Margaret Fuller: A New American Life

MargaretFullerMargaret Fuller: A New American Life
Megan Marshall
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,  501 pages
Kindle Edition  $2.99,  Amazon Hardcover  $21.83, Amazon Paperback  $11.87

Anyone who has read about the American Transcendentalists knows Margaret Fuller, a friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson and editor of The Dial, the short-lived journal of the Transcendentalist movement. But most histories of the movement tend to focus on the men, Emerson, Thoreau, and Bronson Alcott, perhaps giving short shrift to Fuller and other women, such as Elizabeth Peabody,  in the movement.

It is a good thing, then to have this biography, which describes not only Fuller’s role in the Transcendentalist movement, but her early life with her disciplinarian father, her sojourn to the Midwest (then thought of as simply the West), her time in New York writing for Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune, and her journey to Europe where she fell in love with an Italian and had a child with him.

Anyone who knows this history is aware that Fuller died in a shipwreck on her return from Europe, just hundreds of yards offshore with her partner and son. For anyone interested in this period of American history or the history of the Transcendentalist circle this is worthwhile reading. It fills in many of the gaps in Fuller’s life that the general histories tend to omit.

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