Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (March 12, 2013)
From an early age, Margaret Fuller dazzled New England’s intelligent elite. Her famous Conversations changed women’s sense of how they could think and live; her editorship of the Dial shaped American Romanticism. Now, Megan Marshall, whose acclaimed The Peabody Sisters “discovered” three fascinating women, has done it again: no biography of Fuller has made her ideas so alive or her life so moving.
Marshall tells the story of how Fuller, tired of Boston, accepted Horace Greeley’s offer to be the New York Tribune’s front-page columnist. The move unleashed a crusading concern for the urban poor and the plight of prostitutes, and a hunger for passionate experience. In Italy as a foreign correspondent, Fuller took a secret lover; wrote dispatches on the brutal 1849 Siege of Rome; and gave birth to a son.
When all three died in a shipwreck off Fire Island shortly after Fuller’s 40th birthday, the sense and passion of her life’s work were eclipsed by tragedy and scandal. Marshall’s inspired account brings an American heroine back to indelible life.
“A lively, intuitive study of a remarkable American character.” — Kirkus Reviews
“The book’s success comes from the way that Marshall allows the reader to understand and empathize with Fuller in her plight.” — Publishers Weekly
“[Marshall] inhabits Fuller’s dramatic, oft-told story with unique intimacy by virtue of her fluency in and judicious quoting of Fuller’s extraordinarily vivid letters . . . Marshall brings stirring historical and psychological insights to Fuller’s complicated relationship with Emerson and the other transcendentalists, her journey west and response to the horrific plight of Native Americans, her gripping dispatches on social ills as a front-page columnist for Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune, and her triumphs in Europe as “America’s first female foreign correspondent.” How spectacularly detailed and compassionate Marshall’s chronicle is of Fuller’s scandalous love for an Italian soldier, the birth of their son, her heroic coverage of the 1849 siege of Rome, and her and her family’s tragic deaths when their ship wrecks in sight of the American coast. A magnificent biography of a revolutionary thinker, witness, and writer.” — Booklist starred review
“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
“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
MEGAN MARSHALL is the author of The Peabody Sisters, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic, New York Times Book Review, and Slate. A recipient of Guggenheim and NEH fellowships, Marshall teaches in the MFA program at Emerson College.
Megan Marshall’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, April 15th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, April 17th: A Bookish Affair
Monday, April 22nd: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Wednesday, April 24th: So Many Books, So Little Time
Monday, April 29th: My Bookshelf
Monday, May 6th: The Feminist Texican [Reads]
Wednesday, May 8th: Unabridged Chick
Monday, May 13th: Broken Teepee
Monday, May 20th: Suko’s Notebook
Tuesday, May 28th: Books in the Burbs