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Posted January 30, 2012
More than gorgeous prose
Frankly, I wasn’t too interested in Transcendentalists and didn’t know much about Margaret Fuller before reading this. I bought it because Eden’s Outcasts, the author’s previous book, was a favorite (and won a much-deserved Pulitzer Prize for Biography). So I settled in for a nice winter’s read—page after page of prize-winning prose.
I got that.
But after a few dozen pages of reliably gorgeous writing, I realized that Mr. Matteson was using his 19th-century heroine to open debate on very 21-century issues: why accomplishment in a woman is invariably perceived as arrogance; the power of a parent to push a child’s development; intellectual disparity between partners; how “plain women” were perceived then and now.
Mr. Matteson deserves another Pulitzer.
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Posted June 26, 2012
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