Author Megan Marshall read excerpts from her new book, Margaret Fuller: A New American Life at the Concord Free Public Library on April 5. She gave an animated account of Fuller’s years in Rome, where Fuller, already respected as one of America’s leading intellectuals, “crossed the line” from the world of ideas into the world of life-changing experiences in a passionate encounter with the young Italian soldier who would become her husband.
160 people packed the Library’s rotunda to hear Marshall’s account, and lingered for an hour afterward to buy books, meet the author and get autographs, socialize, and enjoy sumptuous Italian-themed refreshments at a reception in the Reference Room. One audience member blogged about his experience under the title “Sex and the Single Transcendentalist.”
The Transcendentalism Council of First Parish is grateful to our co-sponsors: the William Munroe Special Collections at the Concord Free Public Library, The Thoreau Society, and Thoreau Farm: Birthplace of Henry David Thoreau. (Event photo by Deborah Bier.)
The Boston Globe posted this item on its web site on March 31, 2013: “The Concord Free Public Library will host author Megan Marshall at 7 p.m. Friday to celebrate the publication of her biography, Margaret Fuller: A New American Life. Fuller was a 19th-century author, social reformer, and transcendentalist. She was a frequent visitor to the homes of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne, and served as Henry David Thoreau’s editor at a literary journal, The Dial. Marshall will speak on ‘Margaret Fuller in Love,’ an aspect of Fuller’s life about which little had been known, during the free event at library, 129 Sudbury Road.”
On March 27, the Concord Journal announced Megan Marshall’s April 5 presentation, “Margaret Fuller in Love,” saying “There could be no more fitting place than Concord for Pulitzer finalist Megan Marshall to speak about her new biography on Margaret Fuller: ground-breaking author, social reformer, and Transcendentalist.”
In the April 1, 2013 issue of The New Yorker, critic Judith Thurman examines the life of Margaret Fuller through the eyes of her biographers. Megan Marshall, writes Thurman, “is a gifted storyteller steeped in the parochial society of nineteenth-century Boston and Concord–a world of souls at ‘a white heat’ . . . Marshall excels at creating a sense of intimacy–with both her subject and her reader.”
Megan Marshall joined fellow authors John Matteson, Jeffrey S. Cramer, and David S. Reynolds in a program titled “Writing Writers’ Lives: Writing the American Renaissance” at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York on March 18, 2013. In this YouTube video, at 21:30 Megan describes going to the Houghton Library at Harvard and opening Margaret Fuller’s journal, recovered from the shipwreck that took Fuller’s life.
In the March 23, 2013 Boston Globe, Kate Tuttle writes: “[T]horoughly absorbing, lively new biography . . . Fuller, so often misunderstood in life, richly deserves the nuanced, compassionate portrait Marshall paints . . . Fuller’s Marshall, seen in the round, was flawed and human and magnificent.”
In the March 23, 2013 New York Times, biographer Megan Marshall writes: “[A man] approached me after a speech I’d given to tell me about . . . a rare unpublished letter by Ralph Waldo Emerson concerning the 1850 shipwreck in which his dear friend Margaret Fuller had drowned at age 40. The tragedy was among the most famous in American literary history. Fuller, a pioneering feminist and foreign correspondent for Horace Greeley’s New-York Tribune, was returning from Italy with her much younger husband, a soldier in the Roman Guard, and their 2-year-old son, conceived out of wedlock . . . When the trio drowned, just 300 yards offshore at Fire Island, the triple-masted Elizabeth driven into a sandbar by a ferocious storm, they were widely mourned. Emerson sent Henry David Thoreau, then in 1850 still a little known writer, to help search for the bodies . . . The four pages that I held in my hands brought together in a moment of palpable crisis three 19th-century geniuses whose ideas still challenge us today.”