MARGARET FULLER: A New American Life ~Megan Marshall
MARGARET FULLER is an American Heroine. Born in Massachusetts in 1810, she was a woman very much ahead of her time. She is the first born of 9 children (2 died in infancy) and her father, a politician and lawyer, was determined that she know how to think and analyze information and the world. He home schooled Margaret and taught her to read several languages and Greek Mythology, until he felt she needed a finishing school to make a good marriage. He did his teaching and drills from Washington DC with no cell phone or computer – only massive amounts of study and letters!
Margaret Fuller was considered plain and brilliant, a genius, and her conversations were deep and intelligent. She was not afraid to express her opinion and ideas and the write dissertations from her study and discussions. When her father died she was just 18 she took over the care of her younger siblings, and teaching them. She taught school and was a governess and had a number of male friends over the years in which she could debate and draw conclusions; projecting future outcomes.
One of her early writing jobs was as editor of THE DIAL a famous magazine of the intellectual elite. She wrote a great many of the articles for the magazine and edited the work of Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and other famous intellectuals of the Enlightenment Period in New England. As the reigning intellectual of the day Emerson was often out- shined by Fuller. She was too poor to have made a trip to Europe for study, although she got there by being the first foreign correspondent for the New York – Tribune, Horace Greeley’s newspaper. She covered the 1840’s revolutions in Europe and in Rome. The list of her acquaintances looks like a “Who’s – Who” of the European literary elite.
I related to MARGARET FULLER and found the book very difficult to put down. I often read until my eyes were tried and the print seemed too small to find focus. She was considered odd in her community because of her intellect. She was often lonely and wanted for someone to talk with and debate her ideas. The men seemed stuck in their pursuits and generation of new concepts; too bound in their ideas and so she, being in need of financially supporting her family, began discussion groups of women called THE CONVERSATIONS and she took the groups of women through the steps necessary to think and discuss and produce great thoughts on their own. She rendered change through education. I too often hunger for great conversation and discussion, and since the passing of my father, I have met few people who would like to join me – especially men.
As a front page editorial writer for the Tribune, Fuller went to the prisons and shared the stories of that experience, the plight of the urban poor, and the prostitutes of the city. Her articles were well received and brilliantly written. When in Rome covering the Siege in 1849, she found a young man who cared for her; she married and gave birth to a son.
When her child was two years old and Margaret Fuller was just turned 40, she packed up her family and headed home. The ship ran aground in a brutal storm, and all three were drowned. “ Her life’s work was eclipsed by tragedy and scandal.”
Once again I am grateful for TLC online books tours and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers for sending this book to me for review. For some reason I did not know about MARGARET FULLER and that is rather amazing because Emerson, Thoreau, and the Alcott family of the Enlightenment period in New England figured prominently in my Thesis research and writing. This is a well-researched biography of an important woman in the history of the USA and development of women’s rights. I want to share this book with my three daughters and all the women that I know.
There is a giveaway from the publishers for this book for a great comment. Do you like to read historic biography? Do you believe this heroine might speak to you in the present tense?
Megan Marshall, a detailed and gifted writer, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for her book – The Peabody Sisters – and she teaches at Emerson College. I believe folks will enjoy reading MARGARET FULLER.