Margaret Fuller (Magill's Literary Annual 1979)
Although excellent studies of Margaret Fuller have been published during the past thirty-five years, her name is still likely to call up the image of a slightly absurd, egocentric bluestocking who once announced, “I accept the Universe.” Paula Blanchard’s fine biography ought to do much to restore balance to this distorted portrait of one of the most extraordinary women of nineteenth century America. Blanchard does not ignore the quirks of personality and style that made Fuller vulnerable to the scorn of men such as James Russell Lowell, Edgar Allan Poe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Yet she enables her readers to put these flaws into proper perspective as Fuller’s own friends did, and to concentrate instead on her achievements.
In a society that expected women to be passive, dependent, and self-effacing, Margaret Fuller was strong-minded, ambitious, dramatic, and aggressive enough to make a place for herself in the transcendentalist intellectual circles of Boston and Concord; to give both moral and financial support to her family after her father’s death; to explore New York jails and insane asylums as a reporter for Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune; and to commit herself to the republican cause in the Roman revolution of 1848-1849. Her most dramatic defiance of convention was her romance with the Marchese Giovanni Angelo Ossoli, who became her lover, her husband, and the father of her son in a sequence never fully documented.
(The entire section is 2540 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1979)
Atlantic. CCXLII, August, 1978, p. 84.
Booklist. LXXV, September 15, 1978, p. 146.
National Review. XXX, November 10, 1978, p. 1428.
New York Times Book Review. July 23, 1978, p. 12.
Wall Street Journal. CXCI, August 7, 1978, p. 10.
(The entire section is 26 words.)