Margaret Fuller, Wandering Pilgrim

Margaret Fuller, Wandering Pilgrim

by Meg Murray
Pub. Date:
University of Georgia Press


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Margaret Fuller, Wandering Pilgrim

“How is it that I seem to be this Margaret Fuller,” the pioneering feminist, journalist, and political revolutionary asked herself as a child. “What does it mean?” Filled with new insights into the causes and consequences of Fuller’s lifelong psychic conflict, this biography chronicles the journey of an American Romantic pilgrim as she wanders from New England into the larger world—and then back home under circumstances that Fuller herself likened to those of both the prodigal child of the Bible and Oedipus of Greek mythology.

Meg McGavran Murray discusses Fuller’s Puritan ancestry, her life as the precocious child of a preoccupied, grieving mother and of a tyrannical father who took over her upbringing, her escape from her loveless home into books, and the unorthodox—and influential—male and female role models to which her reading exposed her. Murray also covers Fuller’s authorship of Woman in the Nineteenth Century, her career as a New-York Tribune journalist first in New York and later in Rome, her pregnancy out of wedlock, her witness of the fall of Rome in 1849 during the Roman Revolution, and her return to the land of her birth, where she knew she would be received as an outcast.

Other biographies call Fuller a Romantic. Margaret Fuller, Wandering Pilgrim illustrates how Fuller internalized the lives of the heroes and heroines in the ancient and modern Romantic literature that she had read as a child and adolescent, as well as how she used her Romantic imagination to broaden women’s roles in Woman in the Nineteenth Century, even as she wandered the earth in search of a home.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780820328942
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publication date: 01/15/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 552
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.49(d)

About the Author

Meg McGavran Murray, until her recent retirement, taught English at Mississippi State University and, before that, at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She is the editor of the essay collection Face to Face.

Table of Contents

A Note to Readers

Part One. "No Natural Childhood"
1. Her Father's House
2. Hungry for Love
3. "Gate of Paradise"
4. The World of Books

Part Two. The Transition Years
5. Boston Schooling
6. Boarding School at Groton
7. Metamorphosis in Her Young Adulthood
8. The Influence of the Harvard Romantics
9. The Search for Self
10. The Farm in Groton

Part Three. Emerson, Epistolary Friend and Guide
11. The Search for a Guide
12. A Fluid Friendship
13. A "Forlorn" Boston Winter
14. Providence, Pain, and Escape into Illusion
15. "Drawn" by Fuller's Siren Song
16. Retreat from Her Siphoning Sea

Part Four. The Seductive Lure of Nature
17. Religious Crisis
18. A Divine Madness
19. The Siren Song of Nature
20. The Seductive Sand
21. Demonic Desires
22. "The Daemon Works His Will"
23. Redeeming Her Friendships from "Eros"
24. Mystic Cleansing
25. Paradise Regained
26. The Law of the Father and Embrace of Mother Nature

Part Five. The "Fine Castle" of Her Writing
27. A Time to Write
28. Millennial Fever
29. Fuller's Apocalypse
30. Contradictory Wishes and Dreams
31. Pilgrims and Prodigals
32. Discordant Energies
33. Mesmerism and Romantic Yearning in Summer on the Lakes
34. Mother Power, Beastly Men, and Woman in the Nineteenth Century
35. "What Is the Lady Driving At?"

Part Six. Professional Woman, Private Passion
36. A Divided Life
37. Fallen Women and Worldly Men
38. The Garden's Desecration
39. Narcissistic Wounds and Imaginary Mystic Entities
40. Romantic Obsession
41. A Soul-Paralyzing Pain
42. A Trust Betrayed
43. The Dark Side of Her Lot
44. "Possessed of" Her Father
45. Yearning to Wash Her Soul of Sin
46. The Ties That Bind

Part Seven. The Rising Tide of Revolution
47. Passionate Players and Incendiary Social Conditions
48. Entering the European Stage
49. Mazzini Enters
50. Mickiewicz Enters
51. On to Lyons and Italy
52. On to Rome
53. Ossoli Enters
54. To Marry, or Not to Marry?
55. Do As the Romans Do
56. Roman Winter
57. More Rain and Revolutionaries' Conflicting Aims
58. Personal and Political Rebellions
59. A Love Higher than Law or Passion

Part Eight. Apocalyptic Dreams and the Fall of Rome
60. Harsh Reality and Apocalyptic Dreams
61. The Lull before the Storm
62. Deceit and Treachery
63. The Fall of Rome
64. Last Illusions
65. A Wayward Pilgrim Journeys toward Home


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