The Lives of Margaret Fuller by John Matteson
A Biography

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As Mr. Matteson concludes, that radical, liberating idea—and the example of Fuller's own life—may be her best legacy to future generations of Americans.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

“Psychologically rich. . . . Matteson’s book restores the heroism of [Fuller’s] life and work.”—The New Yorker


A brilliant writer and a fiery social critic, Margaret Fuller (1810–1850) was perhaps the most famous American woman of her generation. Outspoken and quick-witted, idealistic and adventurous, she became the leading female figure in the transcendentalist movement, wrote a celebrated column of literary and social commentary for Horace Greeley’s newspaper, and served as the first foreign correspondent for an American newspaper. While living in Europe she fell in love with an Italian nobleman, with whom she became pregnant out of wedlock. In 1848 she joined the fight for Italian independence and, the following year, reported on the struggle while nursing the wounded within range of enemy cannons. Amid all these strivings and achievements, she authored the first great work of American feminism: Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Despite her brilliance, however, Fuller suffered from self-doubt and was plagued by ill health. John Matteson captures Fuller’s longing to become ever better, reflected by the changing lives she led.
 

About John Matteson

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John Matteson holds doctoral degrees from Harvard and Columbia Universities. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Biography for Eden's Outcasts and is the author of The Lives of Margaret Fuller. He is a distinguished professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, where he lives.
 
Published January 23, 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company. 529 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, History. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Lives of Margaret Fuller
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

NY Times

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Reviewed by MARY BETH NORTON on Jan 20 2012

John Matteson likes and admires Margaret Fuller. His readers too will admire her spirit, intellect and courage...Whether he will have also convinced them to like her is another matter.

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WSJ online

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Reviewed by Melanie Kirkpatrick on Jan 21 2012

As Mr. Matteson concludes, that radical, liberating idea—and the example of Fuller's own life—may be her best legacy to future generations of Americans.

Read Full Review of The Lives of Margaret Fuller:... | See more reviews from WSJ online

LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Laura Skandera Trombley on Feb 05 2012

In the midst of all this detail, Fuller chats with Carlyle, meets Wordsworth, is intrigued by George Sand, hears Chopin play as his guest and is friendly with Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

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