— Cling with life to the maid; But when the surprise, First vague shadow of surmise Flits across her bosom young, Of a joy

Fuller in Her Own Time (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2008), p. xxiii. [>] disdain for “mediocrity”: OMI, p. 64. [>] “know as much”: Margaret Fuller Ossoli, p. 25. [>] “Each was”: OMI, pp. 103–4. [>] “never rested”: OMI, p. 104. [>] “be capable”: OMI, p. 78. [>] “should not”: OMI, p. 64. [>] “marked the very dawn”: Thomas Wentworth Higginson, quoted in Deborah Pickman Clifford, Crusader for Freedom: A Life of Lydia Maria Child (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992), p. 41. [>] “restless

“so much”: SOL, p. 3; FLIII, p. 131. [>] “no escape”: SOL, p. 3. [>] “hordes” of immigrants: MF journal, quoted in CFII, p. 125. [>] “life-blood rushes”: SOL, p. 19. [>] “for a plaything”: SOL, pp. 6–7. [>] “the conspiring”: SOL, p. 9. [>] “aboriginal population”: RWE to Martin Van Buren, April 23, 1838, published in the Daily National Intelligencer, Washington, May 14, 1838, and the Yeoman’s Gazette, Concord, May 19, 1838. [>] “real old”: FLIII, p. 131. [>] “glut the steamboat”: MF

Sturgis), [>], [>], [>], [>], [>] Hooper, Robert, [>] Hooper, Sam, [>] Horne, Richard Henry, [>] House of the Seven Gables, The (Hawthorne), [>] Howe, Samuel Gridley, [>], [>] Howitt, Anna, [>] Howitt, William and Mary, [>]–[>], [>] Hughes, John Joseph (bishop of New York), [>] Hugo, Victor, [>] Huidekoper, Anna, [>], [>] Huidekoper, Harm Jan, [>], [>] Hurlbert, William, [>] Hymns to the Night (Novalis), [>] Indians Emerson protests treatment of, [>], [>] “Flying Pigeon,”

of all, he may have wished to pay suit and to contend. Margaret answered frankly, almost imperiously, with a bold admission of religious doubt, accompanied by a highhanded dismissal of anyone who didn’t share her skepticism: “I have determined not to form settled opinions at present. Loving or feeble natures need a positive religion, a visible refuge, a protection . . . But mine is not such.” As a child, Margaret had thrilled to tales of Greek and Roman conquests; the Aeneid was her text, not

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