Margaret Fuller: An American Romantic Life

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Filled with dramatic, ironic, and sometimes tragic turns, this superb biography captures the story of one of America's most extraordinary figures, producing at once the best life of Fuller ever written, and one of the great biographies in American history. In Volume II, Charles Capper illuminates Fuller's "public years," focusing on her struggles to establish her identity as an influential intellectual woman in the Romantic Age. He brings to life Fuller's dramatic mixture of inward struggles, intimate social life, and deep engagements with the movements of her time. He describes how Fuller struggled to reconcile high avant-garde cultural ideals and Romantic critical methods with democratic social and political commitments, and how she strove to articulate a cosmopolitan vision for her nation's culture and politics. Capper also offers fresh and often startlingly new treatments of Fuller's friendships with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Carlyle, and Giuseppe Mazzini, in addition to many others.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This long-awaited second volume of Capper's Bancroft Prize–winning biography of Fuller fulfills all expectations. Capper follows Fuller's increasing literary fame and her travels to the American West and to Europe; he also recovers her thinking on topics ranging from religion to "the woman question." Fuller emerges as a proto-modernist, someone who "managed to slip more completely than any other intellectual of her generation the leash of Victorian repressions and evasions." Fuller articulated a radically Transcendental critique of classical Christianity, arguing that if men and women did not interpret the Bible "by the freedom of their own souls," they would render the Bible untrue. Capper offers a nuanced and sophisticated reading of Fuller's tracts on gender, which he says have important philosophical and literary qualities. He treats Fuller's personal life as well, chronicling her struggles with finances, her relationship with Emerson and her affair with an Italian partisan 10 years her junior. Debate has raged for 150 years about whether Fuller and Giovanni Angelo Ossoli actually married or whether their son was illegitimate. Capper cautiously concludes that they likely did marry in 1848. Capper has crafted both an intimate life and a subtle analysis of Fuller's work. 36 b&w illus. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Almost 15 years after the publication of his Bancroft Prize-winning first volume, Margaret Fuller: An American Romantic Life, Capper (history, Boston Univ.) returns to Fuller's final decade. He begins the narrative briskly in 1840 with Fuller's tenure as editor of the transcendentalist journal Dial, then follows her life through her later stints as a travel writer, critic, and poet. Fuller reflects her era but always remains on the cutting edge of philosophical thought as a recognized and respected female intellectual of the Romantic Age. Fans of the earlier book will especially enjoy Capper's insights into Fuller's friendships with Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, George Sand, and other literary giants. While lengthy and extremely detailed, this narrative of a fascinating woman, complete with extensive notes, is very readable. Highly recommended.
—Jan Brue Enright

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195063134
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/11/2007
  • Series: Margaret Fuller an American Romantic Lif
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 672
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 2.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Capper is Professor of History at Boston University. In addition to writing the acclaimed first volume of Margaret Fuller: An American Romantic Life, he is coeditor of The American Intellectual Tradition and the journal Modern Intellectual History.

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Table of Contents

Preface     ix
Acknowledgments     xix
Transcendental Editor     3
Romantic Recoveries     44
Liberal Awakenings     81
Virgin Lands     123
Concords and Discords     158
New York Star     194
Young America's Critic     234
Ambassador of the World     279
Risorgimento     320
Year of Revolutions     363
Foreign Correspondence     402
States of Siege     426
Florence Exile     459
Dark Passages     498
Abbreviations     521
Notes     529
Index     625
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